Problems With Youth, Thoughts on Dogs' Souls, and Conversion Tactics Revisited
Some Seriously Adorable Pooches
Plight of Humanity is Worse than We Realized (Or Maybe It's Just Me?)
Disclaimer: Here follows one's attempt to caution the curious, enlightened members of society who through wisdom have transcended all human foibles. Following is an article expressing the utterly unenlightened viewpoint stemming from the writer's bias, prejudice and ignorance. If you are looking to read this article in something of a serious manner, you will be disappointed. If you are hoping to find an expression of some insight, you will come away lacking. If you have held onto the grand notions of the illustrious human race, this article will present the contrary. Herein is crudity, vulgarity and all manner of atrocity being relayed by the unhappy realization that life doesn't always conform to what one thinks should be. And, if you are in any means serious about the pursuit of religion or God under the branch of Christianity, turn away. Because valid reason exists in regard to the heavy editing of history specific to that of churches, or, worst case scenario, the complete lack of discussion of such a troubled history. As for the easily offended, this is your last chance to turn back. Because it is my assessment that no ism yet exists to fully identify the problems as recorded in the essay that follows.
Second Disclaimer: I feel compelled to state that this article is inspired in part by much of the negative coverage of Christianity in the news and so I would like to dedicate this article to the people who are responsible for such acts as e-mailing hate-mail to those who are of a different sexual persuasion, picketing soldier's funerals, and other heinous acts done in the name of religion.
The Problem With Today's Youth
Everyone has some reason or other about what is intrinsically wrong with today’s youth. Well, as someone who has only a couple hundred hours of youth left in me, I’ll go ahead and give my analysis on the age old topic of “what is wrong with today’s youth.” My analysis shall be based on my experience because while the world thinks something happened when Copernicus discovered that the earth was not the center of the universe, he somehow failed to miss the true analysis. I, a singular member of this human race, do not revolve around the sun, dear Copernicus, but around myself (I realize this isn’t the PC stance to take, but honesty rarely is PC). Perhaps, my dear sir, I too am a walking example of what is wrong with today’s youth. But, hey, I own my Narcissistic tendencies and for that matter, I think everyone has some form of Narcissus living within. (Mother Theresa glares down at me. I think not, dear child). Do we not own mirrors to stare at and perfect our beautiful, vulnerable form? And yes, dear sir, that mirror can also be symbolic. I am, of course, quite literary in my use of language.
Now to the question: what is wrong with today’s youth? I’m just going to go ahead and say it: we are to some extent more concerned with puppies and fluffy creatures than the human race. Now for the examples to prove this instance. I still remember sitting in my world literature class discussing Heart of Darkness and then watching Apocalypse Now, which is based on this book. Of course, we had the mandatory, politically correct discussion about what made the film and book racist. We were politely outraged at the once again misrepresented natives -- a theme that seemed, to be quite pathetic, too common at that point in our studies to raise the true outrage that we no doubt should have had. To be fair, there’s only so many times you can summon the pure outrage at this kind of injustice as seen in literature when this form of injustice marches longer than the Macy’s Day Parade across the realm of literature. At some point, this horrible travesty becomes, unfairly, desensitized. Inevitably in our discussion of the film and book, though, we came around to discussing the puppy that happened to be in Apocalypse Now. It was at this point that the conversation become filled with the impassioned worry for the fate of this puppy, the nervous comments on the puppy’s fate, and our own collective horror at the mistreatment of this puppy. Yes, in the midst of discussing this very controversial, very serious work, we somehow became more invested in the fate of a puppy than in the fate of a group of people who were being marginalized and misrepresented in the fine literary tradition of white imperialism. Again. Yet, maybe it's not just us? Try googling "what happened to the puppy in apocalypse now". Strange, that. Ah, humanity.
Now, if that were the only instance in which we showed the kind of horrible foible that would leave even the most sensitive human rights worker somewhat abashed, I could easily cast it aside as a singular instance that does not in any way reflect on the youth of today. Sadly, this is not the case. Because in another literature class, we were reading the very serious book Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. While I don’t remember the scene exactly, this book had another moment in which some kind of dog torturing was discussed. I don’t remember if it was theoretical or actual, but I do remember sitting and discussing it with a bunch of people *cough* freshmen who were still very determined to show that yes, they were above silly, petty ignorance. Again, we expressed our outrage at the fate of the dog, the annoyance at the mistreatment of the dog and other similar statements that probably could have been easily synthesized down to a five-year-old’s whining: But mommy, people shouldn’t be cruel to puppies! It’s wrong.
Again, this could just have been another instance in which one example is blown out of proportion, you don’t know our history, let me tell you about my father, yada yada yada it all began when…. Except that the professor than had the sacred duty of pointing out to us that in all his years of teaching Slaughterhouse Five to young people *cough* freshman, someone always, without fail, remarked with outrage on the mistreatment of the dog. People were generally moved by the horrible treatment of the dog, theoretical or otherwise. And this discussion, he remarked, happens in the context of a book in which hundreds of thousands of people are dying and whole groups are being exterminated? Do we really care more about the one dog than our own human species? What, for that matter, is wrong with us crowd of “intellectuals?” cough cough….freshmen?
