Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

No Corpus Christi in Texas

Timothy Kincaid

March 27th, 2010

corpus christiIn 1997, playwright Terrence McNally wrote Corpus Christi. The play is a Christ tale, not intended to revise the historical and theological Jesus, but to present a parallel adapted to a more current time wherein Joshua, the Christ figure, and his disciples confront societal rejection and internal conflicts in ways that are reminiscent of, but not identical to, those recorded in the Gospels.

Christ tales are not uncommon. Nor do they generally generate controversy. For example, while C.S. Lewis denied that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is an allegory (smart him), it is clearly a Christ tale, and one which has come to be revered by Christians of all denominations. When the Waldon/Disney film was released in 2005, religious reviewers praised the production and churches organized viewings.

But McNally introduced one element in his tale that has resulted in protests, death threats, and even a fatwa. While Christians could handle an animal Christ figure, they were horrified that McNally’s Joshua and his disciples are gay. And they have fought nearly every production of the play.

Corpus Christi (latin for “body of Christ”) is set in the 1950s in the Texas town where McNally was raised, Corpus Christi. So it is only fitting that the latest flap over the play come from Tarleton State University in Texas.

In Tarleton’s advance directing course, students each select a play and produce an abbreviated workshop production. John Jordan Otte, a gay Christian, selected McNally’s play. And the Earth went spinning off it’s orbit, the stars crashed from the sky, and the seas rose up and drowned millions. Or so you would think from the public reaction.

In came the letters and the demands that the school ban this student from blaspheming. Protests were organized and the president of the university wrote an op-ed to both denounce the play and express its limitations (Star Telegram):

The university does not endorse the play.

The play is not a university-sponsored production in the Fine Arts series at Tarleton.

The play is a project for a class. It is not intended for the public any more than a student’s math assignment.

The performance is part of the student’s project. It is not open to the general public. The audience includes only the class members and relatives invited to attend.

The play is a class assignment in an advanced directing course. Students were allowed to pick any play to produce an abbreviated workshop performance.

Direct costs associated with the production are paid for by the student director.

The actors are volunteers, and no student is required to be in the play.

Any student in the class who finds the material objectionable will not be required to attend.

President Dottavio called the play “offensive, crude and irreverent” and said it had “no artistic or redeeming quality”. He mad it clear that were it not for that pesky First Amendment, he’d put an end to it. And to further discourage viewing, the production was rescheduled and attendance was restricted.

The production called “Corpus Christi” was to be performed, at the school in Stephenville, at 4 p.m. Saturday.

A news release provided Thursday to The Associated Press says the student-produced play will now start at 8 a.m. Saturday. A private audience of invited guests and relatives of the cast will be the only people allowed to watch the play, the school said.

But that was not adequate for the Lieutenant Governor, who apparently is a complete idiot. David Dewhurst, running for re-election, weighed in (Dallas Morning News)

Says Dewhurst in a statement: “Every citizen is entitled to the freedom of speech, but no one should have the right to use government funds or institutions to portray acts that are morally reprehensible to the vast majority of Americans.”

And is seems that censorship ruled the day. Last night, the school released the following statement:

The four student-directed plays, including “Corpus Christi,” scheduled to be performed at Tarleton State University on Saturday, March 27, 2010, have been canceled this evening by the professor. The professor cited safety and security concerns for the students as well as the need to maintain an orderly academic environment as reasons for canceling the plays. The performance of these four class plays will not be rescheduled.

This is sad for the students, infuriating for those who love liberty, and embarrassing for Texans who are trying to live beyond the stereotype of “good ol’ boy”. But there is little doubt that ‘God fearing, Bible believing Christians’ are celebrating their victory over the homosexual agenda.

Which is both ironic and fitting.

I am certain that few who complained about the production have seen it. I have.

My church hosted a bare-set production a few years ago. Having heard that it was sacrilegious and blasphemous and disrespectful, I was a bit hesitant about what I was going to see. But what I found was a presentation that did not seek to mock or demean the Christian faith, but rather to make it relevant.

The play removes the Christ story from its distant setting, its forgotten political/religious squabbles, and a culture that is foreign both in place and thinking. It takes the focus off of the trapping of the story and looks at what happens when the outcast challenges the religious structure. It was a touching, thought provoking, and intensely spiritual journey that left me with a greater respect for the life and message of Christ.

So it is ironic that Christian folk are up in arms at a play that inspires and deepens faith. But, considering that it also challenges where we each fit in the oppressed/oppressor dynamic and asks us to step outside our presumptions and dogma and look at what Christ represents, it is only fitting that churches should find it so threatening. And the response of the authorities illustrates the current relevance of Corpus Christi.

