According to the polling data, about 5 percent of Americans say they donâ€™t believe in God, and only another 5 percentâ€”my 5 percentâ€”arenâ€™t sure. But almost the whole other 90 percent subscribe to some flavor of (Christian) faithâ€”most of those say that the Bible is literally true, and a good 30 percent believe that it was dictated by God.
And whether they are strict scriptural literalists or not, a huge supermajority of Americans believe inâ€”what else to call it?â€”magic: 61 percent think the world was created in six days, 70 to 78 percent say that hell and the Devil and angels exist, 81 to 85 percent believe in Heaven. If opinion polling had existed in the Middle Ages, itâ€™s hard to imagine that the numbers would have been much higher.
For practical reasonsâ€”reasons both of politics and civilityâ€”it ordinarily behooves our tiny minority of reality-based infidels to keep quiet about our astonishment that most of our fellow citizens are in thrall to fantastic medieval fever dreams, just as it behooves secular minorities in Islamic countries to keep their modern sentiments to themselves. In countries like ours, the Iraqs and Afghanistans and USAs, liberals need to pick their battles.
I have never been cool. Does that make me cool? Doubtful. The only cool people I know of are Johnny Depp and Miles Motherfucking Davis. Actually, I may have been cool for about 20 minutes once. But no one was around to witness it.
Last night I had a dream about a Chipman Middle School reunion and I recognized a few people 18 years after the fact but the vast majority I didn’t. I did recognize this one girl named Maureen (and I keep wanting to say her last name was Dowd, but I know I didn’t go to middle school with Maureen Dowd) and I talked with her for a bit and when I looked in the mirror I had turned into a Filipino with spikey hair and that was odd so I decided to leave since I didn’t really have much to say to these people anyway but on the way out I ran into a huge group of all my old friends from that time: Jared Westermeyer, Joe Litchford, Wilbur Robinson, Ken Hillard, Matt Whitely, Arthur Gomez, Dennis Tuazon, Allen Beroya…the whole lot of ’em (and even some from my years in Dunedin, FL – Greg Oreste, John Koch, Joey Longano, Archie Higgins, Ryan Foster) and they had all aged appropriately. I recognized Joe right away and Dennis, only because I’ve seen recent photos, but it took me a sec to recognize Jared. I recognized Greg, too. And then there was a TV camera filming the reunion so I decided to go back inside and catch up but I woke up before my dream imagination got a chance to put fake histories in these guys’ mouths so I have no idea how they fared.
Last night we also had to go to a funeral for the mother of Sa Rah’s older brother’s best friend. She was killed in a car wreck last Friday. None of what I’m about to write should be taken as dishonoring the memory of the woman involved (because I have a feeling she herself would consider my observation worthy), but there are several things I learned from this funeral:
1 – If anyone who speaks at my funeral, ESPECIALLY THE OFFICIATING HOLY PERSON, uses ‘Footprints in the Sand’ as sermon fodder, I want them to be torn asunder. God would want it that way. Well, the Old Testament God would and at times requiring a tearing asunder, that’s to whom I defer.
2 – If anyone who speaks at my funeral, ESPECIALLY THE OFFICIATING HOLY PERSON, uses my death as an opportunity to unabashedly evangelicize since they obviously need something to say to fill up their allotted speaking time, I want them to be pebbled. What’s “pebbled”? It’s the more annoying version of being stoned to death. Being pebbled won’t actually kill you, it’ll just bug the holy hell out of you and that is similar to being talked to like this for 40 minutes” “Oh yes, so-and-so was a great woman. How do I know? Her friends told me! Now I want to talk to you about Christ the Life…(40 minutes later)…and Jesus made this woman great. Amen.” Don’t get me wrong, folks. Everyone who reads this knows I’m no fan of religion and no believer in holy writ – but that’s not the issue. The issue is this (and my lovely wife said it best last night): Everything that this Reverend went on and on about last night should have been subtextual. The fact that you, and everyone else, is in a holy space for this particular ceremony implies more than a little something about the religious bent of the deceased. Does this mean that no religiously-themed speech is tolerable? No. But the occasion is hardly the time for a bloody sales pitch. Completely disrespectful.
3 – If anyone sings/plays music at my funeral, it better be these guys:
[broken link – jpp :(]
or these guys: