Sunday, January 29, 2006


I visited this neglected blog after having ignored it for a long time and got a minor surprise. I had visitors!

Apparently, my humble but shout-from-the-rooftops blog has attracted at least one more reply. That's an increase of 100% over the last year! My blog readership is improving. Improving more than the national economy even.

Time to post some new articles.

Today I am inventing a new word. I need a new word to indicate the situation where intelligent, clear-thinking adults suddenly become ignorant imbeciles whenever they hear the words Our Lord God.

I therefore introduce the new english word THEOIDIOCY which I hope is properly derived from the greek word theos meaning God and the pre ice-age neanderthal word idiot which means a simple-minded person. There were idiots during the neanderthal age, it is unfortunate that after thousands of years of evolution, we still have idiots being born everyday.

I think it is very revealing of a religion when its adherents have to resort to fiction to justify their beliefs. Nothing wrong about writing fiction, by the way. However, I have discovered that religions are very wont to resort to this strategem whenever they wish to emphasize a teaching or attract an audience. Writing a story to emphasize a lesson is not limited to religion, however. Plenty of other fields often resort to stories in order to enliven a lesson or to emphasize a principle. But religions have made their art of writing fiction into an entirely distinct form of indoctrination. Their style and chutzpah is unique among all the other fields.

Several years ago, I read a story about a gymnast in a book about setting goals. According to that book, there was a girl who at the age of 8 decided that she wants to become a gymnast and that she will win the Gold Medal in the Olympics. Focusing herself to that singular goal, the girl convinced her parents to get her a good coach. Her parents were more than willing to encourage her interest and they hired a coach to mentor her. Money is no object. Everyday, after classes, the little girl would rush to the gym and practice, practice, practice. She would practice till she can no longer stand, she would practice for hours at a stretch.

In her mind, there is nothing more important to her than to win a gold medal at the olympics and for that goal she was willing to expend herself and die if she must in the pursuit of her dream.

Years went by. Slowly, the little girl became better and better at his chosen field and one day, during the olympic games, she stood at attention as the flag of her nation was hoisted above the arena and the national anthem was played by an orchestra. She had won the gymnastic gold medal in the Olympic Games.

As she watched her flag rising, as she heard the cheers and adulation of her countrymates, she wept with happiness at realizing that after years of hard work, she has achieved her goal. She was not yet past her teens, but look at her now! She has not yet finished high school, she is young, but look at her now. She is at the top.

But as the full consequence of the realization of her dream dawned on her, she also realized one thing. What is she going to do now? All her life, this was her dream, to win the gold medal. All her life this was what she wanted. She would wake up every morning knowing that another day, another opportunity has been given her to work towards her dream.

Today her dream is complete. What will she do tomorrow? What reason does she have to wake up in the morning of the next day? What will she do next?

And the girl wept, because having achieved her dream, she realized she no longer has anything to live for.

Its a nice story. And it has a moral lesson too. As goals are achieved, it is important that new goals be built in their place. One should never lose sight of a goal, but it is also important to remember to always have a goal.

I have taken that lesson to heart, and thanks to the story of the gymnast, I have remembered the lesson well. However, is the story true?

Now, perhaps you will protest, "So what if the story didn't turn out to be true at all? So what if there is no such gymnast whose life became a muddle of the day to day efforts of living instead of the bright and vivid vision of what is achievable? It is a good story because it drives home the lesson well and more importantly, it is plausible. It could conceivably happen."

And you will be right. The story is indeed plausible. It could happen. And because of its plausibility, the story does not lose the luster of its teaching.

But what of religion? What of the belief in a God? How can a proselytizer convince an audience of the truth of his or her belief? All these stories in the bible are wonderful, but so are the stories of Hector, of Achilles, of the patient Penelope waiting 20 years for her husband Odysseus to return from Troy; of Odysseus struggling through the travails and tempest of the fickle gods so he can someday return to the arms of his lover Penelope. Who has read the Odysseus and not marvelled at the faith of Penelope and the tenacity of Odysseus?

Even today, the power of the story of Odysseus and Penelope have yet to lose their brilliance to convince of the strength of love, loyalty and fidelity. And yet, no christian will ever swear that Odysseus and Penelope lived and that Apollo the God personally intervened when the Trojans and the Greeks warred. The story of Penelope and Odysseus are wonderful but they are certainly untrue.

And yet, the very same people who would dismiss Penelope and Odysseus as fiction, the same people who would consider The Chronicles of Narnia as mere tales however engrossing the story may be, these very people would swear upon their non-existent souls that Moses did live and freed the hebrews from bondage in Egypt. These people would shut their eyes to Yahweh's rape of the Virgin Mary, wife of Joseph, and rejoice that Mary bore Yahweh's bastard son. These people are ready to die, to murder, to stone and to despise simply on the strength of a 2000 year old story which cannot be confirmed to be true.

Why? Theoidiocy of course! The stories are so implausible, so contrived, so out of the ordinary and natural course of reality that it seems nigh impossible that there are people who would believe the stories contained in a book simply because there is a cross on the cover and a stamp proclaiming it holy.

And yet, millions of christians, muslims, and assorted theists do so everyday. I was one of them even. How is such superstition possible in this modern world? Theoidiocy! You can create any story, implausible it may be, dowse it with a little glibness of the tongue, cook it over the embers of superstition and throw in a teaspoon of God and it will be believed. People would weep at your fiction, raise their hands, and loudly proclaim the glory of whatever God you chose to be the hero of your story.

It is true. And a good example of it was the spam I have received. Let's see why that spam is a very concrete example of theoidiocy.

A girl whose parents were murdered was shown a picture of Jesus and she proclaims that it is the picture of the man who held her in his arms as her parents were butchering themselves.

Put yourself in the place of the teacher who is holding the picture of Jesus. After hearing the girl's excited cries, will you yourself cry Hallelujah? If you are in a seminary, the chances are you will. Seminaries are rather good at washing away reason from the minds of its students. But let's assume that you are delightfully free of the clutches of a seminary and that theodiocy has not yet completely brainwashed you. What will you think? What should you think?

You should think, "Wait a minute, obviously this picture I am holding here could not be the picture of Jesus because nobody knows what he looks like! There is no such thing as a 12 megapixel digital camera two thousand years ago, and as far as we know, Jesus has never ever posed for a portrait. No, this picture is decidely fiction. If you ask me, this picture of Jesus even reminds me of that guy in the movie about vampires and werewolves. You know that movie, that movie with a vampire girl in a sexy black tight leather jumpsuit throwing bladed weapons around killing werewolves?

Anyway, according to this girl, there is a man who looks similar to this picture holding her while her parents were in the throes of a violent suicide. Do the police know about this? According to their report (which I have read of course) this girl hid in the closet during her father's murderous rampage but this could change the story. Perhaps there is indeed someone else in the house during that time. Perhaps there is a witness or even a murderer still alive and likely to get away with his crime. Perhaps I should inform the police about this new development. At the very least I should call a psychiatrist to attend to this poor girl."

And that is what you as a responsible, civic minded, alert and properly functioning human being should think about.

But if, instead of calling the police, you went directly to your computer and composed a chain letter about Jesus holding a girl to keep her safe while atheists are doing their ungodly business, I hope someone breaks a bottle of San Miguel Beer over your head and screams THEOIDIOT!! at you.