Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Opiate of the masses

I've moved into my new office digs in Jersey City, where I'll be spending the rest of my time on my current assignment, which ends May 12th. My new cube neighbors are very nice, quite friendly, and relatively quiet. There is a particularly personable woman who sits directly in front of me. We exchanged greetings pretty much right away and helped each other move into our respective cubicals. During the move in, I saw that she was literally papering her cube walls with bible quotes. Now, this would have raised my ire in the past, but I've mellowed a great deal in regard to this type of thing.

Today, however, I've been severely tested.

While coding away, minding my own business, I overheard a phone conversation my new neighbor was having with a friend of hers. Apparently, someone in her friend's family is gravely ill. While expressing her sympathies, my neighbor blamed the advent of the disease on...


Yes, Satan.

She proceeded to tell her friend that the afflicted family member should be taken to the local church where she could "breathe in Jesus". My neighbor also questioned the sick person's faith, saying that Satan could only affect someone if he was "invited in".

I'm agog.

Living as I do in my own relatively theology-free world, I forget that there are people in this world who actually believe in this stuff. This woman has an explicit belief that there are two preternatural beings that constantly struggle for ownership of our immortal souls. It was all I could do to keep myself from telling her to stow the nonsense and get back to work.

Now I realize that religion is a great comfort for many people and I respect their right to practice whatever particular rituals tickle their fancy. However, it upsets me that anyone would suggest that someone got sick because they invited Satan into their company. I remember now why I used to be so vehemently anti-organized religion.

It's because some of it teaches people stupid bullshit like this.

Beelzebub's greatest hits:

Napalm Death - Scum
(grandness from the grandfathers of grind)

Nitzer Ebb - Ebbhead
(the show's over, folks)

Pete Namlook - VIII + IX
(ambient techno oddness)

Nanospeed - Nanospeed Featuring Spacetank
(burble burble thump thump thump)

Nudge - Cached
(jazz glitch)


Anonymous Carly said...

Dangerous? certainly - but from a compassionate standpoint, it's very likely that she believes this so easily because she's afraid that she herself will get sick.

Particularly for people who haven't been around seriously ill folk, our first reaction is to face our own fragility, which can be extremely....um ennerving? it's damn scary.

I know people who start taking extra algae in the same situation, or talk about how the sick person lived an "unhealthy lifestyle". And then there's Dana Reeve's who just plain old got lung cancer and died, dammit.

People thump bibles to drown out the sounds of fear. Little do they know that the sound of fear sounds almost identical to the thumping of a bible.

I know this is a topic close to home for you, hope i haven't crossed any lines with this little outburst.

Meanwhile, i'm just overall concerned that this woman and her family would forgo actual medical treatment in favor of "breathing in Jesus". Tell her that Jesus is everywhere, including the doctor's medicine - no human is powerful enough to banish him.

Cuz it's always fun to use a religions many contradictions against the followers of said religion.

and yeah - organized religion might have started out as a good idea, but there's no religion that hasn't been corrupted mightily along the way.

I like to put it this way:

God knows all, sees all and forgives all - but i need to tell YOU about all the bad things i did? he can only hear me if i pray in YOUR church? hah. that's a blackmail machine, my friend.

which is too bad, really - churches can be such a great source of community and respite for people. too bad about that god thing.

ok, rant over.

7:30 AM  

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