Ann Telnaes, whom I’ve always appreciated for her crystal clear, light-hearted caricatures, tackles religion as justification for slavery and rape.

She doesn’t need to submit a portfolio for the Pulitzer. This comic says it all: she’s a master.

The Leftovers trailer

The pitch meeting for this show was hopefully as simple as “We’re gonna make Left Behind but actually be artistic and smart and realistic and good.” Hell, I want this show to start a religious war between its audience and Left Behind readers. That would be so zeitgeisty.

“Oops I Chatted About Religion With Forward-Thinkers” by Brian Regan

Last night I engaged in a discussion about religion at a little get-together on a roof. Yes, dangerous, I know, but I was bored and I had faith in my conversation partners to be interesting without any trouble. How foolish I was..

Here’s my spiel: As of now, I am finished believing in religion as a concept. While I know that it does good things for individuals and communities— in the end, religion does more harm and has done more harm than any other force in the world. That’s why I refuse to participate in or lend my own belief to a system that is, in the end, bad for the world.

That said, I will NEVER tell anyone what they believe is wrong (durrr i’m so forward thinking.) Nor will I ask someone to defend their beliefs to me. I may press for more information and ask questions about one’s beliefs, but that’s as far as I go.

So why am I bothered? Well, I delivered my spiel that you read above, and then several things happened.

  1. One guy, we’ll call him Knitcap, promptly tried to explain how religion had done good things for him. His tone was already defensive, and it showed that he didn’t listen to what I had said. I didn’t need proof that religion works for individuals. I just wanted to hear his thoughts, and he offered them to me in a way that tried to contradict my beliefs. (He didn’t prescribe to a specific religion but he believed that everything was here not on accident, but by design.) So basically he engaged in what had driven me away from religion in the first place. wow sir you are the same as the radical christians you would no doubt rally against
  2. A second participant, Jacket, then took what Knitcap was saying and used logic to “prove” the existence of a greater design, but through the idea that since all physics on its most theoretical level is random, that there must be something else that made all this randomness work. Something about this didn’t jive with Knitcap, and the two started arguing over it. Soon after, it devolved into a very convoluted explanation that I tuned out from, given that it was just those two trying to prove their own beliefs over and over until someone got bored or distracted. Again, basically why I am finished with religion: you could learn more from someone if you just listened to them and synthesized it with your own take on the world, so why argue?
  3. At some point in the discussion, I think I ventured that this arguing wasn’t getting anywhere .. And I was handwaved away as this just being “a conversation,” where people were sharing thoughts. If I haven’t made it clear yet, it wasn’t just a conversation— there was a very specific tone being used and content being spoken that indicated that there was no free exchange of opinions, but instead a battle.
  4. As the real meat of the argument was dying down, I offered a thought that I’ve had before that I love: that maybe there is a specific something in our bodies responsible for our consciousness, and after death that specific something is reused in all matter and maybe eventually someday our consciousness will be awakened again after death. Both Jacket and Knitcap tried to prove to me how this IDEA, completely separate from what I BELIEVE, was wrong. They took what I said and assumed they could prove something about their own beliefs by breaking it down. Allow me this: how dare they.
  5. Finally, as I was saying my goodbyes for the evening, (thirty minutes after our conversation resolved,) Knitcap had the audacity to yell after me “Believe in God!” Yes, his tone was joking, but it continued to prove what I had thought all along: this was not “just a conversation,” but he was trying to force something on me. He thought I was fundamentally wrong and there was something he could say that would prove it.

I guess what I learned from the entire experience is that you can believe in a global consciousness transmitted through a flying spaghetti monster to all of humanity and still be a huge dick about it. I hate hippies.