Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In which Drek and Pat Robertson discover a degree of common ground.

Given my fairly strong religious views, it will come as no surprise that I'm not a fan of Pat Robertson. Nonetheless, I try to evaluate a persons statements and actions on a case by case basis. Because, you know, much as a broken clock is right twice a day,* a raging nutball may actually have good advice every now and then. Or, put differently, if Rush Limbaugh told me the sky was blue, I wouldn't argue the point. In any case, Pat recently responded to a letter in which a woman named Roni asked the following:

I'm new to being a true Christian and my fiance of 4 years has been with me through every step of my journey, but he hasn't always agreed with my because he's an atheist. What I think we need is a good middle ground. How do you think we can interact with each other peacefully when it comes to spiritual matters?

Now, this is an interesting and unfortunately difficult problem. Roni and her fiancee must really care about each other to remain engaged for four years** while at least one of them was experiencing significant emotional turmoil. Likewise, they seem to understand the need for compromise. On the other hand, to be blunt, if Roni is the kind of Christian who refers to herself (without irony) as a "true Christian," and who considers Pat Robertson to be a solid and reliable religious authority, then I'm not optimistic about her chances. Or, more accurately, I think she and her fiancee could work out some sort of agreement to disagree, but suspect that such a deal would come unhinged as soon as children entered the picture. One always wants to give kids the best start one can, which gets touchy when one partner thinks that includes saving them from eternal hellfire and the other thinks that aforementioned saving is errant nonsense. So what are Roni and her atheist*** would-be spouse to do? Well, I would say if they are mature enough and determined enough they ought to be able to reach some sort of agreement about the kids and do so before they get married. And if they can't reach such an agreement, then they should perhaps reconsider their marriage, difficult though that might be. And Robertson largely agrees with me, though he doesn't allow any room for the "maturely reach an agreement" stuff and just categorically denies the wisdom of the marriage. Sadly, however, he doesn't stop there. Watch the actual clip and see if you notice what I mean:

If you said, "He claims atheists are doing the work of satan," then, yes, you're right, that is what I mean.

So I guess my best advice to Roni is that she and her fiancee should look deeply into their own hearts to figure out what to do, and not rely on the advice of a crazy, bitter old man who can't distinguish between "disagrees" and "evil."

* Growing up in an age of digital clocks, my students tend to look confused when I use that expression.

** As a side note: If that's the engagement, I wonder how long the honeymoon is going to be?

*** I should probably observe here that I've seen people referred to as atheists by "true Christians" who I really wouldn't classify as atheists. For example, my wife is UU and while I wouldn't classify most UUs as atheist, I suspect Pat Robertson would. So, really, I actually wonder whether Roni's fiance is an atheist like me**** or just someone from a comparatively liberal denomination.

**** By which I mean a strong materialist atheist, not an asshole, although they could be that too.

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