12/12/2008

THOSE DIRTY DOG COLLARS


Lyrics | Elvis Costello lyrics - God's Comic lyrics


Oh yes I was a comical priest
With a joke for the flock
and a hand up your fleece
Drooling the drink and the lipstick and grease-
paint down the cardboard front
of my dirty dog-collar


-----God's Comic, by Elvis Costello.


Over at PZ's place, the world's most notorious zebrafish torturer has a thought about....clerical garb. It seems that it's not enough that Our Godless Hero has taken the high ground of reason to bedevil the faithful. He's now concerned that there's an inherent inequality in perception, driven by the fact that some clergyman wear a 'uni' that supposedly announces their moral superiority. Apparently the existence of clerical collars, orange robes, bald pates and long beards claims some sort of 'high ground' and unfairly leverages the way debates about religion are perceived by the public. PZ writes:

I guess I'm just going to have to put it on my to-do list of things to accomplish while we're destroying religion: diminish the credibility of the clerical uniform.

Well, as I wrote over at PZ's place, do tell. Perhaps you should also take steps to undermine the gravitas of their buildings? I mean, certain architectural styles simply mark the religious as a privileged class in this world or the next, especially if (by way of comparison) you work in the cinderblock wing of academia. Seriously, PZ, the shot on this page of your school site looks like a prison:


How in the Name of Cthulthu are you supposed to compete with something like this, that practically screams out, "I'm going to heaven...and you're not!"....?


I await with great interest the details of your visit to the local Planning Commission. Down with all spires, stained glass, gargoyles and the like....or, if that is not feasible, perhaps a warning sticker? Something, perhaps, like this:

THIS BUILDING CONTAINS MATERIAL ON THEISM, THE IDEA THAT GOD EXISTS. THIS IDEA IS A HYPOTHESIS, NOT A FACT REGARDING THE ORIGIN OF LIVING THINGS! THIS MATERIAL SHOULD BE APPROACHED WITH AN OPEN MIND, STUDIED CAREFULLY AND CRITICALLY CONSIDERED!

After all, we would never want to privilege our views....right?

2 comments:

Ian H Spedding said...

I tried posting this at Pharyngula but got an error message from the ScienceBlogs server.

Speaking as a long-time fan of Star Trek/War/Gate I'm all in favour of uniforms. The Trek comm badge is pretty close to a stylized atheist 'A' so it wouldn't be difficult to adapt StarFleet uniforms. On the other hand, the Stargate costume of tactical vest worn over combat fatigues is more readily available, looks more macho and aggressive in keeping with the New Atheist image, and you can slap atheist 'A'badges on to the Velcro patches on the shoulders.

Scott Hatfield @#248 raises an interesting question about religious buildings. Personally, I find the huge megachurch auditoria to be ostentatious displays of Earthly wealth and power that are hard to square with the message of Christianity. But then the same could be said of the great churches and cathedrals of Europe. Breathtakingly beautiful though some of them are, it is hard not to wonder whether the money could not have been better spent, particularly given the conditions in which most of the people of those countries lived at that time.

R. Moore said...

Grandiose religious structures are excellent sites for future museums, recent visitors from Germany informed me. In Muenster, you can still see the cages on the outside of one church where the bones of the tortured wrong-believers were on public display for several hundred years.

The U.S spends approx 6 billions dollars/year on church construction. I hope the future generations will appreciate this.