Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The comedian on Caprica should be banned from theology


Jewish date:  9 ’Adhar 5770 (Parashath Teṣawweh).

Today’s holiday:  Feast of Polycarp (Roman Catholicism).

Worthy cause of the day:  “Demerit Walmart”.

Topic 1:  Caprica, in its latest episode, “Gravedancing”, continues throwing us scraps of theology, and the scraps are not all that appealing.  Once again we encounter the cliché of “polytheism good, monotheism bad”, specifically in the form of statements made by a comedian/talk show host who claims that God is a “moral dictator” and a “big destructo-god in the sky”.  These are cliché insults.  The former is a complaint about the notion of a deity holding us to a moral standard.  The alternative would be what?  That we can do whatever we want?  That we should be allowed to do whatever we want?  The comedian is clearly not a moral nihilist; he opposes the “anything goes” attitude of the virtual world and shows moral revulsion at the notion of creating virtual people.  The latter insult conjures the image of a overly violent god.  This is, in fact, the sort of cliché one invokes about the god of one’s opponents.  Your humble blogger is unaware of anyone who actually worships such a two-dimensional god; even Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, has benevolent aspects.  (She is a tender mother as well as a war goddess.)  Such petty pundit theology is a mental shortcut to avoid thinking about religious issues, not to truly understanding them.

Meanwhile, the writers seem to have put a lot of work into Tauron culture, filling in details and motives.  I increasingly feel that I may have to rewatch everything in the series so far to pick of items I have missed.  A 13-year-old Tauron boy is considered a man.  Taurons are marked with tattoos indicating their ancestry and acheivements.  And revenge seems to be a virtue.  How much of this is religious and not merely cultural is unclear and remains to be seen.

Topic 2:  Today’s coverage of anti-Semitism:  “Mossad Passport Affair: A Stick to Beat Israel?

Topic 3:  For today’s religious humor:  “wonders if i has evil twin??”:
Fortunately this sort of essentialism is only true in fiction.


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