Now, while this trend of caring more about dogs and puppies than the human race as revealed through the study of literature is something of which I am deeply and appropriately ashamed of (but mom, puppies shouldn’t be treated like that!, the id cries), I actually must make a further fool of this grand society in which we live and state that I don’t think this trend applies to just the foolish youth ("We Were Only Freshmen" plays in the background). In fact, I’m going to point the finger from my lovely glass home and state that this unhappy trend is also something that venerable old ones share. Take for instance that some dogs now have the option of getting braces. Or the stores catering solely to upscale dog eating. Or dog clothes. Oh, and by the way, just how many people are dying of hunger every day while we feed the pooch those strips that dogs don’t know aren’t bacon?
Now, granted, in the country of America, it’s a given that you have a certain amount of freedom in the way you live. And to be fair, I do tend to get rather emotional myself when I see Jewel’s commercial about the mistreatment of animals (specifically dogs as I’m more an anti-cat person). In fact, it’s a bit embarrassing how emotional I get sometimes about pooches. But really, let me tell you, growing up as the friendless misunderstood only child, it’s quite natural to start relegating your pet pooch to something more like sister status. My dog, I think, was more human than those wankers (yes, I'm using a Britishism because I'm something of an anglophile and have been watching too much Dr. Who) who thought it would be fun to take cheap shots at me and make my life a living hell. But then, maybe karma decided to start early for me? Or maybe that means a trip to the therapist, but I have found that the trip to the fridge is cheaper. <grins>
The Often Secret Debate Among Religious People Who Love Dogs
Okay, what does all this stuff about dogs have to do with religion <shudders in horror>? Is the title of the article a misnomer? Not quite. You see, there’s this funny thing about religious people and trying to find out which group’s doctrine you fit in best with. Because while there are a lot of serious ills and injustices perpetuated by people of religious identity in the name of doing what they think is right (sometimes, religious people have that tendency of saying such and such is right so they don’t have to deal with that little voice calling BS) and while the sheer number of denominations under Protestant Christianity can be quite overwhelming, that business of religion can be quite important at times for some people, for reasons that are quite serious and touchy.
However, the business of religion is not without its humorous foibles. In fact, if one is to insist on maintaining a religious identity, one might consider getting used to the realization that a religious identity doesn’t mean more enlightenment, just more opportunities for ones’ foibles to be shown again. And again. And again. But then, maybe that’s just me? Now invariably, in the business of religious searching, you come across one valid reason for supporting a certain sect found in the impassioned, age old debate: do dogs have souls? Now, let me tell you, there’s something incredibly funny about religious people and this question. Because a religious person (some, not all thankfully) can talk about the potential for thousands of people going to hell every day without batting an eye, but when you try to insinuate that that religious person’s dog is going to purgatory, things get rather dicey. Even worse: the pastor of some denomination insists by the good book that dogs have no souls. Well, that usually leads to the trend known as “shopping” in which one realizes that this sect of Christianity is not quite up to one’s standard. Not that a religious person will ever admit to that level of shallowness. <grins>
Recently, I have come across the rather “serious” dialog between two groups of Christians giving expression to the intensity of this debate, as depicted in this link that is now necessary to read to understand the following comments.
Now, I’m not going to comment on all the wars that were fought between the two groups or the continuing problems that the two groups have with each other, especially in some countries. That kind of discussion has been done again and again by the serious intellectuals who are NOT freshmen. But such a conversation as seen above between two groups is worth discussing in terms of one’s thoughts about the ever complex, serious question of man’s search for God and what that means for those who are in all earnestness attempting to win souls to their particular brand of religion. Now, to my horror, I hit upon the shatteringly diabolical thought (thus possibly revealing my dubious past life, serious psychological issues, and intense need to buy another fridge) following the above conversation: evangelists were going about the business of winning souls all wrong! Because for half a second, I almost thought about that business of conversion again, not for any love of self or desire for heaven, but on the basis of being able to think that my now dead “sister” – a beautiful Samoyed named Princess who acted her name even while defecating – was in the clouds somewhere strumming on her own version of a harp and barking her version of Alleluia to the Divine that was, like me, anti-cat. And, among pet lovers, who doesn’t yearn for their pet to attain a happy after life? Oh, the shame that is human! Well, maybe just the shame of religious people? Or maybe that’s just me?
