Update: Dan J, in his total awesomeness, managed to find a link to a PDF of the Cthuluh tract at the artist's web site... Thanks Dan. I would also like to heartily recommend giving his latest post a read - I can't help but be terribly pleased to find that someone else came up with a rather more "profane" rant than I did - and a very good one at that. He makes several points that I will delve into at some point in the relatively near future - I am more than a little fucking tired of this bullshit notion that we should accept dangerous behaviors and decision making from people, that we wouldn't accept under any other circumstances, simply because there is religion involved.
As Dan so eloquently puts it; Fuck Them!!!
It is terribly amusing to me, that at the same time I managed to get into an argument with someone about Tiamat and the fact that Cthuluh is really cause for far more concern, because frankly Cthuluh wouldn't kick Tiamat's ass - h'd jst fckng eat hr, I also noted this delicious little tidbit posted at Pharyngula. I found it while perusing a few blogs that were involved in the crushing of my hopes for Canadian healthcare. I have a rather dark sense of humor, so I thought it was more than a little amusing. But when I was talking about it with my dearest Juniper, I realized that there is an element to the humor that one is likely to miss, if they never experienced Chick Tracts when they were a child. In a most unfortunate turn, it seems that the old tracts aren't available online and the new ones aren't quite on a par with the ones I was exposed to as a child, but I did find a couple that provide a decent taste. "The Beast" shows a common theme that runs through many of these tracts, providing up with a glimpse of what we can expect in these "end times." There were a lot of scenes that showed us what hell was like, showed Satan as a deceiver and even several that talked about specific demons and types of demons.
Juniper just didn't find the Cthuluh tract nearly so amusing at the end - it is, I will grant, rather disturbing. But honestly, it is not the least bit more disturbing than a lot of the Chick tracts are and were even moreso when I was growing up. And when I was four, five and six, I read Chick tracts all the time. There were scads of them at church and I happened to be rather adept at ferreting about in the sorts of places they got stored. They were comics, which are just lovely fun for a child and no one thought anything of seeing any of us kids reading these abominations. Never mind the demons and souls and brutal destruction of life and property - it was all for the greater biblical good of raising good Christian children. It was also a hell of a indoctrination tool. And it is ever so useful for a small child to get a headstart in understanding demonology.
During this same conversation, Juniper and I got to discussing my parochial school experience - it actually came up when I casually mentioned being paddled by the principle fairly regular like. It occurred to her that this was a very good expression of this concept of arationality that I have been on about, since I first noted it's use by that albino gorilla, John Wilkins. Because I think it's important to recognize that a great deal of creationist and general religious thinking falls outside the purview of the rational/irrational dichotomy - though my opinion about the value of that understanding would probably differ fairly significantly from John's. So picture a bit of my life, if you will and see just how irrational my thinking was as a child and how irrational much of my adult life has been...
Fast forward to the third grade - I have been steeped in such brilliance as those older Chick Tracts. I am firmly entrenched in the terrorizing Belief that my dad and other people I love quite dearly are bound for eternal torment in hell, unless they accept my god in their lives. I am already a "Royal Ranger," the scout group that is part of the Pentecostal, fundamentalist church my mom and I are attending. And now I am getting set to start school at the same church. Without five days a week of elementary school, I am spending the vast majority of my time in this church. I'm in the choir, I am there on Weds for Royal Rangers, I am often there on Sat, for events involving both and there are a lot of activities happening throughout the summer. And now I am going to be there for school. Where I will learn some academics - and a whole lot more of the religious nonsense - six, often seven days a fucking week.
I was rather cleverer than the average bear, no question. But all the cleverness in the world is for naught, when all that is going in is filtered through rather extreme dogma. I was, at one point, taught that intellectualism was another religion - much like evolution - a tool of Satan. I was taught that I needed to focus all of that intellectual acuity on things that fostered my faith and the faith of others. My dad ran a strong counterpoint to the notion that focusing much of my intellectual acumen on anything not within the purview of my faith was wrong. But that didn't stop me from developing some rather deep seated shame - shame that would ease up from the recesses of my mind, to make me rather frustrated with myself - possibly even ashamed of myself, whenever I allowed my intellect to be wasted on anything that didn't bring glory to my god. After all, God had given me this intellect - how dare I ever waste it on the world...
Chris Mooney wonders, in his reply to me, why the realm of moderate faith isn't a reasonable place for fundies like I was to end up - at least for a while. Why I shouldn't, in spite of my anger, recognize that this is better for that person than being a fundie. Well here's the problem with that...
I have always been an insatiably curious person - I was curious before my infant eyes could clearly view the world around me, I was curious when my brother taught me to read at two, I was curious and I was clever. I was also pervasively lied to for many years - lies made no less egregious because those inundating me with them believed the lies themselves. I was taught to be ashamed of too much curiosity, unless that curiosity was firmly focused on the dogma I was constantly and consistently hammered with - day in and day out. I was taught that the majority of the humanity that I was commanded to love, were going to suffer for all of eternity in hell, because they didn't worship the right god, didn't worship the right god properly or didn't worship any god at all. I spent subsequent decades trying to make reality fit within the confines of dogma - tried to shift the dogma to accommodate reality - became increasingly desperate to find some way to hold onto my Faith, because that was right and critically important.
Please, if you don't see it as such - please explain to me how that experience of mine wasn't child abuse that led to decades of hell. Drug abuse, self-loathing and unrelenting depths of despair, masked by extremes of sensory overload from sex, drugs, writing and music.
More importantly, why should I sit back and pretend that this moderation that Chris speaks so highly of is any better for some of those people, than it was for me. At least when I was a fundie, I was somewhat content. I wasn't desperate to make it all make sense, because it made sense - I didn't need to question, because the answers were there and beyond those answers was minutia that I could parse easily, through prayer and study. Yes, I was occasionally angry and ashamed by my inability to focus everything on my god - but it was unquestionably easier than the suffering of the last eighteen to twenty years of my life.
I am certain that there are many people who are more than happy to live in that realm of moderate faith - I don't really care. Because for many people, that moderate faith is merely fundamentalism tainted and broken by doubts. A desperate place where the reality is an increasingly desperate need to make the absolutely incompatible weave into the fresh whole cloth of a coherent worldview.
I am for helping them, helping people like me - period. If some moderates and fundies get hurt, angry or offended along the way - well honestly, I'm not even really sorry about it. Both groups and those in between and outside on the fringes foster an environment of absolutely hellish agony.
That is what I am combating and will continue to combat. And I am not going to apologize for it - no one who fostered my personal hell has, or has even shown any remorse for my experience there.