Wednesday, December 28, 2005

27 Kislew 5766/28 December 2005: Hanukkah, day 3/Card Playing Day/Kwanzaa

Greetings.

The extreme menorah-lighting is going well. No problems with the oil thingies or anything like that. (Thank God!) The only thing thing wrong is that it’s rather cold around here at menorah-lighting time. I suspect that in future years I may end up having a bonfire going during the menorah-lighting, which would make it more practical as a group activity, possibly involving singing and roasting things. If anyone has any idea how to practically cook a latke on a stick, please let me know.

And now for today’s section of my list of religious fallacies. I suspect I am going to have to spin-off errors in logic and errors in facts into different lists.

What really matters:
“Being part of some elite group is all that really matters.” • ESAOF: “Being outside the elite group is all that really matters.” (ESAOF suggested by Another Nitpicker.)
“Belief is the only thing that matters.”
“Comfort is all that really matters.”
“Going to church/synagogue/mosque/etc. or performing some other specific ritual or moral activity at some regular interval is the only thing that matters.”
“Happiness is the only thing that matters.”
“Morality and good works are the only things that matter.”
“Religion is something priests/ministers/rabbis/imans/etc. do for me.” AKA “Religion is a spectator sport.”
“Rituals are the only things that matter.”
“Spirituality is the only thing that matters.”
“Supporting one’s house of worship, especially financially, is the only thing that matters.”
“When one is not at church/synagogue/mosque/etc. one can do anything one wants.”

Good and evil:
“Doing the wrong thing can be the right thing.”
“God does not want us to keep the rules he gave us to live by.”
“Polytheism is inherently more tolerant/moral/relevant/superior/etc. than monotheism.” (People who have an axe to grind with Christiantity, Judaism, or Islam) • ESAOF: “Monotheism inherently is more tolerant/moral/relevant/superior/etc. than polytheism.” (Monotheists with axes to grind; either of these views can be supported by selective examples of the goodness of one and the wickedness of the other. Both variants suggested by Another Nitpicker.)
“There is such a thing as objective good and evil.”

The human condition:
“A human being can be perfect.”
“I am perfect just the way I am.”
“I cannot possibly get any better.”

Theodicy (divine justice issues), real or alleged:
“If something bad happens to someone, obviously he/she has done something wrong. If something good happens to someone, obviously he/she has done something right.”
“The alleged victims in any dispute are always good and the alleged oppressors are always evil.” • “ESAOF: The alleged victims in any dispute must be evil and the alleged oppressers must really be good. (Otherwise, why would evil be allowed to win out over good?)” (ESAOF suggested by Another Nitpicker)

Categorization of people:
Given that “superiority” involves being inherently smarter, more knowledgeable, more intellectually honest, more right, better, more moral, wiser, correct, saner, or God-fearing; and that “inferiority” is the opposite, possibly including collaboration with or worship of one or more evil beings:
“Insiders are superior to outsiders.”
“It is moral to judge people in the absence of objective information.”
“Non-human animals are superior to humans.” (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
“Non-prophets can know who is going to Heaven and Hell based on their actions.”
“One class or caste is superior to another.”
“One race is superior to another.”
“One sex is superior to another.”
“Outsiders know the truth, only they are too stubborn or evil to admit it.”
“People in ancient times were superior to the people living today.” • ESAOF: “People today are superior to the people living in ancient times.”
“People of one sexual preference are superior to another.”
“People with sexually transmitted diseases are superior” • ESAOF “People with sexually transmitted diseases are inferior.”
“Religious people are superior to secularists.” • ESAOF: “Secularists are superior to religious people.”
“Technologically primitive people are superior to technologically advanced people.” • ESAOF: “Technologically advanced people are superior to technologically primitive people.”

Enjoy, and happy Hanukkah.

Aaron
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