20 February 2007

Odds and Ends and Odds

It's probably due to the fact that I spent a good part of this past weekend plowing through Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion that I'm inclined to spend a good deal of time today reading a "no-holds-barred blogalogue (TM)" between atheist author (Letters to a Christian Nation) Sam Harris and Conservative Soul author and blogger (and Christian) Andrew Sullivan. So far, Harris wins points (we're talking against Dawkins, not Sullivan) for his reasonable agnosticism about an afterlife and other true unknowables. That was where Dawkins lost me. And when he trotted out what seemed to me to be obscure references (the orgasmic visions of some long-dead nun) and said that they're so well-known that he wouldn't re-explain them. But, you know, lose points there, gain them for introducing me to the word "scrumping."

The blogalogue, still in progress, gets a little debatey, or whatever a debate degenerates into when no one's going to be convincing anyone of anything. But Harris hits on some real clarity in his post dated February 8th. (And then my mind gets a little fuzzy and battered, but I don't think Sullivan ever answers the "Why Jesus?" question. Which brings me back to Dawkins, and the indoctrination of children (he implores us to refer not to "Christian children" or "Jewish children" but "children of Christian parents," just as kids aren't "Marxist children" or whatever but rather parents of such) and Jesus Camp, which jumped clear past indoctrination to brainwashing and, yep, abuse. (Dawkins says there isn't a difference.)

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I have to say, it was wonderful to plant myself on a very comfortable couch in a very pretty house in the middle of nowhere and do little more than read. (The very comfortable couch was also home to the softest, warmest blanket I've ever had the pleasure of stroking semi-suspiciously.) I got through the book probably ten times faster than if my reading had been confined to mass transit. In fact, by the time I got on the bus to head home, I was already half-way through Little Children. So here I am, hyper-attuned to religious nonsense, and oddly, wanting to get married.

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I also spent this weekend without internet, and I think my reintroduction to civilization has ever so slightly fried my brain.

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One of the most important things I learned from The God Delusion is that there's a (the) Reformed Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I'm sad to say there's no corresponding internet presence for the similarly-spirited theory, which might be my favorite, that the world is rhombus-shaped and borne through the cosmos in the pincers of two green lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith. If they make t-shirts for that, let me know. (Though if the t-shirts are that stupid American Apparel style that Threadless and everyone insist on using, never mind, because it fits horribly.)

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Totally unrelated, except perhaps distantly, in spirit, these paintings are pretty wonderful.

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Also wonderful and odd, if several days old, Neil Gaiman celebrated his blog's sixth birthday in wonderful, very Neil Gaiman fashion. But since I'm a rational person, I know it doesn't really work.

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