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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   prosyletizing pod people
Sunday, March 27 2005

Yeah, the Pope. I can't figure out who is more brain dead, this guy or Terry Schiavo. In any case, it's selfish to hang on as pope when you can't even talk. A pope who cared more about Catholicism than his own whithered loins would step aside and let some fresh blood do the poping.

Sometimes I do vanity Google searches for unusual combinations of words that I know I have used on web pages. One such search, combining Staunton and Satanic led me to a page about missionary work in India. It's when reading pages like this, composed by and for fellow missionaries, that one realizes the primitiveness of the fundamentalist Christian missionary's worldview. When you've been programmed to stop thinking and stop asking questions and you've been sent out to convince other people to share your logically absurd view of the world, you have no desire to understand why or how these people came to be the way they are. Their existing beliefs have nothing but negative value and are dismissed with the worst perjorative a Christian can muster: they're satanic. An ancient and unique "forest" of beliefs must be felled and its barren soil seeded with the monoculture of yet more Christianity.
What makes the prosyletizing of religious evangelicals offensive is that it is a transparent effort to destroy something refreshing and unique. What persists of an obscure culture, after all, once its religion has been completely replaced with the one practiced by the CEO of Walmart? Often such replacement is accompanied by considerable destruction of artifacts and the willful loss of useful knowledge. (One wonders what role evangelical Christians played in bringing the Dark Ages to Europe.)
It's against this backdrop that you can understand why it warms my heart whenever I learn of missionaries and their converts being attacked by people enraged by their cultural arrogance. I support religious tolerance, but I balance that view with the recognition that a culture sometimes needs to protect itself, particularly when provoked by pod people programmed to prosyletize. A Christianized Japan, for example, would have been a monumental loss to the world.

This evening Gretchen and I watched the Scrabble documentary Word Wars, about the crazy characters who comprise American Scrabble aristocracy, such as it is. Scrabble isn't a lucrative pursuit, so these guys are a scruffy, eccentric, not-especially-photogenic lot. They live completely in the invented logically self-contained universe of the game, memorizing the most obscure words of English and playing games using few you would recognize. In this movie I had a special fondness for Marlon Hill, the high-ranking player from Baltimore who smoked pot with such frequency that it made me wonder how good he'd be if he didn't smoke at all.

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