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0 | TRACKBACK URL

Regan DuCasse
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

Holla!
I’ve seen this play twice. One incarnation was all male, another was mixed gender portraying ALL the relevant members of the story, regardless of the actual gender of each.

And you’re right Tim, those protesting the loudest, I doubt ever saw or read the play, let alone gave themselves and opportunity (such as in this case) to actually SEE it.

This is an educational setting, with an opportunity for ANYONE to learn and have another variant expression of the same passion play.

I know of a virulent protest in St. Louis of a professional production of Jesus Christ Superstar, because members of the public took offense that Jesus was played by a black man, and Judas by someone white.

Note: no one Jewish has taken THIS much offense that Jesus hasn’t been widely portrayed BY or AS someone remotely Jewish in the most famous of portrayals we know to date.

Some people really just don’t get it and are too self righteous and selfish to LET SOMEONE ELSE have the choice to be offended or not.

:0P

Regan DuCasse
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

Hey Tim, I just realized this picture is from the last production I saw of CC.

Yep, we know of what we speak regarding the play’s REVERENCE for the story of Christ and relevance (and portrayal of) to people not of Biblical times.

Emily K
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

It takes the focus off of the trapping of the story and looks at what happens when the outcast challenges the religious structure.

Unfortunately, this is probably why many Jews (like me) would hesitate to see such a play. Because in truth, in history, never was there such a time when so many Jewish factions (not just the one Jesus supposedly had led, if he really existed) were battling for relevance in the Roman Provence encompassing the Holy Land. The idea that Jesus was “turning established Judaism upside down” as is sometimes stated is at best, a misunderstanding, and, at worst, an unintentional demonization of the structure of faith – Pharisaism – that is still practiced by Jews like myself today. Idioms like “man was not made for sabbath but sabbath for man” and “the greatest commandment is to love your neighbor” were already part of the flexible philosophy of the largest Jewish denominations existing at the time. So flexible is this structure that arguments that are deemed “incorrect” by Jewish Sages are not burned, blotted out, or figuratively “crucified,” but in fact preserved in the Talmud for future study should they once again become relevant.

Maybe I’m on a soapbox, but it’s not easy to keep your mouth shut when you’re an outsider.

Emily K
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

…also, reinforced is the myth that there was one monolithic form of Judaism and then Jesus’ movement. Wrong. This is as silly as declaring there is one monolithic form of christianity, which there never has been.

Lindoro Almaviva
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

Nothing like the “Holy Spirit” to make people behave in ways that would make Jesus vomit.

----
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

Modern Christians would freak out by learning that Jesus belonged to a sect (the Essenes) that held beliefs completely contrary to their theology:

-Reincarnation
-Esoterism
-Mysticism
-”Magic”
-Meditation
-etc.

Eric in Oakland
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

I never would have heard of this play if not for the attempt to suppress it. So, thank you Texas!

Since I haven’t seen or read the play, does anyone know if there is anything else about it that is irreverent besides the fact that characters are gay? The statement that it “…portray(s) acts that are morally reprehensible” seems very extreme to me. If all it does is portray Jesus as gay, then only an extreme bigot would hold such a view.

Victoia
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

Basically this incident follows the same disturbing pattern of rationalizing censorship when it comes to religion that many supposed ‘liberals’ willingly embraced when those Danish Mohammed cartoons were published. It was all but forbidden to reprint or display them in American newspapers and on campuses. At my alma mater, the University of Illinois, the head of the student newspaper was fired for reprinting one. Hypothetical violence was all Border’s needed to pull a magazine from its shelves and all Yale University Press needed to suppress the cartoons in a book about the cartoons last year.

While reactionary elements are behind these incidents, an attitude about ‘respecting’ religion pushed by many of my fellow people on the left and in the LGBT community feeds the precedent for this kind of retreat on free expression.

David
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

“an attitude about ‘respecting’ religion pushed by many of my fellow people on the left and in the LGBT community feeds the precedent for this kind of retreat on free expression.”

No.

See, someone with an attitude of respect for religion would accept, if not embrace this play, because it represents someone’s exploration of their spirituality.

This cancellation is an example of disrespect for religion and religious diversity, by allowing only one vision of Christianity to have a place in the public sphere.

The cancellation is actually closer to the attitude of atheism and fundamentalist religiousity, which hold that all beliefs other than their own are worthy of contempt and suppression.

Victoria
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

David, I expected a response like yours, namely one that viewed this issue in purely subjective terms rather than ones of general principle.

