Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More Daddy Issues Than The Entire Print Run of Parenting Magazine

Why is it that so many Christians insist that there can be no moral calculus save that dictated by an all-powerful, paternalistic God, yet they prattle on and on about "personal responsibility?" The whole raison d'etre of the Discovery Insitute is predicated on replacing materialistic understanding of the natural world with a "theistic" one, thereby eradicating "moral relativism." From the good-ol Wedge Strategy:
The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and beliefs. Such moral relativism was uncritically adopted by much of the social sciences, and it still undergirds much of modern economics, political science, psychology and sociology.

Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting that human thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and environment. The results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal justice, product liability, and welfare. In the materialist scheme of things, everyone is a victim and no one can be held accountable for his or her actions.
Excuse me, but -- isn't leaving moral calculus up to your Invisible Grandpa the ULTIMATE abdication of moral responsibility? Isn't demanding that every thing in the culture around you be tailored to not conflicting with your belief system TOTALLY FUCKING WEAK? These are the people who would rather that women die of cervical cancer as punishment for lacking the personal responsibility not to sit on the wrong toilet seat at the community pool or sleep with someone who did.

Anyone who has sat through 15 minutes of a community college philosophy course knows that God is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for morality. But that would involve taking personal responsibility for actually thinking. "It's okay because my frigid ass is going to Heaven, while poor slutty Susie is going to die of cervical cancer because she had sex with someone!" Yeah, that's really fucking responsible! What moral courage!

Here's something: I quit eating meat on Memorial Day. Trey has been a vegetarian for some time, but never said one thing about the fact that I ate meat and in his presence. And as my relationship towards animals changed, I just couldn’t eat meat anymore. I still eat fish, but can’t bring myself to eat octopus or squid, because they are so smart. I ate meat with relish for 33 years — but I have come to two conclusions, one very personal, and one less so: that animals are living creatures with particularity and interests, and out of empathy I wish to hurt or eat them as little as possible. And factory farming is the single most environmentally destructive activity on the planet. So, having come to these conclusions, I am acting according to my conscience. I am taking personal responsibility. Nobody hands me a fucking medal when I order falafel instead of shawarma — nor should they. But I’m happy with myself for the most part when I am falling asleep at night. This is something I need to do for myself to be a good person in my own eyes.

I'm really smart and nice!

Unlike many a convert, however, (like our President, say) you don’t see me suddenly standing in front of Peter Luger brandishing images from the abbatoir, you don’t see me lecturing my friends at dinner.
I don’t condemn people for doing what I did for 33 years. I don’t interrupt my co-worker’s tepid enjoyment of her lemongrass chicken Lean Cuisine to tell her about the miserable conditions in which her poultry were raised.
But then, I also don’t feel the need to burn a high school kid’s art project on evolution or keep two men I’ve never met from marrying each other. Maybe because I have done a lot of lonely emotional and mental work to figure out my values and my place in the world, and transformed myself from a completely lost and suicidal 14 year old to a very happy married lady? Maybe because I was willing to take some REAL personal responsibility for myself? I am far, far from perfect: but I know who and what I am, and although I’m no atheist, I don’t need to sit on Invisible Trust Fund Grandpa’s lap while he cops a feel just so I get my existential fucking lollipop.

I bet you a winning Powerball ticket that all those zealots beating their breasts outside of Terri Schiavo’s hospital had no problem getting extra bacon with their Denny’s Grand Slams — righteous indignation sure makes you hungry! — even though their bacon was once far more of a “person” than poor uber-appropriated Ms. Schiavo at the time of her passing. Sorry, but it’s true! These are the people who are so woefully insecure in their faith that they need to shit upon science because it makes them feel scared and small -- the spiritual equivalent of that girl who will only be friends with ugly girls in order to feel remotely pretty. These troglodytes will shit all over the scientific method, but I bet they won’t refuse a cure for cancer that is a product of godless naturalism — oops! unless it’s a women’s reproductive health issue.

I'm not going to get mad at you if you eat meat [s'okay Ashbloem!] -- I think that's a deeply personal issue,[although for your own health and the environment I would suggest buying/eating only organic and locally raised meat] and I have no objection to religious belief per se. What I do object to is being subjected to infantile, howling hypocrisy. Jesus Christ -- I mean, Holy unnamed designer, Batman!!


Blogger Ashbloem said...

It's entries like this that make me love you more, Lillet.

No offense on the meat thing. I've waffled on it morally. But it's just so. damn. good. But, truth is, I don't eat much meat day to day. Only if I go out, which is NEVER, since I'm so damn poor and I'm living in the most inexplicably expensive city in the U.S. I'm pretty much a beans and rice and pumpkin eater, because I can buy those with food stamps.

Plus, I'm from Texas, and I think I'd be shot if I ever went back and said I am veggie.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Lillet Langtry said...

Thanks honey!

I'm worried though that when/if I get pregnant I will start craving live jerboas or something, like those lizard ladies in V, and then I'll feel silly!


12:55 PM  
Blogger -GK said...

Re: the Jesus and paternal gramps deal. Do you guys watch amazing race ever? I usually don't but this last weekend I was sitting on my bottom watching a friend's TIVO and we caught a few episodes. What's up with the christian family always begging Jesus or the Father Lord Savior to help them avoid elimination? Please Jesus, give me the stregth to bungee jump so we can can get to the the second marker. Etc. Etc. I only bring this up because I notice this a often: on amazing race and everywhere else. Why are people always asking the lord for a color TV or for lightning to smite their gay next door neighbor? Its always a memo to Jesus to come through on stupidly hateful or selfserving crap.

I phased out of my beef with Jesus (and I am slowly phasing out of most meat in general) despite my carnivorous excatholic argentine roots.

What can I say, Ms. Langtry, your comments re: the environment are the gospel truth.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Pat Kirby said...

>I bet you a winning Powerball ticket that all those zealots beating their breasts outside of Terri Schiavo’s hospital had no problem getting extra bacon with their Denny’s Grand Slams

And they don't bat an eye at the 10K Iraqis and 2K American soldiers who have died in their Beloved Leader Bush's little war.

I'm not an atheist, but that type of Christian sickens me. Among the warped tenets of their faith is the aborrence for "works based" salvation. Basically, they believe as long as they've accept Jesus as their one true Savior, they're going to heaven. It's up to Him to transform them into a decent human being, because, gosh, salvation is guaranteed.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Lillet Langtry said...

Thanks qk and Pat!

Pat, re: the widespread abhorrence for "works based" salvation: Before I forgot it in a bar, I was halfway through Harold Bloom's most excellent _The American Religion_, which posits that most of Christianity as practiced in the US today is not really Christianity at all, but a form of Gnosticism that is predicated above all on a solitary and singular communion -- personal relationship -- with Jesus. It really clicked for me, and sheds a great deal of of light on the exceptionalism that seems to be a defining feature of American character. Anyway, it is a really tremendously good book.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Lord Chimmy said...

I love your blog. Don't ever stop...ever.

11:36 PM  
Blogger SuperAmanda said...

Wonderful blog! Glad to seet hat there is a fellow lover of Yacht Rock on here! Keep it smooth and keep the fire for Coco!

3:35 AM  

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