Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grated Saccharine

In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
was looked on as something shocking.
Now heaven knows, anything goes.
Good authors too who once knew better words,
now only use four letter words writing prose,
anything goes.
The world has gone mad today,
and good´s bad today, and black´s white today,
and day´s night today
©1936 Cole Porter

I hadn't realised it until I spoke to my friend Mary in OZ tonight. I hadn't realized that being an atheist really didn't mean that we couldn't, shouldn't 'believe'.

Now I understand that we atheists are a naive lot, who have little understanding of the complications caused by the inter-faith medley that lies at the very heart of some modern day people who believe in g-d. As well as in the very hearts of those of us who do not.

I was talking to Mary about Bob Dylan and his "Christmas in the Heart" album. "How can he be Jewish, raising his children in the faith, and believe in baby Jesus?" I asked in my simplistic atheist way.

"Why not?" she replied. "Maybe he believes in both." "He can believe that baby Jesus was simultaneously not the Messiah, and that he was the messiah?" I countered.

Santa in Manhattan
"Why not?" repeated Mary.

Mary is Catholic - a religion that has embraced a number of seemingly contradictory positions for over a thousand of years. But wasn't this going too far?

"It just seems strange, a Robert Zimmerman singing 'Little Town of Bethlehem'," I persevered.

"I know a Sarah Zimmerman," said Mary in a typical Mary non sequitur.

"Yeah and what's she?" I was foolish enough to ask.

"Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish". "Oh, she's also a Zionist," she added.

"HaHa," I replied thinking it was a joke. It wasn't.

I was starting to feel I'd just failed religion 101. I decided to move on, put on Dylan's, "Christmas in the Heart" and drink several glasses of Kosher wine.

But I can never leave well enough alone. "Is Sarah a supporter of Hezbollah?" I asked.

Static on the line. "Yeah and I'm in an op shop [thrift shop], so I have to talk softly," replied Mary.

"I'd LOVE something from an Australian op shop," I said, changing the subject. "Something like an animal knitted by a grandma."

"I just found a badly knitted frog and its got a bow-tie. But it's $1.95, too expensive and then there's the postage."

"Just the thing," I said.

"But too expensive," she insisted.

"OK already yet, I gotta go," I cut in.

"And I hope the other people in the op shop think you are MEAN!" I growled.

They already think I'm crazy," moaned Mary.

"They aren't far wrong," I said. I was beginning to think I should be counting rosary beads, lighting a Minora and offering rice to Shiva et al.

I remember when life was simple, when us atheists didn't, or have to, confront 23 religions in one person. Maybe it has something to do with multiculturalism, or non-partisan democracy.

Then my friend Maggie called and reminded me of Christmas decorations back home and how most mangers don't have marsupials in them. But that's obvious. They are probably all Zionists.


Anonymous said...

Yep, it's hard to talk to some people. Wonder why they are so religious?
BTW, that's a bad quote at the head. Should be Cole Porter - he was much smarter than Frank Sinatra

tim said...

Cole Porter it is! Don't know if Frank Sinatra wrote any songs at all--If he did they would probably be sort of misogynist/power tripping ditties .
BTW, Atheism is a belief system too. It even has fanatics and fundamentalists!

Grahame said...

Atheist fanatics? How many atheists have blown themselves up in order to further cause of international atheism? Kate, the problem is that religion is irrational at its core. That's why Bob can hold conflicting views in his head at the same time.

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

Thanks for the Cole Porter info guys. I have now correctly attributed him as the song's composer.

Anonymous said...

aetheist fanatics? hitler, stalin, pol pot, mao - did they do it not in the name of god - dunno but they mostly enjoyed knocking of the religious in particular.

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