Thursday, March 31, 2011

God Hates ..... Superman? A Story of Sean A.P. Ryan

Sorry, Mario, but this story has been moved into it's own Anthology.

Either here

Or the complete anthology

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Snarky Theology 4: "Things that go boink in the night." Catholicism on Sex and Gays

This one may have slightly less snark.  We'll see how it turns out.

I hear from a lot of people that the Catholic Church is obsessed with sex.  I usually hear this from people who aren't Catholic, or Catholics who haven't been to church since they left their parents' basement.  I've been going to church every Sunday for about 20 years.  That's approximately a 1300 masses, with holy days ... and I'm adding this note at 2:30 in the morning, so don't nitpick my math ....

In all 1300 masses, I don't think I've never heard the priest talk about sex unless there was a reading that involved adultery, or someone begetting someone else.

This month, I turn 29. I believe I am one of the few male beings on the planet, and maybe the only person in New York City, who is deliberately a virgin.

I put special emphasis on deliberately, since being one involuntarily is not really that impressive for a nerd of my caliber. I've been given the option, and I have expressly said no.  I don't think this is a gloating matter, and I don't mean it to be "Haha, I'm more virtuous than you," I mean it more in the context of "Whew, I dodged a bullet."

My reasons for avoiding sex are numerous. For starters, I'm not married.  I have personal reasons (I've met too many people where sex has taken normal people with slight personality quirks, and turned them into full-on neurotic messes). I have practical reasons (my parents are both in the medical field, and I ask far too many questions when I'm at a microbiology conference--did you know that there are 25 difference STDs, 50 with varying mutations, and that condoms have an 85% failure rate against pregnancies, and viruses are many, many times smaller than a sperm cell? Oy!)

Also: I've got this strange notion from my philosophy and my faith that has said that, “Sex should be the perfect union of two people, so that they are linked biologically, psychosomatically, psychologically, and spiritually, making them one.  You don't do that with just anybody.”

Hey, I warned you I was a romantic sap. You should expect some of this tripe every so often.

But this is just me. What about the Church of Rome?

Oh, yeah, apologetics.

My last, "philosophical / religion" position, is the same position of the Catholic Church, which isn't half as obsessed with sex as the average American. To expand on that original premise, sex should be such a perfect union, only undertaken by two people in a committed relationship. And, sex should also fulfill all of its natural functions.  I briefly covered this topic before.

Thus, the Roman Catholic Church is the only one where sex is a sacrament.... Something blessed by Christ that gives god’s grace

Yes, you read that right. You get married, you are supposed to have sex. Children should be an end result, but timing is everything, isn't it? There are usually enough signs and portents in the average hormone cycle that self control is the best method of birth control available.

For the record: sterility doesn't really enter into the equation. The married couple having sex is doing everything right, it's just a matter of equipment failure.

And now you know everything about the Church's, um, position on sex … Tab A goes into Slot B.  The Church doesn't care where else it stops on the way, it doesn't care if whips, chains, exhibitionism, or anything else is involved, as long as the end result adds up to Tab A in Slot B.  It doesn't matter how it starts, it matters where you finish. 

And, personally, not only do I not care, I don't want to know.

In sum: sex that has no possibility of procreation is considered a deliberate violation of the natural order of things, and hence considered a sin.  Save sex for marriage, and after that, knock yourself out.  Have fun. Thank you, the end, goodbye ....

What? You mean I missed something?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Snarky theology 3: Evolution, Creationists, and other Irritants.

The third in our Snarky Theology series for Lent.  Round one was on how Catholics are Cannibals.  Round two was some simple (Perhaps even simple minded.) thoughts on Lent itself.  I had considered making this about sex, but after last week, I think I'll hold off on the incendiary topics for another week.

This week, let's take a look at evolution ... No, I don't think it's an incendiary topic.

Evolution: the premise that humans came from other species.  Monkeys seem to be at the top of the list of suspects.

Apparently, it's quite important to some people.

Seriously, deeply, psychotically important.

You have the really weird creationist museum. Which should either be there as comic relief, or set on fire. Pick one.

But I've noticed there's two sides to the so-called debate, where they take the idea of evolution and decide to apply it to religion.

Really, people? What is your problem?
 Creationists: The Bible is literal, but we have dinosaurs, which weren't in the bible.  Which indicates a time period before the Bible, but the Bible is the end all and be all of all of history? NOOOOOOOO.  How can we reconcile dinosaurs with the book?  I know, dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden!  Let's have Adam and Eve and a VELOCIRAPTOR! BWAHAHAHA!!