Your ‘respectful exploration of spirituality’ is another person’s blasphemy. No objective standpoint makes you right and them wrong, and that is exactly the problem here. This is why I take the position of defending free artistic expression because it makes one’s personal interpretations a moot point and prevents the creep of normative concepts like ‘giving offence’ from limiting free speech.

Sadly I suspect based your unwarranted snipe at “atheists” that you may be the type to rationalise suppression of free speech when it comes to contemptuous ridicule of religion, again exactly the argument conservative religious people use to justify their position in cases like this one.

Eric in Oakland
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

“The cancellation is actually closer to the attitude of atheism and fundamentalist religiousity, which hold that all beliefs other than their own are worthy of contempt and suppression.”

Excuse me David, but atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods. As such it cannot “hold that all beliefs other than their own are worthy of contmpt and suppression.”

Emily K
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

Atheism is the belief that God does not exist. since the existence of a mystical Deity cannot be disproven, it is a belief when someone says “there exists none.” And there are many Atheists who hold those who worship a deity or follow religious beliefs in contempt.

I’m not sure why Victoria is attempting to argue with David, since both of them seem to support its existence and avenue of expression.

Emily K
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

“it” being the play.

David
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

Victoria:

“David, I expected a response like yours, namely one that viewed this issue in purely subjective terms rather than ones of general principle.”

Nice empty dismissal there. I guess I should have expected it.

The problem is, your criticism is false. My statement is one of general principle – respect for religion in general requires respect for any religion or version thereof.

“Your ‘respectful exploration of spirituality’ is another person’s blasphemy.”

That doesn’t change a thing, for the person who labels it blasphemy is simply being disrespectful.

“No objective standpoint makes you right and them wrong,”

Just the dictionary definition of respectful.

“that is exactly the problem here.”

No. The problem is the idea that someone can enforce their subject viewpoint of right and wrong on everyone, rather than being content to apply it to their own life. You seem to be attempting to enforce your subject viewpoint on people of faith.

“Sadly I suspect based your unwarranted snipe at “atheists” that you may be the type to rationalise suppression of free speech when it comes to contemptuous ridicule of religion,”

While it is clear from your derogatory assumption that you are willing to make false accusations rather than address what was actually presented. I guess it is easier to accuse me of something I did not write, like suppressing free speech, then to address what I did write about, like the derogatory attitude that so many atheists articulate about all people of faith.

So much for your acceptance of “free artistic expression”. It appears that you only embrace such expression when it embrace your point of view.

As for unwarranted snipes, that is an ironic accusation coming from you, given your attack on liberals and people of faith.

David
March 27th, 2010 | LINK

Eric in Oakland

“Excuse me David, but atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods. As such it cannot “hold that all beliefs other than their own are worthy of contmpt and suppression.””

No, it is not.

Atheism is the specific belief that God does not exist.

Which means that it is intrinsically a negation, a repudiation, a denial of all religious beliefs, and a derogatory judgment about all people of faith. Religion, after all, is simply the accumulated experiences, testimonies, and expressions of human beings experiences of the Divine. Atheism is intrinsically anti-semitic, anti-hindu, anti-buddhist, anti-wiccan, anti-jain, anti-christian, etc.

Atheism insists that all of those people, the majority of all humanity, are simply wrong about their own experiences. That is an explicit expression of contempt, at the very least. Like so many prejudices, it dismisses the experiences and testimony of those it targets as irrelevant to its preconceived, derogatory impression of them and their lives.

It states “everyone else in the world is wrong, our lack of experience invalidates everyone else’s experiences”. Just like when homophobes say “I’m not attract to my own gender, so no one really is”.

Further, it is not uncommon for atheists on the ‘net to articulate their desire for a world free of religion, to label people of faith “delusional” or “a threat to humanity” – paralleling the abuse directed at GLBTQ people. Just like the way homophobes frequently articulate their desire for a world free of homosexuality.

Further, even if one accepts your false definition for the sake of argument, that definition does not preclude contempt and suppression. The fact is that atheism articulates a tremendous contempt for not only religion, but for all people of faith, and is essentially nothing more than a prejudice that targets the majority of all human beings.

Atheism asserts that the limited viewpoint of its adherents overrides that of anyone else, just as the particular, conservative flavor of Christianity in Texas attempts to override the viewpoint of any other.

That is the terrible irony of atheists on the ‘net posting as GLBTQ civil rights advocates. The moment they articulate their prejudice against religion, atheism, they intrinsically reinforce, nurture and sustain all prejudices, including homophobia.

