Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter 2011

Today we'll be dyeing Easter eggs. In researching the origins of this tradition, I came across this:

Now, it kinda makes sense.

Awwwww, Frank, why do you always pick on Christianity?

Well, I pick on Christianity the most because we are mostly a Christian country, most of our holidays are Christian-related, and it's what I was educated in and know best. When Rama-lama-ding-dong rolls around, I'll pick on Islam. When it's the feast day of the angle, I mean, "angel" Macaroni, I'll zing the Mormons. When it's the day to celebrate some multi-armed, part-animal god, I'll essay a jest against Hinduism. I try to stifle my laughter when someone tells me that the problems of humanity are the fault of the Galactic Emperor Xenu for dumping his garbage thetans on earth. I try really, really hard not to laugh. Honest. When I hear that someone is vibrating in alignment with attracting a new car for their household, I just hafta do a little shimmy-shake while imagining myself as a beta particle or even a tachyon and pretending that I have an imaginary friend who spouts banal cliches as spiritual insights.

Being "open-minded" is a somewhat subjective phrase. For me, it means I have no intention of stopping you from following whatever religious or spiritual inclinations you have. However, I don't feel the need to accept silliness without contradicting it. If someone tells me that his god has decreed that the sky is green, I'm not at all interested in changing his mind but I don't want to let that statement go unchallenged. If we point a mutually-agreed-on spectrum-measuring device at the sky and it comes back reading 4500 Angstroms (or 450 nanometers), you can not realistically say that the sky is green. By scientific convention and English usage, that value is labelled "blue." Period. Feel free to believe for yourself that it's green but you're wrong. And you might find me making fun of your belief. I am not so "open minded" that I let every crackpot idea or belief take up residence in my mind.

I leave you with Bertrand Russell and his infamous teapot:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

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