Evolunatics: God is dead! The Bible was meant as a literal chronology of all of human history, but we have dinosaurs!  It's all wrong!  All of it!  MUWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Then I roll my eyes, sigh, and shake my head.  At the end of the day, I look at both sides, and decide that this particular asylum isn't being run by the psychologically stable.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The flame war is postponed ....

For those of you who follow such things, we have our first flame war on the page.  It's over in the FAQs of Lent comments section.

However, I ran across this on Facebook.  My friend Matt's Facebook page.  As you know, Matt's an atheist, and likes shredding the dumber side of religion.... okay, he thinks every side is dumb, but he tolerates me, and I'm not the easiest person to get along with.

Now, you don't have to view this video. In fact, I hope it gets taken off of YouTube before any human being gets to see this ... I really don't count.  But, I took a glance at it, and it prompted me to write my first ever blog that I want to post at three in the morning, EST. 

I think I'm about to have a banner moment, here.

A Bruce Banner moment. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Snarky Theology 2: FAQs about Lent.

For those of you who aren't Catholics, or for those Catholics who don't care, Lent has already started.  In fact, it started last Wednesday.  I suppose standard procedure would have been to post it then, but I had someone post a link I wanted to respond to, and I needed a few days for my blood pressure to come down.

So, what is Lent?  Lent is a part of the Catholic calender that is, essentially, a forty-day warm up to Easter. I've already started living on yogurt and berries.

As part of my Lenten series of sort-of religious blog posts, here are some FAQs about Lent.

UPDATE Most of those questions originally in this post have been moved to my new job at -- in short, I get paid. :)

However, the below question wouldn't fit ... if only because the comment stream below.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Snarky Theology 1: Catholic Cannibals.

Right now, I am not certain if I have have yet made this point explicit; but, just in case, I need to be clear about something.....

A Pius Man, this blog, and myself, are not here to convert anyone.

One more time.

I'm not here to convert anybody.

To start with, I'm not a Jehovah's Witness. For another thing, the bulk of my friends are Jewish. It wouldn't go over well.

Not to mention that I wouldn't drag anyone into the mishegas that is the Roman Catholic Church, unless they were really patient.

Let's look at my religion for a moment.

I believe that a strange visitor from another realm came to Earth, with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. As He grew up, His powers developed, until He could walk through crowds as though He were invisible, could calm tempests, turn water into wine, walk on water and multiply food to feed a few thousand people. He's also such a pathetic Deity that He would later get nailed to a set of 2x4s.  Even more pathetic, when He does something interesting and comes back from the dead, it's done in such a low-key fashion that it could easily be reported as "someone misplaced the body. Oops."

Welcome to the church that follows Yeshua bin Joseph. AKA Yeshua bin YHWH. AKA Joshua Carpenter, AKA Joshua, son of Joseph. Better known by his Greek alias, Jesus the Christ.

Welcome to the rabbit hole I live in.

Now, the above is just how I phrase this sort of stuff.  I'm sure most Christians wouldn't phrase it quite like that.  However, if one is looking at it objectively, it's probably quite insane. According to sociologist Rodney Stark, the major reason Christianity received ANY converts was that the early Christians themselves were big on charity. They had a tendency to stay in areas that smart people left -- areas like plague-infested towns, when even the doctors fled.  When things were so bad that the intelligent people left the others to their fate, Christians were the only ones dumb enough to stick around. It's a good thing they were too, otherwise Christianity would be a small sect in some unknown corner of the world no one ever heard of.

But wait, there's more.

My particular subsection of Christianity, known as Catholicism (from catholic, meaning "universal"; IE: Catholics, everywhere you don't WANT us to be, and "We'll take anybody.... no, really, anybody"), has a special tenet.

One tale of fellow Jesus had Him grabbing the bread at the Passover dinner, and He said "Take all of you and eat it. This, my body" (apparently, the Aramaic version is far more direct about it). 

He also did the same thing with "the cup" (probably the one left for Elijah) and called it His blood.

We Catholics took this tale, and we took it literally. In fact, we play Swallow the Leader every Sunday.  It's technical term is transubstantiation. .... aka Swallow the Leader.

Yes, you got it, Catholics are cannibals.  We eat our Savior as a sacrifice, drink his blood.  Insert evil laughter here ....

No, not really much on the evil laughter, but still ...