One more irony that will be lost on many: GLBTQ people, including folk who participate here, get justifiably outraged when some homophobe makes derogatory speculations and assumptions about GLBTQ people, painting a false picture of our lives. And yet, on a near daily basis, atheists on this site, and elsewhere, do the exact same thing to people of faith.

Jonathan
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

@David
Atheism is in no way “intrinsically anti-semitic, anti-hindu, anti-buddhist, anti-wiccan, anti-jain, anti-christian”, nor is it a “derogatory judgment about all people of faith”. To say so is the same as saying that Christianity is intrinsically a derogatory judgment about all people who don’t believe in the Bible. Please do not pretend you are very rational, logical, and not prejudiced at all when, in fact, you are (As I will prove)…

“Atheism insists that all of those people, the majority of all humanity, are simply wrong about their own experiences. That is an explicit expression of contempt, at the very least. Like so many prejudices, it dismisses the experiences and testimony of those it targets as irrelevant to its preconceived, derogatory impression of them and their lives.”
-No, Atheism does not. Atheism insists that one’s own experience, and judgment of the present evidence, does not suggest there is a presence God. It doesn’t insist anything on other people, nor does it dismiss anything. Stop making up false statements about Atheism and stating it as a fact. Your comparison of atheists to homophobes is equivalent to a comparison of Christians to homophobes or Muslims to homophobes. The only thing that Atheism suggests is the atheist’s own beliefs, it doesn’t shove atheism down people’s throats as homophobes do with anti-homosexual ‘agenda’. (On a side note to homophobes: nobody is forcing you to turn gay or marry a gay man or congratulate a new gay couple)

Anyways, to equate “some atheists on the net” as all atheists merely sets yourself up to fall, since anyone can argue that by your own logic, then, that Christianity insists that anyone who doesn’t believe in a really old book is stupid, that Christianity is a derogatory judgment on all of those people and an explicit expression of contempt. In fact, your post is so full of false statements about atheism to support your argument that it would be a waste of energy to refute every one of them. The fact is that atheism does not articulate a tremendous contempt for any religion; it does not override any faith. (Actually, it would technically override one’s previous faith, if present. but my atheist beliefs does not override your christian beliefs)

Further, it is rather amusing that you like to equate atheists with homophobes. Perhaps you think that because you post this on a LGBT-rights website, the viewers will overlook your flagrantly illogical statements and jump directly to the conclusion that atheists are bigots…

To conclude, everyone has the choice to believe whatever they want to believe. Their belief doesn’t make them automatically a bigot -they are only a bigot when they seek to force their opinions on others (just as some supposedly god-fearing Christians want to stop other people from marrying because the Bible says it’s wrong). It is, of course, your right to believe atheists are bigots, but I just have to say it is my right to disagree.

I do agree, however, that it is bad to make assumptions about any group of people in general. Christianity in no way invalidates people who don’t believe in it. But, you clearly believe they do, because, apparently, they are backed up by the “experiences of the majority of all humanity”, and thus overrides the beliefs of atheists. So incidentally, your post has only proven that it is you who believe that all the people whose belief don’t match yours are “simply wrong”.

*Personally, I have a hard time following the words of any old book or scripts by an anonymous author (God?)… What makes those words and instructions holy and right? I cannot say that a god or gods don’t exist (so I’m agnostic), but I have a hard time believing that any organized religion and its tenets/ teachings can dictate what one’s own beliefs are. Faith in God, belief in the supernatural, the afterlife, Christianity,etc -there’s nothing wrong with them, as long as your reason for believing them, and for establishing your entire belief system on them, is not merely “the Bible says so” or ‘the Pope told me” or ‘the Church website said so”… But then, that is my own opinion.

Oh right. I forgot. There is one thing about your post that was right, but not in the way you intended it… There’s nothing wrong with “dismissing the experience or testimony” of the “vast majority of humanity” (that phrase still makes me chuckle) as irrelevant. Why do what other people believe have to influence what I believe? When forming my own beliefs, I take into consideration my own experiences, what i know or think about the world, and supernatural or miracles, or lack thereof. Should the testimony of others seem valid, I can choose to believe them or discard them. There is nothing wrong with “dismissing them as irrelevant”. If the whole world chooses to believe in god, let them, but I’d like to choose what I believe in myself, thank you very much. (I am in no way obligated to accept other people’s beliefs. I’ll dismiss whatever I want to dismiss. I just won’t make you dismiss it too.)

