November 11th, 2007

wart

I must go and see the beekeeper

Two totally different things I was thinking of the other day:

1. Is it just me, or are certain high-profile fundamentalist Christians doing more to undermine their own belief system than skeptics ever could? You'll get people like Jack Chick and the makers of hell houses, and apparently the writers of the Left Behind series as well, reducing the Protestant doctrine of salvation through faith alone to essentially just a mantra about Jesus dying for your sins. ("Yeah, sure, Jesus, I believe in you. Now gimme one o' them sweet halo-and-harp get-ups!") They'll say, "It's easy! All you have to do is believe!", but I don't think real, honest-to-God (literally, in this case) belief IS that simple. What's more, people who subscribe to this simplified version of Christianity will come up with big, long lists of things you're not supposed to do: use drugs, look at pornography, have sex outside marriage, swear, have abortions, read Harry Potter, participate in fantasy role-playing games, be gay, use the scientific method, etc. But then they'll say that any of these sins will be forgiven if you believe. Somehow I don't think "God is all-forgiving" is exactly the same as "God doesn't give a crap what you do as long as you believe the right thing." And, of course, if you don't do any of these sinful things but also don't believe in Jesus, then you're going to the same Hell you would if you shot up a school, looked at a Playboy, or determined the age of the Earth based on actual evidence. So aren't they kind of saying these sins don't even matter? When your religion is that narrow, what's the point of claiming you believe in the whole big, long Bible? Your whole belief system could be summed up in a few sentences.

2. I have no intention of seeing Bee Movie, but what I've seen in the previews spawned a rather nerdy complaint that an op-ed contributor to The New York Times also had. Isn't the sole purpose of male bees to mate with the queen? The workers are all female. I believe it's the same way with ants, and A Bug's Life (which I did see, and thought was pretty good overall) also had a male worker in its lead role. Yeah, I know they're just cartoons, and cartoons (like any fiction) can disregard reality at times. But I guess I figure that, if you're trying to sell one unrealistic idea (like, say, talking animals), the best way to maintain verisimilitude is to keep these animals realistic in all other respects.