Sunday, July 11, 2010

AtF: Kinda Half-Assing it...

So I didn’t let Bill Cooper harsh my Rogapalooza buzz.  Hell, I didn’t let anything harsh my Rogapalooza buzz.  On the Fourth of July I declared independence from After the Flood.  Also, I watched Doctor Who on BBC America in a fit of patriotism most excellent.[1]

Either way, AtF is back.  But I kind of have a problem with the current chapter.  See, all this chapter does is detail the stories of the British kings as handed down by Nennius.  Y’know, Brutus of Troy through Yvor and Yni, with stops along the way at Leir and Uther Pendragon and Arthur, so I find there’s very little I can say about this chapter that I haven’t already said.

It’s just this massive, massive pile of bullshit.

Interestingly enough, though, at no point in the chapter does Cooper mention that parts of the origin story for Britain as handed down by Nennius include stories of dragons.  Or Merlin.  Or, as best I can tell, giants.  It’s as if Cooper’s worried that mentioning such things might, y’know, ruin things for him.

It’s a tad disingenuous to not bring those things up, I think.

Either way, I’m trying to come up with reasons not to skip this chapter and nothing really comes to mind.  So I think I might just do that.

But as a delaying tactic before I go and do anything else, it seems that this might be a good time to discuss something else.  Very few Christians actually believe any of this shit.  Even the Christians who believe in Biblical literalism probably don’t.  This, unfortunately, is not an excuse.  It’s an indictment.

Now, there are those Christians who take the Genesis accounts as a sort of allegory.  For them the universe doesn’t have to actually have popped in to existence some 6014 years ago for the story to make sense.  It’s a big harder to engage these folks on grounds of real history.  In many cases I don’t actually want to.  Some of the best people I know are Christians or Jews who understand the idea that you don’t actually have to take the Bible literally and yet still live a life that includes religion.

I’ve come to understand that the people who don’t take the Bible literally but still think of religion as important are generally the folks who believe that religion basically says, “Be good to each other.”  I have no quarrel with that category of humanity.  Quite frankly, I believe that those of us who don’t believe do ourselves a disservice when we antagonize them.[2]

Then there are the literalists.  Some literalists, to be honest, are harmless.  They just think that the Bible is right and they should follow it.  They’ll tend to evangelize, but tend to not attempt to engage in social reforms to turn the world Christian.  Oh, believe me, they’ll sit in church and listen to sermons about it.  But that’s slightly different.  Some literalists, however, are not so harmless.  They’re the ones trying to ruin education standards and whatnot.

I only bring this up because, um, I’m bored, I guess.

I dunno.  Many, many months ago I had a well-meaning, self-appointed defender of truth from my former life tell me that I shouldn’t be wasting my time with After the Flood because most Christians don’t actually believe in the crap that Cooper spews.  This is true.  I, myself, cannot imagine taking Cooper seriously at any point after my freshman year in high school.[3]

But, of course, this series isn’t about disproving Christianity.  It’s about disproving Biblical literalism.  And talking about how real historians do their thing.  And drinking bourbon on Sunday nights.[4]

I’ve kind of forgotten why I’m writing this post.  It started out as an explanation, but as I’ve gone through the explanation I’ve realized that I’m pretty sure I’ve already explained all of this before.

So, I’ll assume that anyone reading this gets the point, since there’s also far less of a point than I thought there was.

Instead I’ll tell a story.

I took a nap this afternoon.  Naps are always weird for me, as I generally take them accidentally and I decide upon waking up that I don’t want to do anything.[5]  This particular nap involved a nightmare (erm, afternoonmare…).  And I loved it, because, well, allow me to explain.

The nightmare was this: I was back in Rogapalooza.  I’d ended up staying at an Opryland-esque themed resort hotel.  Over the course of my dream I was convinced there was one more show I could get to, but I wasn’t sure.

So, basically, I spent the entire nightmare attempting to get to the Peacemakers’ website and confirm.  But my iPhone wasn’t taking me where I needed to be and I couldn’t get a good wi-fi connection with my laptop.  Also, there were weird interludes where I was doing random things like taking boat tours and freaking out because I wasn’t on the internet.

Also, there was a commercial break.  It was an ad for some sort of anti-virus computer service and all of the visuals involved Chinese construction workers filling holes with rubber cement whilst Triad members attacked them.

Once I woke up (and realized I was in my own bed, and that it wasn’t 7:14 in the evening), all I could think was, “Man, it’s awesome living in the 21st Century.”

I mean, even a 21st Century nightmare is about crazy technological shit.

Also, that’s way more interesting than Bill Cooper.  At least it is to me.


[1]Okay, so I’ve seen all of, like, six episodes of Doctor Who.  Maybe twelve at the most.  But pretty much everyone over at Slacktivist watches and discusses the show, so I feel like I have a pretty strong grounding in what it’s about.  Here’s the thing, though.  The atmospherics on the show can be fantastic.  The reason I watched it on the Fourth was because the night before I was watching the weeping angel episode and walked away thinking, “Holy shit, what a mind fuck.”  And I love a good mind fuck when it’s done right.

And then the Daleks show up.  Seriously, those things are slightly less frightening than R2-D2.  I mean, I’m guessing it’s one of those things where the Daleks showed up back in Series 1 in the ‘70s or something, and rolling trash cans seemed all, um, within budget.  But wow.  Couldn’t they have done what Star Trek did with the Klingons and just, y’know, brought newer, scarier, and less laughable Daleks out with just a hand wave?

Also, Karen Gillan is gorgeous.  Just thought I’d throw that out there, since I’m sure you all care.

[2]Man alive.  Now I’m one of those terrible appeasers that everyone hates on at Pharyngula.  Allow me to make this distinction: science is science, history is history, and religion is religion.  If science says something that goes against religion, teach the science.  If history says something that goes against religion, teach the history.  Period.  There should be no quarter given where truth is involved.  But if the religious folks want to tie themselves up in knots figuring out how to reconcile one with the other, let them.  I don’t so much care.

What it basically boils down to is this: many religious people are decent folks who just want everyone to live their lives and understand that there are people who disagree with them and it’s okay.  I’m cool with that.

[3]Of course, in my case that was one of the many data points on my long slide to non-Christianness.  If you can’t take Genesis literally, then you can’t take the story of Adam and Eve literally, then you can’t take the whole thing about sin entering the world through Adam and Eve literally.


[4]Mmmm, Woodford Reserve.  Still the only bourbon recommended to me by Stephen Fry.

[5]It’s really quite odd.  Let’s say that there’s something that’s going to happen that I’ve been excited about for weeks.  Months, even.  I have to leave at six to get there.  I take a nap and wake up at 5:30.  I’ll then spend the next ten or fifteen minutes having to convince myself to go, because for some reason I’ve awakened from the nap thinking, “I so totally don’t want to go do that thing.”

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