One of the better uses of this transubstantiation concept comes from the pen of F. Paul Wilson, horror writer and Fordham University product ... um, graduate. At one point, Wilson had some fun with a vampire story -- since the Catholic mass serves the body and blood of Christ, the vampire took his daily feeding from the chalice.  Now, technically, Wilson is not a Catholic, since Fordham is, after all, a Jesuit school, and any relationship between the Jesuits and Catholicism is tenuous, at best (Sorry, inside joke.  See "Attack of the Vatican Ninjas" for details).

Amusingly, there are some people within the Catholic church who have problems swallowing this last bit of theology (pun intended). "Jesus is supposed to be ACTUALLY IN the bread and wine? No way!"

Yes, because turning water into wine, telling a tempest to shut up, walking on water and COMING BACK FROM THE DEAD are simply sooooo much easier to believe. But Jesus being actually in the bread and wine, using it as a guise for body and blood?  No way dude!

This is of course, right up there with Joseph Campbell complaining that if Jesus physically ascended into Heaven, we should still be able to pick Him up on radar ... If you're already part of the whole Christianity thing, and you're presuming that Jesus is, oh, the Divine Being, Creator of the Universe, etc, et al, then one would have to figure "Hmm, if God created the laws of physics, I wonder if He could bend and/ or break them."

Or, as my father put it, from God's point of view, "It's My game, My ballpark, My rules."

I have occasionally had people justify their lack of believe in this (or any) part of the faith under the heading of "cafeteria Catholicism," where they pick and choose whatever random parts they want to believe in. Which is odd, because by now, I think there's a Protestant group of every sort that has some variation on the faith.

Shop around a bit, you can become a member of whatever theological system you like.  Including a Christian group without Christ (they're called Unitarians). I also enjoy people who enjoy saying they are Catholic, yet believe NOTHING of the Vatican's teachings.  Which is odd, I didn't think Catholics were so cool that people hung around, despite not believing a word, or The Word.

Right now, there are so many varieties of Christianity, I think being a "shopper" within a faith is sort of like saying "No, I joined this militia because I couldn't find a gun club. I like the shooting, but this whole 'overthrow the government' part is just not my thing.  Honest. Why are you arresting me?"

Now, as I said before, I can objectively look at all of the above elements of faith.  From the outside, it looks positively insane.  There's a reason there are three references to Alice in Wonderland in the above text. And I can give you all sorts of reasons why I, a moderately intelligent fellow, believe in all of the above insanity.

Gutters #22
But that's about twenty pages (small print, small spacing, really small margins), of Really Boring Garbage. And, as I said, I'm not here to convert anybody. If I can explain to people what Catholics believe, and the reasoning behind it, I'll be happy. The phrase is "apologetics"; not saying "I'm sorry," but explaining why. In Greek, apologia meant a legal defense.

That's one reason I have occasionally referred to A Pius Man as apologetics in-between the bullets.

Though no matter how much I explain it, it'll all still look insane. There's a reason I used a description from Superman in reference to Jesus ...

Although in the first Superman film, his spaceship did look like the Star of Bethlehem. I guess we can blame that on Godfather author and Catholic, Mario Puzo. He must have made Hollywood an offer they couldn't refuse.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mr. Phelps, David Koresh Called. He wants to chat.

A while ago, I did an article on Mr. Fred Phelps and his merry band of miscreants at the Westboro Baptist Chuch.  You know who they are.  They have protests at military funerals, or anywhere they can get their dirty faces in front of a video camera, because their cult leader and deity, Phelps, can't stand to have someone stand between him and media coverage.

I professionally continued that slash and burn here.

Now, the Supreme Court, in their infinite wisdom, have declared that Mr. Phelps and his WBC crowd have the right to protest anywhere.  Although, looking at excerpts, it reads like the eight members of the court held their nose, cast their vote, and deeply wanted to beat Phelps down with a baseball bat.  Though that could just be me.

Are we surprised, though?  Early last year, a federal court of appeals threw out a jury verdict in favor of Albert Snyder, who had sued WBC protesters at his son Matthew's funeral.  The charge was intentional infliction of emotional distress. These inbred cultists stood outside Matthew's funeral with placards saying things like, "God Loves Dead Soldiers," "God Hates You," "You're Going to Hell," "Semper Fi Fags," "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "Thank God for IEDs" and "God Hates Fags."

When Snyder appealed his case to the Supreme Court, and the court had to decide whether the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) can ever exist in a country with a First Amendment.

Now, I'm going to do something I try not to do.  I'm going to quote a political commentator.