And one last question. How can anyone be sure that the Bible is, with absolute certainty, actually the “accumulated experience of human experience with the divine”? Did God ever tell anyone that the Bible is exactly what he wants it to be? (But granted, if someone chooses to believe so, then that is their right. Only that personally, I find that illogical)

Victoria
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

“My statement is one of general principle – respect for religion in general requires respect for any religion or version thereof.” –David

So LGBT people are supposed to “respect” versions of religion that want to imprison and murder us? I can tolerate fundamentalists’ right to express those views, since I can use the same freedom of expression to condemn them in turn, but your “principle” requires me to actively accept the legitimacy of hatred against me (since failure to see it as legitimate would be disrespect per definition).

“Just the dictionary definition of respectful.” –David

Right, because definitions never have any ambiguity or associated agenda? You apparently just cannot see how your position is as entirely normative, as much so as the rightwing reactionaries against this play.

“That doesn’t change a thing, for the person who labels it blasphemy is simply being disrespectful.” –David

Case in point about definitions. They consider their definition of blasphemy used in defence of their faith to be just and you consider is “disrespectful”. Who is right is an entirely subjective point of view, hence the need for disinterested principles like freedom of expression.

“You seem to be attempting to enforce your subject viewpoint on people of faith.” –David

Since my position consists solely of allowing maximum freedom of expression for everyone, I do not see how I can be accused of ‘enforcing my subjective viewpoint on people of faith,’ let alone anyone.

“While it is clear from your derogatory assumption that you are willing to make false accusations rather than address what was actually presented. I guess it is easier to accuse me of something I did not write, like suppressing free speech, then to address what I did write about, like the derogatory attitude that so many atheists articulate about all people of faith.” –David

Except concern over the “derogatory attitude that so many atheists articulate” is the primary justification for suppressing free speech when it comes to criticism of religion.

“So much for your acceptance of ‘free artistic expression’. It appears that you only embrace such expression when it embrace your point of view.” –David

Again I have been arguing in favour of the play and for freedom of expression when it comes to religion, whether negative or positive, so your remarks are really just a recrimination to my yet unanswered question of whether you support free expression when it comes to ridicule and other forms of criticism aimed at religion.

Victoria
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

“The moment they articulate their prejudice against religion, atheism, they intrinsically reinforce, nurture and sustain all prejudices, including homophobia.”

When it comes to atheism, David doth protest too much, methinks.

Please, David, cite how atheist are intruding upon your life beyond some dismissive comments on the Internet or in print. Box Turtle Bulletin in contrast is a day-to-day reminder of how certain “people of faith” encroach upon LGBT people up to and including murdering us.

Alex
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

David,

First you defined atheism as “the specific belief that God does not exist.”

And then you defined atheism as “prejudice against religion.”

So which is it?

Jim Burroway
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

David,

I have one extremely important question I’d like for you to answer before going forward: Are you an atheist?

Because I have to say that as a former Catholic, I found it extremely offensive growing up in an area dominated by Pentecostals who had no problem with asserting with absolute authority what my religion “really” meant.

And as an agnostic who is on the cusp of atheism itself, I find it extremely offensive when non-atheists pretend to know exactly what all atheism means. And as for those very atheists who do, they are as distasteful as those Baptists or Catholics who go around narrowly delimiting what a “true” Baptist or Catholic ought to be. The more you posts, the more I see you falling into that category of behavior.

Jason D
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

“Eric in Oakland

“Excuse me David, but atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods. As such it cannot “hold that all beliefs other than their own are worthy of contmpt and suppression.””

No, it is not.

Atheism is the specific belief that God does not exist.”

Atheists range from those who have seen no evidence to those who believe the lack of evidence is in and of itself proof.

What you went on to describe in your rant is not Atheism, but ANTI-theism.

There are certainly plenty of people who are anti-theist, but not all atheists are against theism. In fact most are rather ambivalent about the subject. Well, at least most of the ones I’ve met.

Priya Lynn
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

Emily said “Atheism is the belief that God does not exist. since the existence of a mystical Deity cannot be disproven, it is a belief when someone says “there exists none.””.

When someone posits something exists for which there is no evidence (gods) the onus is on them to prove its existence, not on the doubter to disprove its existence. If I say I have an invisible unicorn in my backyard the onus is on me to prove it exists, not on you to disprove its existence.

David said “Atheism is the specific belief that God does not exist. Which means that it is intrinsically a negation, a repudiation, a denial of all religious beliefs, and a derogatory judgment about all people of faith… Atheism insists that all of those people, the majority of all humanity, are simply wrong about their own experiences. That is an explicit expression of contempt, at the very least.”.

