Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.
My friend Brook posted this pic on Facebook this morning and it made me think about religion. Primarily because Brook has used the phrase "These go to eleven" as a descriptor for how most religious people explain their faith.
If you have seen the exchange above, you know that Nigel has strengthened his amps and re-marked them at 11. Of course, volume rating in this sense is completely arbitrary. There is no objective decible marker for 10. What counts as 10 in terms of decibles would vary from amp to amp. Saying one's amp goes to 11 is completely meaningless... but it makes Nigel feel as if his band has something that no other band has. The fact that his amp goes to 11, in his mind, makes Spinal Tap unique.
When I am in religious conversations on Facebook, Brook will often, like an audio drop on radio, pop in to say "These go to 11". This is shorthand for stating that the person I am talking to is stuck in a logic loop. Their religious item is true BECAUSE they say it is true. Their religion is superior. Their religion is unique.
Their religion goes to 11.
An example of this is when an evangelical states that their religion is different because they are not actually in a religion, they are in a "relationship". The fact that there is no functional difference between how they relate to their god and how my Mormon friends relate to their god would be pointless for me to bring up.
Their religion goes to 11.
On the flipside, various Mormon friends of mine state that one of the things that makes their religion different is their claim they are god's "one true church" on the earth. The fact that pretty much every other church group makes a similar claim doesn't seem to hinder their belief that they are unique.
Their religion goes to 11.
So what about your religion? How does your religion get that extra push over the cliff? What makes yours one louder?
When all the other religious blokes are playing at 10, how have you remarked your religion as 11?
Sunday, May 12, 2013
The most obvious flaw occurs at the end:
"It was intended to protect the church from the state, not the other way around."Let's say that in a forward direction, so we can hear it properly,
"the state should not have any protection from the church."Ergo, the church should be able to do to the state (citizens) as it likes.
Of course, anyone trumpeting this meme would object and obfuscate that interpretation. So then, we should ask if they are lying? Or just given to brazen, meaningless hyperbole? Either answer would fit with most proclamations of religion.
The other, not so obvious, flaw is its self serving argument. Though the statement sounds broad, its execution would be most narrow. The writer may claim to want religion at the helm, but in truth, it is not meant to be that general. Give the reins of government to any "church" other than the writer's own, and listen to the howling commence.
This is why the original phrase was written - Jefferson was assuring a group of Baptists that a majority religion would not use governmental powers to infringe on their rights. Religion, generally speaking, wants to multiply. It wants to convert everyone. Part of government's job is to give you the freedom to say no to religion's desire to assimilate you. Government cannot do that if it too has been assimilated.
However, the writer of this meme, and those who post it are of a different opinion. Assured of their rightness, they see no harm in using governmental powers to nudge you in their direction. In their view it is to your benefit - to everyone's benefit - to see religion and life from their point of view. They believe that under the right circumstances- their circumstances - church and state harmony is a good thing.
Posted by Andrew at 1:11 PM
Friday, May 10, 2013
I am very grateful for my two children and how much they love each other. As my 11 year old son and I were leaving the talent show at Kathryn's school last night, Jake said, "Kathryn's birthday is tomorrow.... I have to get to the store!"
"What do you want to get her?" I inquired.
Jake thought for a moment, then replied, "Everything."
Posted by Andrew at 6:42 AM
Thursday, May 09, 2013
But it gives me the warm fuzzies knowing that our nation and its states are forcing our schools to spend all of their time, funds, and talent to develop a generation of massively proficient bubble testers.
I wanna look all these politicians and "school reformers" straight in the eye and I want to tell them what cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit they really are! Hallelujah! Holy shit!.... Where's the Tylenol?
That led to a conversation about standardized testing and my personal frustration with it:
Who I am as a teacher, will be judged over the next 5 days by how my students perform on a multiple choice test. Literally... those 5 measly tests. What I was to my students as a teacher, how I communicated with parents, how I maintain the classroom environment, what I contribute as a staff member...... NONE of that factors in to my teacher effectiveness.... my worth is judged by those tests. Do teachers feel pressure to think of everything they do in terms of test prep? .... you bet your ass they do.... is that really what we want? Nope. We (as a nation) see the wall we are driving into, but we can't turn away...If you feel some level of frustration with our nation's educational system, remember that your local teacher is probably on the same page with you.
