I love literature. At one time, I wanted to teach literature. I wanted to be a poet, too. Then I noticed that there was a dearth of jobs for poet listed in the want ads. I might have been a professor of literature, however, had I not become addicted to teaching young children. It’s much easier to subvert young minds as opposed to those already set in their ways. One of the things I learned while in university about literature is that poetry doesn’t, and I repeat here, doesn’t mean whatever you want it to mean. The poet had something in mind when he or she wrote the poem. That’s what the poem means, not what it means to you. So, whether you are in Arizona or not, Shakespeare did NOT have coyotes in mind when he wrote about the “bark of the moon”. To believe that poems mean whatever you want is just intellectual laziness. The reader simply does not wish to do the work necessary to find out what, exactly, the poet is trying to say. The same can be said of any art form.
You may love a painting because it reminds you of certain memories, but it is nearly certain that the artist did not have your memories in mind while making that particular painting. Paintings mean something. So do photographs. So does music. I don’t begin to know what most paintings mean because I never studied art in school. I gained an appreciation of art from my parents who took us to the art museum regularly and had cheap supermarket prints of famous paintings all around the house (wherever the bookshelves weren’t), but I never learned how to interpret them. I know there are rules, rules of shape and perspective, light and dark, color, all of which help to decipher the message of the painting, but I don’t know them, and as such, would never claim to understand what a painting means. I know enough to know that the painting does not mean what I want it to mean. I don’t mind. I can enjoy things I don’t understand. I love women. I don’t claim to understand them.
All this brings me to the subject of God, as you might expect, it being Easter Sunday. This is going to get rough, so please forgive me. This is a blog about bullshit. But I am a little tired of atheists and agnostics throwing stones at religious people claiming that our beliefs are irrational and ridiculous in the light of twenty-first knowledge and science. Bill Mahar, whom I love and enjoy, mind you, as made a big deal of poking fun at religious people claiming that we believe in a magic guy who lives in the sky. Well, we don’t believe in a guy who lives in the sky, okay, Bill? We don’t think God lives in the sky. God lives in the space between the freaking atoms that make up your freaking body! So shut your freaking mouth, Bill, and God bless you. And moreover, Bill, Mormons don’t wear magic underwear. I am not a Mormon, and I certainly don’t believe in what the Mormon faith claims or even preaches, but I am rational enough to know that that “magic underwear” is a sign and symbol of Mormon faith and belief. So shut the hell up, Bill, and quit making fun of things you don’t understand. That is the sign of a fool.
There are, I will admit, plenty of things irrational about religious thought, no matter what the faith. That’s because people are irrational. Irrational beliefs are what happen when you arrive at your beliefs without rational thought. Certainly, religion is something of which most people have some kind of opinion. And opinions are good things. But opinions that are reached without some kind of logical, rational thought, are simply bullshit, plain and simple. Now you can have any opinion you want on any subject you want, but without some kind of logical reasoning, that opinion is just bullshit. You can claim that Shakespeare was talking about coyotes if you want, but then you better come forth with some evidence that Shakespeare knew something about …