Monday, September 13, 2010

To Burn Or Not To Burn?

So, I want to be clear about this whole National Read A Koran Day.

I don't think there's anything special about the Koran. I don't think religion deserves respect. I don't respect religion. I think these people are fucking idiots.

The only reason I proposed this event was because I dislike the idea behind book burnings. Period. I think book burning is fascistic. I think it's totalitarian. I think it should be allowed, but I don't like it.

I don't like religion either, by the way. I think it softens the brain and waters down the spirit. It's dishonest, and it's trite. It's a cultural atavism whose adaptive value is running out, and I'm glad*.

I'm pretty sure you all understood where I was coming from with this idea, but I've seen a good number of folks (including our president) use this issue as a way to reinforce the idea that religion should not be challenged or disrespected. I just wanted to make sure I differentiated myself from these namby-pamby religious accomodationists and cultural relativists.

I am absolutely a proponent of blasphemy, and irreverence towards religion. I am also absolutely in favor of freedom of expression, and completely support a person's freedom to burn books.

But book burning is an ugly, fearful, and frankly stupid activity.

You'd think the more authoritarian personalities in our culture would catch on by now that they're not going about these things the right way. Burning and banning and protesting books only makes assholes like me more curious about them.

Now, if fundamentalist Christians really want to suck some of the air out of Islam, they could take a page from the new atheist playbook and actually READ the book, and then apply the weapon of reason and skepticism to it.

But of course, that would be a very dangerous approach for them to take...

my brother, cousin, and I outside of a fundamentalist church in West Virginia. You have to appreciate their straight-forwardness. They don't mince words:
* Don't get me wrong: I know plenty of wonderful, decent, upright, and intelligent religious individuals, but I also know plenty of wonderful, decent, upright, and intelligent folks who use drugs and alcohol. My proposition is that it isn't their religion (or drug use) that makes these folks good. My proposition is that they make themselves good.


the elegant ape said...

Taking the show on the road? I dig it. Watch out Charles Kuralt.

Steppenwolf said...

I agree Spencer, to burn any book is a crime against all humanity.
It's an attempt to kill ideas. As I recall, burning books was only the first step in Nazi Germany towards totalitarian thought.

the elegant ape said...

Wherever they burn books, in the end will also burn human beings." - Heinrich Heine

Willie Y said...

The crazy people have the stage.

Lodo Grdzak said...

Great pic and post.