Posted by Andrew at 7:59 AM
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Watch this video before reading... it is only a minute...
Andy, why do you pester people about their religion? If it gives them peace, why do you care?
I get this question rather frequently... and I ask it of myself rather regularly. Why do I care? Is this just the need to be right wrapped in a different ideology?
If religion were just a pleasant set of dictums encouraging folks to be nice to each other, and giving peace about meeting loved ones after death.... well, there probably wouldn't be much to harp on.
However, religion is rarely so simple and innocent. See the kid above? That could be a video of me. I remember feeling that same pressure around that age.
Andrew, if you have the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone and fail to, and they die tonight, their soul will be held to your account!I did not go to Westboro. Mine was a fairly typical conservative evangelical church - of the kind that dominates the religious discussion and politics in America. Even as I got older and my faith became more liberal and I went to (seemingly) more liberal churches; I found the pressure in those churches for kids to evangelize their peers was strong.
I am sure the parents, and church, of this boy would say that he has made a commendable choice to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I would argue that choice had nothing to do with it. In order to make a choice, you must have an unbiased education in all options. He has been completely brainwashed and never had any options in the matter. In truth, he is utterly defenseless before his family and religious community.
He never had a prayer....
Posted by Andrew at 5:44 PM
Saturday, April 20, 2013
However, I don't care for the attempt to equalize it with Christianity... because honestly, it fails. I think the folks at Westboro church are loons, bigots, and awful human beings; but do we really believe they in any way compare to bombers? Westboro protests funerals, but they have yet to cause one.
One only needs to scan the papers and news stories of countries where Islam is the dominate religion - honor killings are justified, blasphemy laws are enforced, your death will be called for if you leave the faith - to realize there is a wide chasm between these religions presently.
I don't think this is any big credit to Christianity. Christian countries have only become more civilized as they have become more secularized. It would not take too much of a back turn of the clock to get those Christians protesting homosexuals to be burning them at the stake. Church Father John Calvin would have given no objection to my execution.
I also question the memes use of the word "most". Is that data driven, or just a personal impression? That has not been my impression at all. My impression is that "most" would never perpetrate violence, but there remains a sympathetic chord when violence is done to someone insulting Islam. It is that sympathy that provides the fertile soil in which the violence of the more extreme elements takes root. Perhaps I am wrong, but I would like to see some data.
If there is a comparing to be done amongst religions, it is this: The Islamic nations serve as a warning of what will happen to ANY nation that turns over its reins to religion. Remember that the next time you pull the lever for the congressman wearing a cross on his lapel.
Posted by Andrew at 10:12 AM
Friday, April 12, 2013
I wrote a response refuting the religious position. This is a topic that comes up frequently, so I want to park my answer here on the blog, so I can cut and paste it in future conversations. :)
You hold a particular belief about sex, and marriage and morals. Honestly, I would not want you to violate your conscience. I think my problem exists in the way you try to extrapolate those convictions to others beyond yourself. We probably are standing too close to this issue for my point to be clear, so allow me to move it to another topic.
I spent some time in Israel with Jews who kept Kosher. Food had a moral component. To eat it, to prepare it, to clean it... had a good and bad, right and wrong aspect to it.
Do I mind if someone keeps Kosher? By no means. I would never want them to violate their conscience if that is what they believe. However, I think most Americans would react negatively if these Kosher keeping Jews attempted to use the law to make the rest of us keep Kosher. Why should we be forced to attend to the conviction of someone else's religious dictations?
In the same way, you have your religious convictions regarding sex and marriage and gender. You should keep them. I think it is even right for you to present the case of WHY you think your custom/conviction is a good thing in general. However, I think you overstep the line of liberty when you seek to enforce your religious convictions (and by your own explanations, that is what they clearly are) on those who are not of your religious sect. Understand that I no more want your religious convictions forcibly applied, than I would anyone else's... as I would suspect, you would not want religious convictions you do not adhere to forced upon you.
Posted by Andrew at 10:18 PM