If you believe that then it necessarily follows that religion is the specific belief that a god exists which means that it is intrinsically a negation, a repudiation, a denial of all atheistic beliefs and a derogatory judgment about all atheists and that religion isnsists all such people are wronga bout their own expeiences which is an explicit expression of contempt at the very least. You can’t have it both ways David.

David said “Further, it is not uncommon for atheists on the ‘net to articulate their desire for a world free of religion, to label people of faith “delusional” or “a threat to humanity” – paralleling the abuse directed at GLBTQ people. Just like the way homophobes frequently articulate their desire for a world free of homosexuality.”.

It is not uncommon for religionists to articulate their desire for a world that is based on the kingdom of god, to lable atheists “fools” (if I had a dime for every time I’ve heard the bible quote “the fool has said there is no god”) or a tool of the devil – paralleling the abuse directed at LGBT people. Just like the way homophobes articulate their desire for a world that is entirely heterosexual.

David said “That is the terrible irony of atheists on the ‘net posting as GLBTQ civil rights advocates. The moment they articulate their prejudice against religion, atheism, they intrinsically reinforce, nurture and sustain all prejudices, including homophobia.”.

If you believe that then it necessarily follows that that is the terrible irony of religionists like David on the internet posting as LGBT civil rights advocates. The moment people like David articulate their prejudice against atheism they intrinsically reinforce, nurture, and sustain all prejudices, including homophobia.

Priya Lynn
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

Further to David’s comment “Atheism insists that all of those people, the majority of all humanity, are simply wrong about their own experiences.”.

The majority of the planet is not Christian. David’s christianity also insists the majority of all humanity is simply wrong about their own experiences. He has no problem with this when he is the one doing it, but hypocritically criticizes atheists for having a similar belief.

----
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

How is atheism “anti-semitic”? Semitism isn’t a religion, it’s an ethnicity. There are many Jews who don’t believe in God.

Eddie89
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid wrote:

[...]It was a touching, thought provoking, and intensely spiritual journey[...]>/blockquote>

Well, that’s exactly what most of these “organized” religions are afraid of, free thought!

They do not want their followers to think for themselves, that would cause them to work against them!

“Follow us, do as you are told, do not question our authority, for doing so is to question god himself!”

I think that this is the primary reason why this play and other forms of “free thought” are shut down!

Eddie89
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

Sorry, for the double posting. I made an error in my closing bracket on the blockquote html command.

Timothy Kincaid wrote:

[...]It was a touching, thought provoking, and intensely spiritual journey[...]

Well, that’s exactly what most of these “organized” religions are afraid of, free thought!

They do not want their followers to think for themselves, that would cause them to work against them!

“Follow us, do as you are told, do not question our authority, for doing so is to question god himself!”

I think that this is the primary reason why this play and other forms of “free thought” are shut down!

Eddie89
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn wrote:

If I say I have an invisible unicorn in my backyard the onus is on me to prove it exists, not on you to disprove its existence.

Also, if anyone does not believe in the invisible unicorn living in your backyard, you can always put the blame on them for not having “faith” that the invisible unicorn exists.

If only they had “faith” in your invisible unicorn, then they could pray to him and ask for the healing of their sick. Pray for rain. Pray for the sun to rise again the next morning!

If it doesn’t rain, then you can say that they must not really believe in your unicorn hard enough, they really, really, really need to believe!

And once their belief has reached an appropriate level as to satisfy the invisible unicorn, then he will unleash the rain from the heavens!

Such is the power of the invisible unicorn in your backyard!

The prophet Priya Lynn has spoken!

Priya, did you ever imagine that you could start your very own religion?

Just like Joseph Smith!

Alex
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

To be fair, David did not claim that the majority of the planet is Christian. The phrase “those people” in the sentence you quoted directly follows David’s reference to Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, Jains, and Christians, so I think he was referring to religious believers in general.

penguinsaur
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t think I have to help demolishing David’s whiny rant about Athiests. Funny how he hasn’t responded since then, maybe he realizes how ridiculous his arguments where. I don’t know which was more pathetic, “Athiests hate religious people because they don’t think religion is true, unlike Christians who totally believe that Islam and Hinduism are based in fact.” or “Athiests, by far least homophobic religious group, are exactly like homphobes!”

Maybe he should go to Pharyngula, they’d have all kinds of fun with him.

Timothy Kincaid
March 28th, 2010 | LINK

A thought:

There is a difference between agnosticism and atheism. It is pretty much the difference between the spiritual and the dogmatic. One is a matter of questioning, of uncertainty, of doubt, and the other is a matter of absolute assertion.

Atheism, like pentecostalism or Catholicism or Mormonism or any other ism, it a statement of certainty, of declaration that one is RIGHT and that others are not.

