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Friday, 27 April 2012

Belief


I made a comment on looby's blog yesterday, where I expressed surprise that he went to a reading of Slovenian Poetry.  I did use some language which was mildly (for me) derogatory about how anyone could actually enjoy such an event.

Another reader of that blog had a dig at me about my abuse of looby's cultural preferences, and I think that this opens up a much bigger area, of how much respect is owed to other people's own beliefs.

I was taught as a child that there was an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God, who we were required to worship on a regular basis.

I believed this.

I also believed that Tinkerbell would die if all of the audience in the Pantomime didn't scream "I BELIEVE IN FAIRIES" at the top of their voices after she was poisoned.

I aslo believed in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, the Monster in the Coal Shed, the Monster under my Bed and that I would go blind AND grow hair on the palms of my hands if I fiddled with myself too much.

As I grew older and more experienced in life, I rid myself of these superstitions (although I did invest in a white stick and a small bottle of a depilatory cream, just in case)

I continued to respect the right of others to their beliefs, no matter how silly (or in some cases f*cking stupid) they may seem to me, but as I get older, I am getting angrier at the almost parallel concept of the believer demanding that I show respect for the actual belief structure, and expecting me to comply with the rules of that belief.

I don't.

We had a teacher in NLHS a couple of years ago, who was extremely religious.  He got very upset one day when he heard me utter "Jesus Christ" as a reaction to the story of a particular student's extreme behaviour, and he told me off for using blasphemous language.  I liked the guy, and he was a good teacher and administrator, so I just didn't tell him to f*ck off, but I told him that I didn't believe in his God and that (out of the earshot of the pupils) I would continue to use my own choice of language.  He was not happy, and said he would pray for me.  I almost decked him.

As I don't believe in god and all of the concomitant crap associated with the god-botherers, then it is obvious that I cannot blaspheme, and don't really accept the concept of blasphemy.

Unfortunately, as I was writing this and did some research, it turns out that blasphemy exists as a legal definition enshrined in NZ law as Section 123 of the Crimes Act 1961 which allows for imprisonment up to one year for anyone who publishes any "blasphemous libel".  What worries me is the 1961.  Over half way through the 20th century, and they still passed this shit.


So much for free speech and living in a Secular State.

However.

Why should we have to pay lip service to all of these outdated ideas.
Why should I have to stand and show respect when my Maori colleagues decide that they have to say a Karakia.  Do I believe in their gods or spirits?  Do I cocoa.

I will continue to heap ridicule (tempered by goodwill and softened by humour out of respect for the person who believes) on every such illogical belief I ever come across.

Tell it as it is.

23 comments:

  1. like you, i simply don't 'get' poetry -- but translated poetry? wouldn't the translator have to take as much credit for any beauty in the words and rhythm, as would the poet.

    i suspect looby can take a bit of a ribbing about it - and that's the tone i got from your comment.

    now... where did i put my wine glass? (thud)

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  2. daisyfae: Thanks for dropping by. I agree about the translation, and I've heard very few translated poems that are much goo, and how do we know the spirit of the original has been faithfully held to.

    I also think that looby can take a bit of ribbing.

    You've got WINE? *envy*
    I'm still at school, the kids think I'm preparing next week's lessons. HAHAHA

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  3. I don't think it's blasphemy to say "Jesus Christ"; it's just "taking the Lord's name in vain". Blasphemy is when you say something like "God is omnipresent, and therefore he's up my arse choking on a fart". If nutjobs are gonna act offended, they should at least understand their own rule book first.
    Nobody has the right not to be offended. That way madness lies.

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  4. I agree with every word here, I to notice how politicians rush to church on Sundays yet come Monday are back to screwing anything that moves, ripping off the tax payer and gallivanting all over the world at our expense. Note to the USA system where you dont get anywhere near the top job unless you pretend to be a Christian..it's all bollocks and if there were a heaven and a hell these lairs would be straight off to Hell.

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  5. TSB, simply your best post - and the breasts were nice too.

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  6. Don't talk to me about Karakia. I had to supervise a student teacher all day on Tuesday for Maori classes as the Maori Teacher was away. 2 Karakia every lesson - one at the star and one at the end.
    Up and down up and down. Was worse than going to church! Never mind, I saw many students in a very different light in theses classes, being alot more solemn and respectful than I have ever seen them before. So within the context of the subject and tikanga it had its place, and it felt good and right, and totally calming, especially for these youngsters.