Perhaps another trip to the fridge is in order? In any case, anyone who has ever had the privilege of studying church history specifically has the ability to recognize the capacity for the sheer idiocy that can be perpetuated by people while under the guise of searching and imitating the noble Divine, who, politically incorrect though it might be, is quite anti-Cat. Consider this following example in which an intense theological debate was held concerning how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Or the guys who even cut their hair as prescribed by a certain passage in the Old Testament and became known as the bowl cut group? Or the branch of Christianity that came up with the thought that it was a sin for a man to undress while a picture of a naked woman might be in the vicinity? Don’t you just want to transport those guys to the Golgotha where that history changing event on which their religion is based happened? But then, what do I know? Maybe I’m no better for having sat in a class and found myself annoyed at the mistreatment of dogs while more serious issues are at stake?
Why Televangelists Are Really Just Old Hats
In any case, there’s this part of church history that played a major factor causing the great split of 1517. This event came to a head with the protesting of the very serious, very real injustices going on in the church as recognized by Martin Luther. Now, depending on who you talk to, you’ll get different accounts on the great split and Martin Luther’s 95 Theses … from one group comes the insistence that this form of protest is just a form of immature, childish whining (he’s just not being a man! Real men of God put up with some level of injustice as a form of their spiritual maturity!) while the other group insists Martin Luther’s some great kind of hero (his anti-Semitic remarks are completely in line with the tradition of religious people being complete wankas! Don’t you read the Bible?). Now, for those who have never studied church history (aka the history of people doing really dumb things for the anti cat Divine being that is allegedly all loving) surrounding the split, this next part reveals the sad reality that televangelists weren't anything new. In fact, they were once preceded by those selling indulgences, which is a large part of what Martin Luther is protesting in his 95 theses. Indulgences were sold, theoretically, to speed up the process of getting one’s soul freed from purgatory. They could also be purchased on behalf of family members too (Sorry kid, I can’t feed you today. I’ve got to bust Aunt Margie out of Purgatory.)!
In fact, the most famous indulgence seller, John Tetzel, even had a little rhyme to help people remember their duty to helping out the lost souls wandering around Purgatory. It went, “Every time a coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs!” Imagine growing up with that kind of rhyme, though, to be fair, it’s quite catchy. And it’s not like children today ever sing a really disturbing song about the Black Death. (“Ring around the Rosie” plays in the background). Now you know the theoretical reason for the selling of indulgences, can you extrapolate by modern example the real reason? Anyone who studies church history knows from this vantage point that the selling of indulgences was done primarily to buffer the coffers of the church. Not that this tradition has continued today in some form, of course. (“We Were Only Freshmen” plays in the background). And, to be fair, who are we to judge? Back then, there were a lot of fat prioresses to feed, for crying out loud!
Now, for a bit of rambling away from the main point which is taking a bit longer to get to than I at first imagined. If you’ve ever wanted to study some humorous bit of literary genius ripping on the hypocrisy as perpetuated by the church in the medieval period….heck, even if you just want to laugh, you owe it to yourself to read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. In such a work, you meet the prioress who is a very dainty eater. And very, very fat. Obese, even. In studying this work in a college setting, I was able to listen to a medievalist tell us that one scholar, being rather curious about this fat prioress in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, decided to dig up the bones of prioresses from that time period to see if they were fat. And what did the scholar find? Did the scholar see that this religious sect were gaunt? No, in fact, they were by and large quite obese. Good to know that money spent on the cause of soul saving went to plumping up prioresses. But hey, no room for judgment. How many people, when given money today, wouldn’t head to some place in their desire to plump themselves up? But then, no one is suggesting here that Americans have something of a problem with obesity.
Herein cometh the main point of this apalling article: In a society where the vexing trend of televangelists exists, would it not be better to try a new tactic? Just how many people would convert if they thought that it wasn’t their own soul they were saving, but that of their pooch? Just imagine the killing it would make! Free dogs souls with fifty dollar donation! Or, if a certain religious organization were really desperate, they could even have a three step process: giving a deceased pet a soul, putting that soul in purgatory, and then busting such a pooch out of purgatory. All for the lowly fee of three hundred dollars! And hey, if we’re the kind of society that can buy braces for our pooches’ teeth and treat them for cancer, then maybe we owe it to ourselves to consider the spiritual welfare of such pooches as well. But then, maybe I just need to head to fridge for some more plumping action?
Comments 10 comments
the Bombing of Dresden
The Much Commented Clip of the Puppy in Discussion
Why Chaucer is Still Awesome
Yet Another Pitch for a Dead White Guy's Work
Selling of Indulgences Set to Music!
A Thorough, Though By No Means Complete, Look at Apocalypse Now
This link discuses the 1979 version of Apocalypse Now, has an explanation of characters, themes, motifs and the whole gamut of literary discussion pieces as related to that film.
Just In Case You Missed It: The Link from Above
- Pete - Battle Of The Church Signs
Rocks Have Souls Too. Need I say more?
More Discussion on Slaughterhouse Five
- KURT VONNEGUT: Slaughterhouse-Five
KURT VONNEGUT: Slaughterhouse-Five. Conveying yet more discussion on Vonnegut's work. Will the participants be more enlightened than us? Who knows? So it goes.
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