Friday, September 25, 2009

They Must Be Crackers

P. Z. Myers had a post on Pharyngula yesterday about the afternoon discussion he held in Fargo ND saying "My opening remarks were about being assertive atheists who challenge conventions and do things like desecrating crackers…", and then he commented on Catholics in the audience who expressed that they were offended. One can find examples of this kind of egocentric outrage any time a disregard for Christianity is expressed in the US (as in this later post).

They just can't shift their mental gears enough to understand that what they see as the "consecrated body of the Savior" is still just a cracker to anyone of a different belief. They think that because a priest said some words and made hand gestures over baked flour disks, everyone should perceive them as little chunks of human flesh that are part of their favorite person. A non-believer can do DNA testing, mass spectrometry, X-rays, fMRI's or satellite photos and still find nothing but flour and water. Unless one assumes that Catholics revere the Pillsbury Dough Boy, no evidence of a Savior can be found.

The point is that what is revered within a religion is perceived in a unique way by devotees of that religion, but for those outside that belief, these things are just mundane objects. Christians should understand this since it has been their attitude toward the religious objects of other religions for as long as there have been Xians. Missionaries have denigrated, defaced or destroyed religious objects of other people on every continent of the world (except, maybe Antarctica) and when the non-Xians rose up in outrage, the Xians would shrug and say, "What's the big deal? It's only a cracker."

Acts like Dr. Meyrs' "desecration" of a communion wafer need to occur to remind people that there are a lot of different views represented within the human population and one's own beliefs are no more valid than anothers. Most of the people that are outraged by the blasphemous acts of non-believers have themselves sneered at or desecrated what others believe to be holy. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Catholics should not be too surprised if a non-Catholic looks at a communion wafer and sees only a cracker, and those same Catholics should not be surprised by the outrage of Native Americans when something they revere is desecrated by ignorant or uncaring persons.

For way too long Xians in the US have had the attitude that their religious symbols are "the body of Christ" but everyone else's are just crackers. They need to learn that the trappings of their religion have no more value than anyone else's, and no less, but once that wafer is out of the hands of a believer, what ever special powers it possessed are gone and it reverts to cracker status and is not worthy of your outrage.

No comments: