Archive - 2010

January 15th

Fire And Brimstone - In 3-D!

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Memo to the University of Tennessee, Pat Robertson, and The Vatican: YOUR RELIGIONS ARE DUMB.

One of the biggest problems I, and other right-thinking people, have with religion is its treatment of heretics and heathens. People who turn against their faith. People who perhaps follow a different faith. Or even imaginary people whose faith is at best indeterminate. These things all bug the living shit out of people who take their religion way too seriously. Holding fast to their belief that they've locked onto universal truth, they can't bear to see anyone living their lives in a way that doesn't take that truth into account. And thus, they go apeshit, or, in today's trifecta of tard-dom, SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEYshit FRIDAY.

First up is Tennessee, where, as we've seen in the past, football isn't just a religion, it's inextricably entangled with religion. And that religion is then inextricably entangled with government. Which means that when a heretic makes his presence known, things get a little out of hand.

This week, there were riots at the University of Tennessee. Students took to the streets, painting obscenities on any surface they could find and setting shit on fire. Meanwhile, in the state Capital, the state legislature abandoned a longstanding, meaningless tradition to essentially side with the rioting students. And all because Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin left after one season to pursue what he said was a dream job at the University of California.

Now, clearly, this is not something I would ever give two shits about. But apparently, in the dumbest state in the Union, that kind of thing simply isn't done. I bet it's particularly galling to Tennessee to be thrown over for a bunch of naturally-tanned, Hollywood elites and elites-to-be. So they set shit on fire, which historically is a common method of dealing with heretics. And the legislature decided its annual resolution honoring the university's football coach, would not be happening this year. Which, to be fair, might free up some valuable time for them to address Tennessee's crippling intellectual deficit, but I'm betting they spent the time bitching about football instead.

By now, you've heard about the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Well, unless you've been watching Fox News, of course. And by now, you've probably heard Pat Robertson's attempt to blame yet another natural catastrophe on yet another population's failure to accept Jesus Christ as their lord and saviour, and then, through their newfound faith, order Robertson's magical Jesus leg-press protein shakes by the truckload. But what he said bears repeating, if for no other reason than to enshrine it in the annals of stupidity. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME1

"And you know, Christy, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it, they were under the heel of the French, uh, you know, Napoleon the third and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil, they said, we will serve you, if you get us free from the Prince, true story. And so the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor. . . the Island of Hispaniola is one island cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti, on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is, is, prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty, same Islands, uh, they need to have, and we need to pray for them, a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I'm optimistic something good may come, but right now we're helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable."

I know, Pat Robertson pulling an epic dick move? In other shocking news, speed of light? Still 186,000 miles per second. But this one's even more dickish than usual for Robertson - Haiti is chock full of Christians. And the "pact with the devil" he calls a "true story" isn't actually a true story. It's an unverified, probably apocryphal tale about how one unspecified revolutionary leader sacrificed a pig in a voodoo ceremony once. So what Robertson is saying here is, first, voodoo is satanism, second, satanism works, and third, God responds to functioning Satanism by first keeping the entire country where the Satanist act occurred in crushing poverty for two centuries, and then randomly killing shitloads of them in an earthquake even though 96% of them practice one form of Christianity or another. Clearly, Pat Robertson's god made Pat Robertson in His own image, because that god is a total prick.

And speaking of imaginary heathens, the Vatican doesn't like "Avatar".

Critics at the Vatican newspaper and radio station took the wildly popular movie to task for a number of issues. Now, some of them are understandable. I can only imagine how disruptive it must be to the immersive 3-D experience to have to try and watch it through a sea of giant hats. But they also slammed it for something that their own preconceived notions and religious biases put into the movie.

To the Vatican, Avatar "gets bogged down by a spiritualism linked to the worship of nature," and "cleverly winks at all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium... Nature is no longer a creation to defend, but a divinity to worship."

There's only one problem, of course. There's no nature-worship in the movie. None. Zero. Nada. The Avatar aliens think of nature pretty much the same way I think of my iPod Touch. I don't worship it. Oh, I like it very much, and think it's very useful. And I'd be understandably pissed off if some thick-necked motherfucker snapped it in half so he could take the battery out. But that's not worship, nor is it neo-paganism.

The funniest thing, though? Avatar's message about religion, to the extent that it has one, IS a direct challenge to the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Just not in the way they think it is. One more thing to add to the vast list of shit the Vatican's gotten wrong throughout history.