Monday, February 26, 2007

Talking in Circles

The following is a piece appearing on Slacktivist's blog today:
PAT: Ugh. This is Coke.

MIKE: What's wrong with Coke?

PAT: It's got caffeine in it. I can't have caffeine. I'm Jewish.

MIKE: You're what?

PAT: Jewish. We're not allowed to have caffeine.

MIKE: Dude, you're not Jewish. And even if you were that wouldn't mean you couldn't have caffeine.

PAT: Hey this is America, I can be whatever I want to be.

MIKE: Your name is Patrick Flynn.

PAT: Doesn't matter. Freedom of religion.

MIKE: OK, so if you're Jewish, how come you're eating a bacon cheeseburger?

PAT: We're allowed. We just can't have caffeine.

MIKE: You're trying to tell me a bacon cheeseburger is kosher?

PAT: Are you Jewish?

MIKE: No, but ...

PAT: Then what makes you think you have the right to tell us how to worship? You're being anti-Semitic.

MIKE: You're not Jewish.

PAT: Says you. Bigot.

MIKE: Look, you're free to believe whatever you want to believe. You want a cheeseburger? Eat a cheeseburger. Just don't say you're being Jewish.

PAT: Where do you get off lecturing me on my religion?

MIKE: I'm not telling you what to believe, I'm just saying you can't call it Jewish. That's not what "Jewish" means.

PAT: So you think all Jews have to believe the same thing?

MIKE: Not the exact same thing, maybe, but, you know, mostly, yeah.

PAT: And you're what, Catholic, right? So you think all Catholics believe the same thing?

MIKE: I'm not saying ... Look. The word "Catholic" means something, OK? Or a whole bunch of somethings. And that means there's also a whole bunch of somethings it doesn't mean.

PAT: First you're the expert on Judaism, and now you're the Pope.

MIKE: I'm just saying certain words mean certain things, otherwise what's the point in having them?

PAT: You really like telling other people what to believe, don't you?

MIKE: Believe whatever you want. But you know as well as I do that bacon is not kosher. Ask any rabbi, they'll tell you. Ask a hundred rabbis -- you won't find one that disagrees.

PAT: There's at least one. Me.

MIKE: So now you're a rabbi?

PAT: Yeah, and I'm telling you, as a rabbi, that we Jews can eat bacon cheeseburgers, but we can't have caffeine.

MIKE: You do realize, Rabbi Flynn, that the caffeine thing has nothing to do with Judaism, right? That's a Mormon thing. You can't just take something from Mormonism and start calling it Judaism.

PAT: Again with the pronouncements on other people's faith. What do you have against the freedom of religion?

MIKE: Look, OK, say I tell you I'm Catholic, right? Then suppose I tell you that I believe that there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet. I mean ...

PAT: Hey, whatever man. Doesn't matter. Free country.

MIKE: But it does matter. That's what Muslims believe. If I believe what Muslims believe then I can't go around calling myself a Catholic, can I?

PAT: So now you're the expert on Islam too?

MIKE: Jesus Christ!

PAT: Hey, man, don't blaspheme in front of the rabbi. ...

This sounds an awful lot like some of the conversations I've had recently on the Allspark. Practically whenever a topic related to Christianity comes up, there are a group of vehement anti-Christians who assert that Christians believe such-and-such, and whenever someone points out the fallacy in their reasoning, it makes no difference whatsoever. It's just talking in circles.

It's one thing to dislike certain things that lots of Christians say or think. I might even agree with you. But I do take offense at all Christians being criticized for things that not all Christians even believe in the first place. Say that I'm an exception if you want to, but the very fact that I am an exception should prove the point that not all Christians are crazy hate-mongers (or whatever offensive thing about Christians someone wants to say at a given time). If you're going to say something about what it is to be Christian, you should be sure that what you're saying matches up with the facts.

Words mean certain things, otherwise what's the point in having them?

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