Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Do deities take attendance?


Jewish date:  12 Siwan 5770 (Parashath BeHa‘alothekha).

Today’s holidays:  Feast Days of Venerable Bede, Gregory VII and Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Stalin (Church of the SubGenius—and I have no idea what they are thinking), Head of the Forerunner (Greek Orthodox Christianity), Integrity Day (Scientology—and I am aware of the irony).

Today’s topic:  Last night’s episode of The Big Bang Theory, “The Lunar Excitation”.  This clip deals a bit with theology:

Dr. Sheldon Cooper has an agreement with his mother, a serious (probably evangelical and definitely creationist) Christian, to attend church once a year.  His blind date, Amy Farrah Fowler, while having no problem with the notion of a god, objects to the notion of a deity “who takes attendance”.  And Amy has a point.  Your humble blogger is not aware of any religion in which the only thing which matters is showing up for services.  Religions typically expect their members to do specific things, both in terms of morality and ritual, outside of houses of worship.  If you think going to services once or twice a year is all you need to keep your god happy with you, please check with an appropriate clergy-person and verify this is actually so.

Also notable about this episode:  Our culture normally assumes that romantic love and sexual intercourse go hand-in-hand, to the extent that the first may be used to justify the second.  (I am not making up that last clause.  I have heard people justify homosexual behavior on the basis of love.  This is really the wrong way to do it, given that any prohibited relationship, including incest and bestiality, could be rationalized if the participants are romantically attracted.)  However, some people (asexuals) feel romantic love without any desire to engage in sexual intercourse.  Sheldon and Amy both appear asexual, but are quickly attracted to each other.  If this relationship lasts, this may be the first asexual romance in the history of television.


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