So, I recently read about some Atheistic jackasses using a display on university grounds to insult the entirety of well…religion. Every religion. At the same time. They did a rather crap job of it mind you, but at least you can’t fault them for aiming low.
For those not in the know, The University of Wisconson’s Atheist and Humanist Association (or AHA) decided to make a faux-graveyard for “dead” Gods (i.e. everything that isn’t Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or Hindu in origin), and than make the implications that the “living” Gods of today share the same fate. The organization, I suspect, was a bit surprised when the entirety of Paganism had something to say about this. Loudly and frequently. After a few days of thinking on their display myself, I realized that, while I find them pretty crass and rude, they’re also laughable. Honestly, I can’t be bothered to be offended by this to any great degree.
Not, let me make this totally clear, out of apathy; the people responsible for this aren’t worthy of any passion or energy. This was not a calculated attack by insidious and clever villains; this was a couple of collegiate level douche-bags who think they know everything and, in almost the same breath, proved that they barely have the capacity to make a bloody sign. I bet they also read Ayn Rand and think she’s bloody brilliant*. These are intellectuals who couldn’t even both to fact check the things they’ve said. What can I say about them that their own lack of forethought doesn’t say better?
There were historical inaccuracies that could have been fact checked by doing anything more than one search on Wikipedia while drunk on Jagerbombs, they said modern Paganism “shouldn’t have been offended” for some reason**, and the graveyard is getting co-opted into a mass-polytheistic shrine. We’re talking full commitment to mediocrity here. Some people are saying blasphemy, and while that’s definitely an accurate word for what’s going on here, these people are too laughable for me to direct my anger at. Ritual work and devotional work in opposition of their pitiful demonstration will be done, but that’s one of the reasons I’m able to be cavalier; I have faith that our sincere devotion trumps their purposeful ignorance and willful rudeness.
I’m a little irked that there are people who would marginalize the Pagan spectrum of belief in an effort to demean the faiths of others, mind you. Acting like any given religion doesn’t exist in order to prove a point was, I thought, the technique of radical zealots. I mean, isn’t that the sort of gross generalization that Atheists and Humanists are supposed to be avoiding? Doesn’t that make them just as bad as the religions who they take the most issue with? Even so, they don’t phase me much. I am bothered about something, however, and it’s only tangentially relates to the actions of these crass and boorish fools.
You see, I find it wonderfully fitting that some people chose to use this impromptu graveyard as a massive shrine. This is a delightful example of a wonderful tradition; taking bullshit and turning into diamonds. Give our Gods tombstones and tell us they’re dead? Jokes on you, buddy! It’s a shrine now! You demonstration did nothing but give us open air church the size of a football field! We are getting theism all of your idiotic, ill-conceived, ill-researched protest! Keep it up? We win! Take it down? We win! That sort of win-win situation will put a smile on my face every time.
Amusing observations aside though, why did the AHA build us a mass polytheistic shrine? More to the point, why didn’t we?
This wasn’t our goal, our creation, or our idea. It was nothing more than an opportunity to co-opt the idiocy of some frat boys that were using google image search and a printer. I find that incredibly concerning. The blasphemy issued by people who failed to do anything of merit did more to create a worship space than many of us have. The irony of taking their dross and making something beautiful out of it makes me smile, but it begs a question; why weren’t we just making something beautiful for ourselves and for our respective faiths?
What bothers me is that they created more for us than we have. Chew on that for a while. See how it tastes. I certainly have…and I don’t like the flavor of it at all.
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*Spoilers: She is an idiotic hack, with a joke of a philosophy. So no. Not brilliant.
**My suspicion is that Pagans shouldn’t make a fuss is because they were trying to make a statement to Muslims, Jews, and Christians…and were probably surprised that they instead insulted everyone who has believed in a Pagan religion. More proof that these kids are as goofy and pointless as clown shoes.
***The majority of Pagans I knew, at that time, were huge stoners. Nothing like paranoia and the munchies to make people come up with some extremely bizarre theories.