Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
I suggest holding a vigil at the dump to see if the host rises again after three days after having a nail put through it. That might help substantiate transubstantiation.
From this whole debacle, one can call into question the idea that the “information age” as we so call today’s era, will put an end to superstition, prejudice, and popular misconceptions.Rather, everyone’s prejudices have been (happily) confirmed and remain in place. All you have to do is read the comments section of any blog covering this issue to realize that.Secondly, I would like to know how much hate mail and/or death threats PZ has actually gotten. I have a feeling that PZ was not the first person that most of those hate mailers had sent hate mail to.The internet allows us to do so many things that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. It also gives us access to stories that would otherwise only be local news. I think that if it weren’t for the internet, the communion issue in Florida wouldn’t have made the splash it did. And PZ wouldn’t have gotten involved, and if he did, wouldn’t have gotten the volume of hate mail, and this wouldn’t have erupted like it did.I think that there are some who are easily inflamed, some who try to be inflamed, and some who just look to pick a fight with others, even if its only verbal. It is these kinds people who the internet allows to find something inflammatory, and throw more gasoline into the fire. That is what happened in this case from all sides, and what happens most of the time on the internet.Basically, the internet lets every tiny situation that should be over in a day turn into a flame war, and everyone’s prejudices are satisfied.What are those prejudices? Mostly along the lines of “the other guy” being intolerant, very easily enraged, primitive, preferring name calling and distortion over reasoned debate, etc. All of those prejudices can be and are applied to all different types of people, because that’s what we see on the internet. When you say or do something that you obviously know will provoke people, don’t be surprised when you succeed. Not only that, but thanks to the internet, people who will react spitefully, but live far away, will find you, many even look for something to get mad at, and thus you get lots and lots of spiteful, vitriolic responses, the sheer number of which is used to justify making generalizations.Finally, now you don’t have to go through the effort of stamping a letter and going down to the post office, things which cause many an irritated reader or viewer to opt not to write an angry letter and get on with their lives. With the internet, its just type and click.So all these things, in my view, are downsides to the internet, and help to spread prejudice, rather than counter it.On a side note, one of my high school history teachers told us once about a professor who published a piece of work which postulated that American culture can be derived from four regions in England. He later recieved death threats (by snail mail), that turned out to have come from college towns, and that the FBI had never before encountered death threats with footnotes. So in other words, when someone’s conventional wisdom or very closely held view is challenged, anyone can be inflamed and in their blind rage do something that embarrases everyone else who shares said challenged view.-Jim
This kind of publicity seeking gets us nowhere. “Ooo, I am such a bad boy! I desecrated a wafer!!”
Isn’t passing the host through one’s alimentary tract and defecating it out one’s rear end enough of a desecration? And Catholics do that every Sunday. Check out the Jesus and Mo comic online, the last four are all about the host desecration incident. I liked Mo’s idea of putting the host in a jar with airholes and a little piece of lettuce besides it. Much better than putting a nail through it which has been way overdone before.Mo in one cartoon turns a glass of stout beer into Celine Dion, without of course changing the physical aspects of the beer.
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