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A Meandering Tale About Fundamentalism

Well, since this is the first day of my blog, I want to get a real entry on it, so here goes.

A few weeks ago, my family and I went to a flea market. At one of the stands, when the vendor found out that it was my wife's birthday, he gave her a CD as a present. It was from a collection of religious materials that had caught my eye before (since I've been spending so much time recently thinking about & researching religious fundamentalism). It was titled something like "What Hollywood Believes," and had the name Ray Comfort written across the top. There were all types of little blurbs on the CD case, which lead me and my wife to believe that it was going to be full of either interviews with, or monologues by, celebrities talking about their religious beliefs.

It took a while for us to actually listen to the CD, but on a car ride down to my wife's family on Thanksgiving, she popped it into the car CD player to see what it was like. It turns out that, no, this wasn't interviews or monologues, it was a sermon by this Ray Comfort fellow. It doesn't start off too bad. A few introductions and a little humor, but then the lunacy began. All types of logical fallacies and inane comments, which maybe I'll go into more detail on in a followup blog entry. Anyway, my six year old daughter was sitting in the back seat, and with as impressionable as kids are, I didn't want her hearing everything this guy was saying and just accepting it as truth. So, I spoke up quite a bit during his talking, countering a lot of his arguments. Well, after about ten minutes of that, my wife got fed up with my speaking over it, so she turned off the radio.

A few days later as I was driving into work, I went to turn on the radio to listen to NPR like I normally do on my drive in. Well, this CD was still in there, so I decided just to let it play for a little while to see what he had to say. And it wasn't any better than on Thanksgiving. There were a few arguments that were so bad that I actually responded out loud, even though there was nobody else in the car. Here's the one that I thought was the worst. He was trying to discredit evolution, making it look silly compared to a literal interpretation of the Bible. He said something to the effect of, "Just think about it. The first fish to come up out of the sea to walk on land needed gills to breathe in the sea, but it also needed lungs to breathe on land. If it was a land animal, what was it doing with gills? And if it was a sea animal, what was it doing with lungs?" Boy, oh boy. Is this guy not even aware of living animals. The first two things that popped into my mind were African lungfish, and mudskippers, both of which can breathe underwater or on land. A little internet research found that there are many fish that can breathe air, like the bettas that are so popular at pet stores. It's mainly an adaptation to lving in oxygen poor environments. There are even a few fish where air breathing is their primary means of obtaining oxygen.

So anyway, I wrote my wife a short e-mail about it, saying how I couldn't believe people could be so stupid to buy into arguments like his, not just the ones about evolution, but his religious arguments in general. Well, when my wife read that e-mail, one of her co-workers was standing over her shoulder at the time. After reading it, she turned to my wife and said, "You don't believe in evolution, do you?" And that got them started into a big long debate about religion.

If you've been following the news, you may have heard about the girl with the peanut allergy who died after kissing her boyfriend, because her boyfriend had just eaten something with peanut butter. It's really sad. Anyway, Irma and some co-workers were talking about it, when said co-worker walks in and says, "that's what you get for french-kissing a boy when you're only fifteen." Just stop and think about that. She's saying that proper punishment for a french kiss is death. What a callous, self-righteous person. I can think of stronger words to say, but I want to try to keep this blog civil. It's just kind of an indication of the kinds of attitudes that fundmentalists hold, and it's kind of scary.

Anyway, that's my meandering story, from a flea market just outside Houston, to my wife's co-worker. It just really amazes me the attitudes some people have in this country.

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