Friday, July 11, 2008

One Man's Body Of Christ Is Another Man's Frackin' Cracker

This is a long one. Father forgive me, for I know not what I do.

It seems to me that we have yet another case of faith versus reason, of religion versus science, of belief versus fact. Who will win this time? Whose side are you on? Will it cost a university biology teacher his job? I hope not.

Just how evolved are we? Not very, if PZ Myers loses his job over this.

From Communion wafer held 'hostage' raises holy heck by Paul Walsh:

A Minnesota university instructor and avowed atheist is jousting with a national Catholic watch dog group over a smuggled communion wafer, which the associate professor dismisses as a "frackin’ cracker."

Paul Z. Myers, who teaches biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, on his blog this week expressed amazement that a Florida college student who briefly took a wafer "hostage" from a church ceremony has been receiving death threats for an action that was characterized "a hate crime" by the Catholic League.

Under the headline, "It’s a frackin’ cracker!" Myers wrote in an at-times profane blog entry: "Crazy Christian fanatics right here in our own country have been threatening to kill a young man over a cracker. This is insane."
"It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ," Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a news release. "We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively."
Read the rest here.

I would like to point out that Mr. Myers’s blog is called Pharyngula.

If there isn’t a term called “Universal Acceptance”, then there should be. (And give me the credit for coming up with it, if there isn’t.) I’ll give some examples, in order to define what I mean by Universal Acceptance. I would say that murder is universally accepted as being morally wrong and that people should be punished when they commit murder. Anyone disagree? No? That is Universal Acceptance. It is different from Majority Rule. Universal Acceptance stands the test of time, Majority Rule does not. Universal Acceptance always “wins” in the end, Majority Rule does not. Universal Acceptance is always right, Majority Rule can be right, but it can also be wrong. Slavery is an example of this difference. The earth being thought of as flat, but now being accepted as being round is another example. Universal Acceptance has truth on its side, Majority Rule does sometimes, but not always. Universal Acceptance can give power to minorities, Majority Rule does not. The Republic of the United States of America gives us a good example of this. Universal Acceptance is Republicans, Democrats, and Independents all believing in the Constitution together. Majority Rule is one of the parties electing a good or bad president. The Constitution endures, the president can be remembered (Lincoln or Washington) or fade away (Franklin Pierce). Universal Acceptance is the Constitution saying “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Majority Rule is Christians thinking the United States is a Christian nation. Deciding who has committed a Universally Accepted as wrong murder is decided by Majority Rule (a jury), and that decision is sometimes right and sometime wrong. Science is Universally Accepted, religion is Majority Rule. Religion really is Majority Rule and not Universally Accepted, even though most religions claim they are a minority, and that they are persecuted. If religion truly was Universally Accepted, there would only be one religion and no atheists.

Although it may appear that they do, these statements do not contradict one another: “Universal Acceptance is always right.” “The earth being thought of as flat, but now accepted as being round is another example.” “Science is Universally Accepted, religion is Majority Rule.”

Even though scientists of the time thought that the world was flat, this belief was Majority Rule and not Universal Acceptance. Scientists can change their minds to suit the facts. Theists are not supposed to change their minds, and are supposed to ignore the facts. Universal Acceptance is dictated to by factual evidence, Majority Rule is dictated to by people who have been influenced by some combination of factual evidence, emotions and belief. I can’t think of how to say it better. (Please forgive this humble blogger.) The “some combination” means that any of the three could be set to zero, so to speak. For example, factual evidence does not need to be part of the equation. Majority Rule could be dictated to by people who have been influenced by emotions and belief without any factual evidence. Or by people who have been influenced by emotions only. And so on.

From IT'S A FRACKIN’ CRACKER! by PZ Myers:
So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There's no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I'm sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I'll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won't be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I'll send you my home address.
Let’s assume that PZ Myers has gone ahead and done the deed.

