Archive for December, 2011

O Come, O Come Immanuel

Posted in Faith Experience on December 26, 2011 by RWZero

A late Christmas night alone in a room with a laptop and an MBox.

Decided not to use a metronome track.

But I always liked the song.

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Merry Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on December 25, 2011 by RWZero

It used to be that you were at church, and on Christmas and Easter all these extra people from the neighbourhood would leach into the pews. Then they’d leave again.

Now, all of us are those people.

Today I woke up early (for me) and visited the Catholic church with a friend. We watched them do their mass. It was calming last year, so I decided to do it again.

And life is quite complicated for other reasons.

Merry Christmas.

Wagers

Posted in The Narrow Path on December 20, 2011 by RWZero

People can barely manage to figure out what decisions that will lead to the right outcomes in the future–where everything is visible, every factor is known, and every possible outcome is known. It still drives them crazy.

So you can imagine what happens when you ask people to make decisions about their afterlives, with infinitely higher stakes and infinitely less information.

And nobody even has to ask.

Death of the Hitch

Posted in Humour etc. on December 19, 2011 by RWZero

I’m not sure if there was a good reason for him being as famous as he was, but I do know that I’m neither happy nor sad that Christopher Hitchens is dead.

The thing about being dead is that you can’t say anything. People can say whatever they like about Christopher Hitchens now, and he can’t comment.

It would be frustrating to be dead, aware that you were dead, and aware of what was happening on earth. Every time your name came up for the rest of all time, it would effectively be people talking about you behind your back.

Judgement

Posted in The Narrow Path on December 11, 2011 by RWZero

How can you judge people’s actions and not judge the people?

I don’t think it is logically possible, and even if it were logically possible I submit that it is not humanly possible.

It’s not logically possible because when you believe that someone’s actions are “sin,” you have judged a human being’s actions as sinful. To judge a person’s actions is to judge their motivations and reasons for the actions. To judge motivations and reasons, which spring forth from character, is to judge character. To judge character is to judge a person.

What does it mean to “judge”? When we accuse people of “judging,” we accuse them of making (negative) judgements about what kind of person someone else is–of negatively judging reasons, motivations and character. If you believe that it is wrong to steal, you will make better character judgements of a person who does not steal than of someone who does. Therefore, judging the person’s actions is the same as judging the person.

Christians often say “who am I to judge?” But saying “who am I to judge” is highly offensive when you judge anyway. The crime is not always the judging, but the lying to oneself and others about the judging.

Let us suppose that it is possible to judge a person’s actions without judging the person. That is: “I think what you did was wrong, but I don’t think you are any worse of a person for doing these wrong things” (so what makes someone a worse person, then? Bad motives? Am I not right in assuming a link between bad motives and bad actions? Nevermind all this for a second). Even if this is a logical possibility, it is an inhuman hypothesis. Nobody is capable of this type of thinking. When you see people around you engaging in behaviours that you believe are sin–transgressions against the most holy God–and when you yourself are not participating in this sin… you will perceive yourself as “better” than them.

It doesn’t matter how much you intellectually deny this. It doesn’t matter how many pieces of paper you sign under oath that everyone is “just as much of a sinner.” Because you don’t actually feel this way. You feel better than them. You feel cleaner than you would feel if you did those things, and hence, you feel cleaner than the people who do those things.

I felt cleaner than those people.

To some extent, I still do.

The only difference between me and you, fellow judgemental human being, is that I no longer pretend.

Motel Room

Posted in The Narrow Path on December 10, 2011 by RWZero

I sat wide awake on the bed in the empty motel room in Prescott, Ontario. My phone was dead. There were four hours before I would be able to go to sleep, and there was nothing for miles. I tried thinking, but my mind refused. So for the first time in years, I turned on the TV and flicked through the channels.

A host of observations came to mind, all of which I could have written something about, but the only ones that stuck with me were the Christian stations. I can’t believe those Christian stations exist. The soft-focus filter. The bad haircuts. The fake smiles. The terrible music. It’s unparalleled! I hated them as a little Christian, I hated them as a teenage Christian, I hated them as an adult Christian and I hate them now. But I hate them like I hate an itch that I can’t stop scratching–there’s something about the fact that they exist, and I can’t help but sink my eyes and ears into them when I see them. Scratching at them with my mind…

Nonetheless, I take comfort in knowing that even if the last 6 channels on the list are Christian channels in 50 years, they won’t look anything like this, because all the people who will have to run them are young right now–and nobody in this generation is going to keep doing things like this.

At one point, a nun’s wrinkled visage filled the screen. She was saying a benediction, and I nearly fell asleep at 8:00 PM just watching her. She sat amongst a bunch of equally dry-looking nuns, and the program paused for a moment before flashing up an ad for a specialty tea with her face on it. From the from the “Eternal Word [Television Network] Religious Catalogue.” I was nonplussed–this was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen that wasn’t supposed to be funny. I couldn’t believe that there were people sitting in front of their TV’s watching this, and calling a 1-800 number to buy nun-branded tea.

“As a nun and more than 88 years old, Mother Angelica still enjoys her hot cup of tea.”

I decided that I would order some of this tea for Christmas, for a couple special people I know…

But it’s been a couple days now, and I’ve changed my mind.

The Future

Posted in The Narrow Path on December 3, 2011 by RWZero

Who will replace the faith-based donors?