Thursday, October 02, 2008

infinaggie playligulous

This weekend could be huge.

Tomorrow we're heading up to the BYU - Utah State game, which should be breezy. However, there are some strange superstitious factors that could spell disaster. First of all, my brother feels really nervous about the game. He's far from the most sporty person I know, but he is the most emotional when it comes to killer losses. I'm afraid he may have tapped into some kind of weird emotional space flux that only he's attuned to and the BYU team really won't see it coming.

The other factor is that the only trash talk coming from the Utah State fans I know is that they're confident that the aggies will actually score. There is no pretension toward victory. The last time I remember this really well was back in seminary we did this thing called Seminary Bowl where we divided up into stakes and had a quiz show type thing testing our knowledge of the Old Testament and buzz-in proficiency. When the stake in last place went up against our first-place team, they had the same attitude of gracious humility. Somehow that humility must have built up to a glorious power because they... almost beat us.

Speaking of seminary, it's Conference Weekend everyone! That means we have more of a chance to have real fun, not just church fun.

Also worth noting is that Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist arrives in theaters this weekend (Saturday 10:30 PM anyone? anyone?). It's probably the last chance for Michael Cera to play his Arrested Development character without the rest of us getting mad. I think he'll go out with a bang. From the previews I like the look of the thing. It appears to be shot on dark film and has a sort of oldish classicish look to it. I have high hopes even though, as of now, Beverly Hills Chihuahua has a higher tomato rating.

The other movie coming out is Bill Maher's Religulous. Does anyone else think that it's weird that this thing is coming out conference weekend? It's probably not weird, it's probably simply fitting. From the preview we see that the guy actually captured footage in front of the Salt Lake Temple. Maybe he planned this weekend's opening all along. I don't hate the guy. Maybe I should say I don't completely dismiss all of his opinions. I actually have one of his books. He says some stuff I actually like hearing (such as the value of individual sacrifice and the definition of patriotism).

Following him over the years, though, he's become more and more of a specific warrior against religion. His atheism used to be just one of his traits, but now it's beyond the defining one. Now -- to him -- every issue, every problem, every talking point is about how religion is the cause of every negative thing on earth. I actually saw him on his show point out a bad event in the newspaper and then say something like "Well is it any wonder stuff like this happens when," and then he'd turn to a different headline, "72% of the people in this country believe that the story of Noah's ark actually happened." Granted, I can totally understand the skepticism of someone who doesn't believe in Bible stories. The problem with Maher is, he sees the intolerance of fundamental extremist religious behaviour and then fights back with the same intolerance and zeal he denounces.

As a religious person I'm glad. It's easy to see. His cause would be more effective if he wasn't so obvious about his bigotry. Perhaps since he started his career as a comedian, it's more natural for him to treat the subject as a joke rather than something that can be debated without mumbling that anyone who believes in God is an absolute moron.

In that same show where he pulled the Noah's ark story (and related it to whatever other story it was that had absolutely nothing to do with Noah's ark, or religion, or even belief) an annoying guest on his show finally asked him why he needs to bring religion into everything he talks about. The guest then said that his opinions on the matter go beyond debate and his rants are directed at religious people such as himself with a specific edge and tone that equates with bigotry. Maher's response to the accusation: "I am not a bigot." It seemed he wasn't able to elaborate on his defense without deepening the accusation.

Anyway, it's conference weekend. I've heard Maher say something to the effect that all religions are wrong, but Mormons are notable because they are even more wrong than everyone else. This weekend is probably not a coincidence.

Unfortunately, religion will always be on the losing side in a scientific debate. Faith is, after all, faith. I've always maintained that if God exists, he wants to be discovered in that method. No lab will ever disprove or prove the existence or merits of faith.

My religious stance will be the same despite the outcome of the BYU - Utah State game.


Blogger Maria said...

I'm sure he would think it was totally absurd that many Mormons won't go see his movie based on counsel received from spiritual leaders.

October 02, 2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger Hilda said...

He has such interesting views on religion and I think it would be better for him to keep quiet. But he is entitled to his opinion, even if it is based on such misguided "correlations" that aren't real.

October 02, 2008 9:45 PM  
Blogger Saule Cogneur said...

Well stated Jon. Maher was on the Daily Show the other night, and I didn't mind listening to him for a change. He's still a tool and an utter hypocrite, but nevertheless, I think that people should be able respond to his questions. If they can't, I think they should rethink what they stand for and why.

Of course in our circle, I'm comparatively nonreligious, so maybe I'm prone to be more sympathetic to the positive side of his ideals than most.

October 02, 2008 10:53 PM  
Blogger boneck family said...

well done.

October 04, 2008 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice entry Jon. I just heard the man on NPR defending his movie. I think it is interesting that his intolerance for religion and blaming it on everything ignores something I believe is human nature. That the atrocities committed by religion would probably be committed for other reasons.

October 05, 2008 1:56 PM  
Anonymous abel said...

When will BYU stop playing those sub-division teams like Utah State?

October 07, 2008 3:19 PM  

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