Frankly, I haven’t much use for those who ABSOLUTELY KNOW that which is unknowable, be they Christian or atheist or declare any other dogmatic statement of certainty.

Lynn David
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

I had my belief in a god wrenched out of me. For two months I struggled with it. Finally came to the conclusion I just no longer had my beliefs anymore, I was in that respect empty. Thus atheism is a lack of belief in gods and the supernatural.

Still spiritual, however. Took me another month to realize that sprirituality was a purely natural thing. The sum of emotions, man’s response to the conscious knowledge of his life and the world about him. I don’t see how one can be human without spirituality. It’s just that it often gets wrongly attributed to something supernatural.

So, considering human life is often chaotic, Timothy, I don’t see how one can be an atheist and be completely dogmatic [though I will admit that the 'new atheists' are seemingly trying to forge themselves in that way].

grantdale
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy — just to throw a spanner in your works, Buddhism is atheistic.

Atheism runs from those who do indeed declare there is no god/s through to those who simply have no belief in god/s. You are railing against the former and ignoring the latter.

If I have no belief in god/s by default I am atheist. That isn’t a declaration of being right but merely a statement about having a personal lack of belief. Of any type. It’s also not agnosticism (which, btw, is what you in fact are if you truly do think the matter of god/s is ultimately unknowable. Ironic, no?)

A personal lack of belief is not itself something unknowable. (That I can state with great certainty!) Having not been convinced to believe the beliefs of others doesn’t mean you think they are wrong. You just haven’t joined their team, that’s all.

Jason D noted the difference between atheism and anti-theism. There certainly are anti-theist atheists, but I suspect most atheists (like most theists) are only opposed to theistic zealots interfering in other people’s lives rather than being anti-religion as such.

I have no belief in god/s. Doesn’t mean there aren’t any :)

Lindoro Almaviva
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

wow, a post about a play turns into a deists vs atheists; how novel.

Let me remind the desists among us that we are expected to respect and avoid judging anyone, even those who deny the existence of a god. After all, we do not have evidence that there is a god besides what we are told and the conclusions we draw from our own experience.

Behaving more like the god we say we worship will go a hell of a lot better than throwing an us vs then party.

Richard W. Fitch
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

Grantville – Buddhism is non-theistic, not atheistic and there is a difference. As in love is non-rational rather than irrational. And myth is not displaced by historical fact.

Timothy Kincaid
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

grantdale

Atheism runs from those who do indeed declare there is no god/s through to those who simply have no belief in god/s. You are railing against the former and ignoring the latter.

True.

It is unfortunate that those who have no beliefs about deities are called by the same term as those who are very certain that there are no gods.

wow, a post about a play turns into a deists vs atheists; how novel.

Oh how I wish it was novel.

Joey
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

Says Dewhurst in a statement: “Every citizen is entitled to the freedom of speech, but no one should have the right to use government funds or institutions to portray acts that are morally reprehensible to the vast majority of Americans.”

So, is it governmentally funded? It makes all the difference in the world.

I think that most gays like to think of themselves as on the defense in the braoder “culture war” that embroils the nation. We aren’t picking fights with people who find our sexuality sinful, it’s the other way around. Yes, I believe that *most* gays just want to be left alone, but then something like this happens it appears that we’re agitating. We’re taking the sacred figure of a world religion and portraying him in a way that we know will irritate (many of) the followers of that faith. It’s a stick in the eye to Christians. Why do we do this? Are we trying to gain acceptance through pissing people off?

Joey
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t believe that gay groups would have the audacity to portray Mohammed as gay, or his disciples. (Did Mohammed have disciples? I don’t know.) I don’t think that any government would put up the funds for it either.

Let’s drop the pretenses here and admit that this play is intended to be mocking toward a particular group–Christians. The First Ammendment protects such a thing, but do they deserve government funds? Just for a moment ask yourself what gays would think if the shoe was on the other foot. How would we react to a play that mocked gays? How would we react if we found out that it was receiving government funds?

By the way, I can always tell when a post is written by Mr. Kincaid. His posts always breathlessly over the top, drawing unwarranted conclusions from the scantest of evidence. He usualy makes no attempt at all to be fair. Mr. Kincaid represents a variety of the gay rights movement that I don’t like to associate myself with.

penguinsaur
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

It is unfortunate that those who have no beliefs about deities are called by the same term as those who are very certain that there are no gods.