I propose that PZ Myers is not desecrating the body of Christ in the form of a wafer. He does not believe in the body of Christ in the form of a wafer. Mr. Myers believes he is desecrating a wafer. Is that a crime? Now, you may point out that many Catholics believe the wafer IS the body of Christ and that Mr. Myers should respect that belief. Why? Jewish people do not believe that the wafer is the body of Christ. If Mr. Myers were to respect the beliefs of the Catholics in this instance, isn't that disrespectful to all Jewish people? (Let's not even consider any of those heretical atheists.) Buddhists do not believe it, either. Anyone from a non-Christian religion does not believe it. Only in the minds of Catholic believers is PZ Myers actually desecrating the body of Christ. For the rest of us the body of Christ decomposed a long time ago. Where do you draw the line?

I say it is time to call on a super hero. Let’s bring out our hero: Universal Acceptance. He is always right and knows just what to do.

Clearly this matter flunks the Universal Acceptance test. Why? Because I said so. I believe in Universal Acceptance. And I get to decide what’s right and what’s true. And I made it all up, just like the Catholics made up all the stuff they believe in. I'm only playing by their rules. Seems fair to me. If the Catholics can use the argument of belief, then why can’t I? And why can’t PZ Myers? He believes that the wafer is not the body of Christ. PZ Myers should get to keep his job, and Bill Donohue should shut the hell up. He has a right to believe what he chooses to, and so does PZ Myers. And they both have the right to talk about it, even though I just said Bill Donohue should shut the hell up. Let’s just stop all the death threats, job threats, and all other threats of any kind. OK? Except for crackers and other inanimate objects. Go ahead and threaten them all you want. (And if you want to insert a joke here about Bill Donohue being both crackers and an inanimate object, go right ahead. Just remember that I didn’t put that joke here. You did.)

But wait! There’s more!

I can think of many things that are more vile than desecrating the body of Christ. George W. Bush comes to mind immediately. A war criminal responsible for who knows how many senseless deaths. A war criminal who will probably never be punished until he arrives at that non-existent hell that he and Mr. Donohue like to believe in. (Like I said, he will probably never be punished.) What could possible be more vile than that? Then just round up the usual suspects: murder, rape, war, pedophilia, necrophilia, etc. Even vomit is more vile, for Christ’s sake.

Next I have a question for Mr. Donohue. (I already know his answer, and I think it’s a stupid answer. See if you can guess the answer and not win a prize.) How could anything that PZ Myers or Webster Cook do to your precious “body of Christ” be any more desecrating than placing this “body of Christ” in one’s mouth and causing this “body” to pass through the human digestive tract, then a toilet, finally ending up in a sewage system. And millions, if not billions, of Catholics do this every day. They have been doing this for a very long time, and unfortunately will probably continue to do this for a very long time. Over and over and over again. Talk about desecration! Talk about vile!

Some more questions for Mr. Donohue or anyone else who has seen the light. Why does an all-knowing, all-powerful god not tell his popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, brothers and sisters to just un-consecrate that little cracker that has fallen into the hands of someone like PZ Myers or Webster Cook? Then everyone could be happy. “He just desecrated a cracker. Ha ha. Good one, PZ.” God sure seems to like to leave Jesus hanging. Why does Jesus always get the short end of the stick? Or cross, or cracker, as it were. Help Jesus out here God, just tell the idiots to un-consecrate your son's body and turn him back into a cracker. Why do people choose to believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful god who seems to be so stupid and spiteful, someone who hates his own son so much? And again I know the answer to that one: “Mumbo jumbo, gibberish, and more mumbo jumbo, and don’t forget to put some money in the collection plate.”

Lastly, no religious people are allowed to criticize what I have written here. It is all true, factual, and correct. Because I believe that it is. That is all that you believers should need to know.

God, I’m tired.

Hungry too. I think I’ll go eat some crackers.

7 comments - Post a comment :

Anonymous said...

It's tough for me to see how you atheist fans of Darwin can on the one hand celebrate and defend such a desecration, and then turn around and claim that your scientific interpretations are based on the cool light of reason (and are no threat to religion), rather than being driven by your atheist commitments. That you would celebrate an event that strips the mask off that sham bespeaks a strange lack of judgment. But hey, you brights (by definition!) know best. The more honest you can all be about what really drives you (and let's be honest here: it is perfectly clear that it is atheism, first and foremost), the better for everyone who is discerning the question of origins. So thanks for laying your cards on the table. Hopefully Myers will become a household name because of this. Wouldn't that be great for you guys? No, not great, but glorious!

