Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Diminishing of Christianity and Religion in General

I’ve been struggling for quite a while now, trying to understand the impetus for the various attacks on Christianity in our society. I don’t understand why so many people, and why our governments—federal, state, and local—seem bent on diminishing the presence of Christianity in our society. I mean, I just truly don’t get it.

First of all, I don’t understand how the presence of Christian symbols—the Ten Commandments, a cross, a verse from the Bible—threatens anyone. How are these things threatening? Why is it better for society if they aren’t present in public view?

I’m a Christian, but I don’t recoil at the sight of a synagogue, a mosque, or a statue of Buddha. I don’t feel threatened by those things. When I come across a verse from the Torah or the Koran, I often consider it and realize how similar it is to verses I’ve read in the Bible, how similar the sentiments are. I’m not going to jump religions and abandon Christianity because I’ve seen those images or those buildings or read those verses. I simply read them, observe them, or even ignore them sometimes, and I go about my day. I don’t feel threatened by them, and I don’t see any need to get rid of them or hide them.

So why do we have to diminish Christian symbols? How can those of other religions be threatened by those things? How can ridding society of Christianity and Christian symbols make those who believe in other religions feel better? I don’t think they do. I don’t think members of other religions are the ones at the forefront of movements to do this because I think they feel, for the most part, the way I feel about this.

However, there are the atheists. Why do atheists feel threatened by Christian symbols and the like? This one really confuses me because atheists don’t believe in any god at all. So why in the world are they so against Christian symbols, etc. in public places? How in the world can they feel threatened by or infringed upon by something they don’t even believe is real?

Pretend like you’re in San Diego and Comic-Con is going on. There are all kinds of people walking around in all kinds of costumes—there are aliens, there are Trekkies, there are zombies, there are superheroes of all makes and varieties—it’s a smorgasbord of fictional characters. (Yes, sorry, Trekkies—Klingons aren’t real.)

Are you going to feel threatened by these people who are dressed up in these costumes, representing characters and beings that you know aren’t real, that you know don’t exist? No. You’re not. And I know you’re not. You might laugh at them. You might admire their creativity in designing their costumes. You may think you want to go to Comic-Con next year.

But you aren’t going to feel threatened. You aren’t going to petition city hall to have those people removed from public space BECAUSE YOU KNOW THEY AREN’T REAL.

So what’s the deal with atheists and Christianity? God isn’t real for them, so why should they care if there are religious symbols—any religion’s symbols—out in public? Should the Easter Bunny not be allowed to come to town for egg hunts? He’s not real. Should Santa Claus be banned? Should we no longer allow any family to place a little money under their children’s pillows when they lose a tooth because—gasp!—the tooth fairy isn’t real and is a very threatening figure.

I just don’t understand. What’s wrong with religious symbols being present? Those symbols aren’t trying to convert you. They aren’t threatening you. They simply reflect certain beliefs, beliefs atheists don’t share and therefore can’t be threatened by.

Like I said, this has bugged me for a long time, and I thought it was time to say something. I don’t get it. I’ll never get it. I'll never understand, either, the government's willingness to diminish religion in public. We have to cater to those who don't believe. Those who do believe are persecuted. 

But I can tell you one thing, zombies don’t piss me off, and I don’t have a burning desire to prohibit them from walking around in public. I don’t believe in them, but I do admire their costumes.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review: Sons of Anarchy - Bobby S7.E9


I’m a die-hard Sons ofAnarchy fan. I know the mythology, the family ties, the gang ties. I have loved this show for years, and I’ve exercised patience with this final season’s convoluted, spider-webbing plotlines for eight episodes. I've trusted that Kurt Sutter is going to make it worth it in the end, that his introduction of new people in this final season, when things should be circling home and are instead spiraling out, that it’s going to be worth it.

And then I watched the ninth episode this week, “What a Piece of Work Is Man.” And I’m pissed.

I’m not pissed because Bobby died. I’m sad that Bobby’s dead, but I’ve always respected Sutter’s willingness to sacrifice major players for the sake of the story, and Bobby’s kidnapping, torture, and, finally, his death this week made sense as far as what’s going on with Jax, his ego, and his self-serving plan to eliminate Henry Lin. Bobby was one of the last few good guys, so of course, he had to be sacrificed to Jax’s rage and Gemma’s lies. I’ll miss him.

I’m pissed because Jax ordered the guys to get Bobby out of the van at the cabin and bury him there. “I want him close,” said the prince. Now, granted, they haven’t actually buried Bobby yet, but I swear that if they don’t get him a nice, Skeeter-original coffin, if they don’t clean him up, dress him up nice in his cut, put mementos in his casket, and honor that man, Kurt Sutter will hear me screaming from thousands of miles away. Because that, my friends, will be the biggest load of BS he’s asked us to swallow so far.

JT brought Bobby into the club. He’s been around a long, long time. He has served, and served, and served the club—no matter who had the gavel. His goal has been to do his best for the club. Period. He was tortured—lost an eye, lost his fingers—and he still remained loyal and strong when facing Moses.

He deserves the kind of burial that Opie got. They’re fixing to treat him not much better than Clay, and that’s not right and not fair, and those other cut-wearing brothers should be railing against Jax about this, not just digging the damn hole. But no. It’s just, “OK, boss.” We’ll dig the hole and plant this loyal soldier in it. Hell, Bobby was a veteran too.

I’m sick of the guys just blindly following Jax. I’m sick of his selfishness. You can dress it up however you want—it’s because of Tara, it’s because they’re loyal to club—whatever. I’m sick of it. These are not the kind of men who would have, say, two or three years ago, just said, “OK, boss,” and blindly followed Jax into this maelstrom of violence and vengeance and sure death. They would have spoken up. They would have fought with him. They might have even punched him—oh! What I would give to see one of them lay Jax out right now. Sutter has turned these men into puppets, and I don’t think that’s who they truly are. If they dump Bobby in that hole next week, I may not watch the end of the series because by that time, I may not give a shit.

I have one more big issue from this week, and then I’ll sign off. What the hell was that between Chibs and Jarry in the parking garage? Does FX require a certain amount sex or nudity in every episode? Did that scene fulfill some type of contractual obligation because it made NO SENSE at all.

First of all, Jarry wants Chibs to prove to her that he cares about her … by screwing her on the roof of her car in a parking garage with Quinn watching? That’s how a grown woman knows a man like Chibs cares about her? Because he accepts her demand to “take her”? I laughed—literally laughed out loud—during that whole scene. That was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. Ever. It didn’t stay true to anything. It didn’t serve any purpose at all, other than to get a little sex into the episode. That was my “jump the shark” moment until the whole thing with Bobby happened.

This episode has shaken my confidence in the writing of this show more than any other. I will likely watch the last four episodes because I’ve invested years into this show and I have to watch at this point. Now, though, I’m truly dreading it.

I’m not dreading it because of who I’m afraid we’ll lose, who’s going to die. I’m dreading it because I don’t want to laugh—or cry—at the writing (again) and I’m afraid I’m going to.

Sons of Anarchy airs on FX on Tuesday nights, but at this point, I’d recommend just starting over and watching the early seasons. This final season isn’t worth it.