15 July 2008

It's just chemicals, so why all the fuss?

Hugo asks, about this posting:

I understand symbols and rituals and have no problems with them.But in the end when it really matters in reality it is really just wine and bread right?And nobody should really be hurt for misunderstanding or even misusing such symbols, right?

Really?

He also includes these links (here, here, and here) as if to ask me to give account for the response of Roman Catholics ( including death threats) to one Webster Cook for lying to a priest and stealing a communion wafer from a Roman Catholic Church. Hugo may like to employ the euphemisms “misunderstanding” and “misusing”, but lying and stealing is what happened here.

I’m not sure why Hugo asks me about all this. It’s not as if I need to be called to account here. I’m a Reformed catholic, not a Roman catholic. Perhaps that’s it: Hugo wants to know that I agree with him that Roman Catholic response to Webster Cook is over the top.

No, Hugo, I’m not going to agree with you. It is true that I believe that bread and wine do not cease to be bread and wine. The fact is Roman Catholics believe that the essence of the elements change, even though the accidents remain unchanged. I respectfully disagree with them. But the key word there is respectfully. I have no sympathy for Webster Cook because I certainly would not have done what he did.

Atheists are rather amusing in many ways. In some ways there are just downright bothersome. (I know the feeling is mutual.) They are bothersome because in many ways they employ a double standard. When an atheist believes something like, say, evolution, if you question it, criticize it, argue against it, then they fee themselves entitled (before, during or after responding with a cogent argument) to speak to and of you as derisively, as spitefully and as hatefully as they please (but, thankfully, no death threats). They can call into question your intelligence, your education (even if they are the ones who educated you), and your mental health (because your beliefs are delusional).

If, on the other hand, you have certain beliefs which they do not share and, in fact, find “irrational” they are entitled to speak to or of you as derisively, as spitefully and as hatefully as they please. You deserve it. If you believe that some little piece of dried bread is the flesh of Jesus Christ not only are they entitled to disagree with you, but they feel no compunction about calling it a “god-****ed cracker”, especially if you have the audacity to act like you believe it’s the flesh of Christ.

They are entitled to act consistently with their beliefs, while you are not. They believe a piece of dried bread is a cracker; they can act like it. You believe a piece of dried bread is the body of Jesus Christ; you better not act like it.

Not only that. If someone goes into your church and acts like he believes what you believe; if he lies to a priest by receiving a host (which the priest gave only on the supposition that Cook would partake of it); if he steals that “god-****ed cracker” – they will cry, “Foul!” if you object in any strenuous terms by, for example, calling this lying and stealing a “hate” crime, or (if it really happened) making death threats. That’ll really get you on their radar. And the acts to which you object (i.e., lying and stealing) will be euphemistically referred to as “misunderstanding” and “misusing”, all the better to make you look even more unreasonable and “irrational” than you do. “All this fuss over a ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘misuse’ of a symbol?”

None of this is to say that I think Webster Cook should be harmed in any way for his lying and stealing – not “misunderstanding” and “misusing”. He shouldn’t be, not for any reasons which an atheist could give which I would find persuasive, but because I think that the One who told us to turn the other cheek when slapped would Himself do the same. But neither do I have any sympathy for Webster Cook. If he objects to the vitriol to which he’s been subjected he has only himself to blame. No one, so far as I know, dragged his ass to that church. No one, so far as I know, dragged his ass up to the altar. The priest, so far as I know, didn’t shove the “god-****ed cracker” into his mouth. The “god****ed cracker” was given to him because the priest thought he wanted to eat the god****ed thing. He should have done so. If nothing else he should have showed some respect for others’ property.

This raises another double standard which atheists employ. What an atheist values we all must value. Whatever an atheist does not value, we are not entitled to value. (If we insist one doing so, however, we shant be permitted actually to act like it; or we shall be permitted to do so only within boundaries he will set up for us.) If an atheist values the person of a lying thief over a “god****ed cracker” we’d better do so also. But if we attach a certain value to a “god****ed cracker” and an atheist (or anyone else) does not and even “desecrates” that god****ed cracker we’d better keep our god****ed mouths shut.

Of course, they are justified in all this because a human is more valuable than a “god****ed cracker”. Really? A couple of bucks worth of chemicals is worth more than a cracker, another couple of bucks of some other chemicals? Chemicals, in reality, are just chemicals, right? No one should really he hurt for misusing, or threatening to misuse chemicals should they?

Really?

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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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