Paul Thoreau said...

In response to this:

Anonymous said...

It's tough for me to see how you atheist fans of Darwin can on the one hand celebrate and defend such a desecration, and then turn around and claim that your scientific interpretations are based on the cool light of reason (and are no threat to religion), rather than being driven by your atheist commitments. That you would celebrate an event that strips the mask off that sham bespeaks a strange lack of judgment. But hey, you brights (by definition!) know best. The more honest you can all be about what really drives you (and let's be honest here: it is perfectly clear that it is atheism, first and foremost), the better for everyone who is discerning the question of origins. So thanks for laying your cards on the table. Hopefully Myers will become a household name because of this. Wouldn't that be great for you guys? No, not great, but glorious!

July 11, 2008 8:05 PM


First, let me say that I hate it when people put words in my mouth.

Perhaps I need a translator. I really do not comprehend the meaning of this. First, no mention of Darwin in my post. What does he have to do with transubstantiation? The whole point of my post is that some people do not see any "desecration" going on. You believe it is and I believe it's not, and never the twain shall meet. So, from my point of view I am not defending a desecration. Is that so hard to understand? I never claimed to not be threatening religion. Aren't "atheist commitments" the same thing as "scientific interpretations" and "the cool light of reason"? And even if they aren't, so what? I have no idea what you mean by "lack of judgment." I'm not calling for any death threats or job threats. I'm asking for the opposite. The sham is not PZ Meyers, the sham is transubstantiation. I personally don't like the term "brights" and have never used it. I definitely don't know best. I just give my opinion, and try to back it up as best as I can. No one is denying that atheism is driving us. At least I'm not. Believe it or not, religion drives me to write just as much as atheism does. I don't know what you mean by "discerning the question of origins." If that means "where did we come from?" I really don't care. If someone gives me a plausible explanation, fine. For me Genesis is not a plausible explanation. Otherwise, I really don't care that much. The more people who read PZ Myers the better. At least we agree about one thing.

Thank you for your comment.

Jon said...

Agreed.

Respecting a person is not the same as respecting their ideas. One person holding a belief is not a reason to act as if that belief were true. A million people holding the same belief is no more persuasive.

I don't believe any Catholics's would respect my belief that cracks in the sidewalk are holy, and then stepping on them is a desecration and a grave insult to me. But if I could just get a few million more people to believe that too, then maybe they'd think twice before they carelessly stroll down the street.

Paul Thoreau said...

In response to:

Jon said...

Agreed.

Respecting a person is not the same as respecting their ideas. One person holding a belief is not a reason to act as if that belief were true. A million people holding the same belief is no more persuasive.

I don't believe any Catholics's would respect my belief that cracks in the sidewalk are holy, and then stepping on them is a desecration and a grave insult to me. But if I could just get a few million more people to believe that too, then maybe they'd think twice before they carelessly stroll down the street.

July 11, 2008 9:56 PM


Wow! Jon, I must say that I find "Respecting a person is not the same as respecting their ideas" to be a very insightful comment. Honestly, thank you for giving me something to think about.

I remember reading something recently that defined the difference between a cult and a religion. It had something to do with the fact that religions simply have more followers than cults do.

Thank you for your comment.

Mona Albano said...

Let's see... I believe in "Step on a crack, break my mother's back." You persist in stepping on cracks in the sidewalk as you walk along. I start yelling, pushing and pulling you to keep you from stepping on cracks. I accuse you of insulting my mother. I state that stepping carelessly on the sidewalk is equivalent to assaulting a harmless old lady. I call for you to be harassed, threatened, arrested, or fired. Because you're not respecting my beliefs! Makes sense?

Mona Albano said...

I chose my example at random after leaving the blog alone for the day. So I saw only the first comment, the ad-hominem attack by the cowardly anonymous. Sorry for repeating the metaphor. I still think it's a good one.

Paul Thoreau said...

To Mona Albano:

Thank you for your comments.

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