    But if you teach at a Catholic School, it's prayers every lesson for every subject, regardless.
    A bit like lipstick on a pig.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. [Reposted with groovy hyperlink rather than text URL]

    I was going to reply in blank verse, in French, in the style of Mallarmé, but life's too short.

    Saw this interesting perspective on Christianity the other day. Mary has a "morning after" moment.

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  9. always a tricky area... I believe they have the right to believe what they want, and also to let me be and believe what I want...

    One of my greatest life's lessons was when someone said to me "Treat others as they would want to be treated"... wow! Not as I want to be treated, not as I would expect to treat them based on my rules etc. Hopelessly unachievable but taught me a great great lesson.... I can't prejudge anything without finding out for myself. Inadvertently I once hurt someone through something I did, I never meant to, never thought it would, I was mortified when I found out and apologized profusely and immediately. However another person knew they called me "insensitive" that made me angry "thoughtless", "naive", "tactless" but never insensitive - if so I'd never have responded as I did

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  10. But if he is somebody you constantly disagree with, why the fuck do you keep going there, let alone commenting? My mum is religious, I'm an atheist - so we don't talk about God. My husband is vegetarian, my dad eats meat three times a day - so they don't talk about human rights. I just don't understand why you feel the need to give your opposing view to EVERYTHING poor Cliff goes to.

    I don't enjoy your blog so I don't (usually) visit or comment, if I were to lurk here simply to criticise everything you enjoy, you would rapidly get pissed off, no?

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  11. I meant animal rights, obviously.

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  12. "But if he is somebody you constantly disagree with, why the fuck do you keep going there, let alone commenting?"
    If someone puts up their views on a blog, why not? Maybe if this Looby person doesn't want all and sundry dropping in, he/she should have an invite only blog?

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  13. Shackleford Hurtmore: You're absolutely correct, but when did logic apply to these people anyway.

    (Anyway, god must have a gas mask, so he won't choke)

    I believe in acting with no bigotry or bias, and aim to offend everyone at leasy once a year.

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  14. Tempo: Goodness, you mean politicians are hypocrites? Your comment on the top job in the USA is correct and very worrying. Imagine if a real holy-roller got in and decided to initaiate a nuclear exchnge to start the rapture

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  15. Richard: Nice of you to say so Richard. I liked them to. They're man made you know, which is why I used them. Do you believe in bigger tits?

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  16. Marx said it best, "religion is the opiate of the masses."

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  17. VG: I'm still not sure. I can sort of respect it from a cultural context, but it's a strange mix of spirituality and cultyral mores.

    I cannot teach in a Catholic school. I tend to burst into flames as I step over the threshold.

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  18. looby: Sorry you didn't try, I'm always meaning to expand my horizons.

    That's an amazing image. I've often wondered if that was the real reason that the whole mess got started. Ta for the link.

    BTW I may do a post on Slovakian/Slovenian poetry next week.

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  19. Furtheron: your quote of "Treat others as they would want to be treated"... is making me think.

    Still thinking on it, I'll let you know.

    B*stard..It's the bloody weekend, I don't want to think but to relax and vegetate.

    I've hurt others in the same way. Sometimes I think my middle name is INSENSITIVE.

    I won't give details, they still make me cringe.

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  20. Homer: Wow, I didn't expect such pasion.

    First I don't totally disagree with everything he thinks or does. I like reading looby's posts because:
    1. They are mostly amusing or thought-provoking.
    2. They enter areas foreign to my lifestyle and experience and are therefore educational.
    3. looby's appriach to life is often similar to my own, so we have similarities and differences.

    Cliff (looby) has never, as far as I'm aware, taken any offence from anything I've said on his posts. he even emailed me his password to get into some of his more restricted posts. If he ever asks me to tone it down because I've upset him, I will.

    Look at point 2.

    Going to a Slovenian Poetry reding is as I've said completely outwith my experience. I try to use humour to get a response from Cliff to explain the attraction of attending such an event. he did. He mentioned an atrractive passionate woman. Works for me.

    If I asked him to rationalise the attraction of such a cultural event as an outright question, it would feel a bit rude, so for me, humour and jibes do the trick.

    As far as pissing me off is concerned, I get plenty of jibes myself, so I'm not worried. I accept all comments, both positive and negative.

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  21. Richard: I agree, and thanks. I don't think looby's that concerned, (as he added some comments to this post)but I really hate upsetting anybody, (even our students) (but not Ringo, I don't mind if I upset him).

    Why can't we all just love each other?

    I cannot believe I just typed that.

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  22. Laoch: Yep, it's a classic. Almost as good as Wildes's quote, "Work is the curse of the drinking classes"

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  23. Anything similar.

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