It is unfortunate that being very certain that Zeus, Odin, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Lord Xenu don’t exist is considered a bad thing.

b
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

never mind that the play got censored. I do love a good debate every now and then tho. But I must say that guy in the photo standing up, taking the hand of the guy in the chair, that is a cutie right there for sure. :)

Ben in Oakland
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

Personally, I am an Ultimatist: the ultimate answers to Ultimate questions…

Ultimately don’t matter.

Here’s something I wrote to Sam Harris a few years ago on This Very Subject.

” I have to say I love “Letter” even more than I loved “End of faith”–much more concise. It will go on my bookshelf right next to one of the most important books I have ever read. Disguised as a comedy/fantasy, Tom Robbin’s “Another Roadside Attraction” deals with many of the issues you discuss. He is not so sanguine, however. He tells a fable wherein a man founds a religion, gets everybody going on it, then exposes it and himself as a hoax. They kill him and go on believing. The same phenomenon is observable with the pedophile scandal with the Catholic Church. They just go on believing anyway.

Some thoughts: you don’t specifically state this in as many words, though you certainly cover the issue. I think Max Weber (or Durkheim) went into the difference between ethical and moral belief systems. Morals are defined by doing god’s will, ethics are defined by the pursuit of happiness and well being. Unfortunately, as you note, doing god’s will depends on your interpretation (this week) of doing God’s will, and as this changes according to culture, translation, how you feel this week, and so forth, it is a very slippery slope to slip on.

Theodicy: after reading Carlos Castaneda in my youth, I came to a different formulation of the problem. The answers to ultimate questions ultimately don’t matter. If there were a god of the size and shape that we frequently imagine him to be, it would not make the slightest bit of difference to anything, as the world would still be exactly the same way it is–either with him or without him. If with him, then he is either evil or not omnipotent. The pedophile scandal affects this, too. Since you cannot be a priest without a vocation, and a vocation can only be certified by the church, either god wants priests to molest children, or is powerless to prevent it, or the church’s certifcation process is totally bogus.

I’m a wedding photographer, so I end up in church a lot. I have often heard pastors cmment about “our sinful and broken world.” If the world is broken, how do you know your received truth has any validity? If I were Satan, I think the Catholic Church would be the perfect instrument of man’s destruction. Diabolical, isn’t it?

Likewise, just because “god” says something, how do you know that it is god that is saying it? How do you know he is telling you the truth? Of course, HE WOULD SAY SO. Liars always do.
Robbins also deals with man as a doing animal, what you discuss in End of Faith. A different take, but ultimately the same conclusions.

Keep doing what you are doing. Someone needs to. I am not very optimistic of the outcome, though. It’s not just about belief. It is also about power and money, and therefore, ego. You notice that Osama didn’t get on those planes himself, despite the promise of paradise and the 70 virgins and all of that. The man’s not stupid.

Timothy Kincaid
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

Joey,

Once you see this play, your opinion may be worth considering.

Timothy Kincaid
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

penguinsaur,

Surely you’ll agree with me that endless threads hijacked to emphatically assert that there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster (regardless of the point of the thread) would be tiresome.

I would hope that we can reach a day in which one can discuss a play about the Flying Spaghetti Monster without being “informed” that it doesn’t exist. (Or that the FSM lives and loves you, for that matter)

Jason D
March 29th, 2010 | LINK

“Yes, I believe that *most* gays just want to be left alone, but then something like this happens it appears that we’re agitating. We’re taking the sacred figure of a world religion and portraying him in a way that we know will irritate (many of) the followers of that faith.”

With the exception of the director, who is a gay christian. Unless you think he was trying to irritate himself.

“It’s a stick in the eye to Christians.

SOME Christians.
The gay christian director didn’t agree with you, and I doubt other Christians both gay and straight would either.

“Why do we do this? Are we trying to gain acceptance through pissing people off?”

You assume the purpose of writing or producing this play is to gain acceptance, when in fact, art is foremost about challenging people.

Just for a moment ask yourself what gays would think if the shoe was on the other foot. How would we react to a play that mocked gays?

Christ isn’t being mocked in this play. You have not seen the play, so you don’t know what the purpose, goal, or even attempts at such were behind the jesus character being gay.

And if the shoe were on the other foot it would be, again, a gay christian talking about gays. You seem to keep forgetting that the director is a GAY christian.

How would we react if we found out that it was receiving government funds?

That’s a rather tortured understanding of the situation. It’s taking place at a publicly funded university as part of a classroom project. The student director has paid any and all associated production costs.

Timothy (TRiG)
March 30th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid, this thread was not hijacked by atheists. It was hijacked by Christians libelling atheists (a libel which you later joined enthusiastically).

TRiG.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.