Thursday, April 8, 2010

Arrogance on display - religious license plate frames

It's not that I think having a license plate frame with a religious message on necessarily makes a person arrogant, it's the type of message they choose to display. So two days ago whilst driving to work I saw one that read:

WARNING: IN CASE OF RAPTURE THIS CAR WILL BE UNMANNED

And my first thought was "What an arrogant prick."  Well, actually, my first thought was probably "Wish I didn't have to go to work today, I'd rather be doing something else and getting paid for that instead, like being a virgin converter or something cool like that." But it was probably soon after my first thought upon seeing that particular license plate frame.


Anyway. Let's face it, this message is really saying that the person who bought and displayed it thinks they are so unbelievably perfect that, were God to pick and choose who they wanted to take to their kingdom if the Rapture were to actually occur, then Religious Tool Who Displays Their Belief On Bits Of Plastic Attached To Car (RTWDTBOBOPATC, for short) would be one of those God chose. You can't get much more arrogant than assuming that God thinks you're great, can you? You're basically saying "Oh yeah, the supreme being and creator and master of all existence would totally pick me over all the other billions of candidates."

Or are they just claiming to be a perfect Christian? Really? Always turned the other cheek? Always loved thy neighbour as thyself? Never judged others? Ever? Rendered unto Caesar? They've absolutely lived a life completely and utterly according to the Bible? Really? Abandoned uncircumcised boys? Stoned disobedient children?

What this license plate frame says to me is either: "Yes the owner of this vehicle is so monumentally egotistical and arrogant they think God favours them massively" or "Yes the owner of this vehicle really has no place amongst a modern society since they are possibly a child killing, misogynistic bigot with genocidal tendencies and a complete inability to function in the 21st Century."

Neither of which are things anyone should be bragging about, surely?

And another thing...

But, even disregarding that, I also had another thought at some point after the thought that probably wasn't the first thought after seeing this particular license plate holder. And boy do I wish I wasn't typing this next to an open window through which the smell of flame grilled burgers is now wafting. But I digress.

My other thought was this: If you think that at any point you might suddenly disappear off the face of the Earth isn't it highly, massively, irresponsible of you to be driving any type of vehicle or to be a part of any crew operating a vehicle or other form of transport - especially aircraft? Should you in fact not be operating any form of dangerous machinery? Should you in fact not have any kind of job which requires constant vigilance for safety reasons - did you even admit to your employer that you might disappear at any point whilst on the job?


"Well, I think that concludes the interview for the position of Person Who Stops The Reactor From Going Into Meltdown. Do you have any questions or comments for us Mr Fanatically Religious Tit?"
"Erm, well, yes actually. I lead such a virtuous life that it is highly likely I may be Raptured up to the Kingdom of God at any point. I hope the very real chance of me suddenly disappearing whilst on the job doesn't knock me out of the running. I'll be with the Almighty, but obviously not able to perform my duties as contracted. Do you have a Rapture clause in your contracts? What are your procedures in case of Rapture?"

Or (and this scene works best if you imagine Michael Palin sitting in a white coat and dark pin-stripe suit opposite Graham Chapman and John Cleese in similar attire but behind a big wooden desk in a wood paneled boardroom).

"Well, I think we are ready to make our decision about who will be appointed Chief of Cardiology, do you have anything else you would like to add Dr. Condescending Big Head?"
"Er. Well, there is the delicate matter of my impending Rapture."
"I'm sorry. Your what?"
"My Rapture."
"Your rapture?"
"Yes."
"So, am I to understand that you think that at some point you may be Raptured up into the kingdom of Heaven? At any time?"
"Yes."
"Even during surgery?"
"Yes."
"A triple bypass?"
"Yes. I won't even know when."
"Well yes. Thank you doctor. Next."

In fact, shouldn't the rest of us (unbelievers, theists of a different stripe and the not quite so unbelievably fucking arrogant) be petitioning governments and employers the world over to prevent people like those who believe they will be Raptured from basically doing anything but staying at home, on the sofa, in their Sunday best, and not touching anything? Wouldn't it be hugely irresponsible for an airline or hospital to hire a pilot or surgeon who thought they could at any point just be Raptured away?

Shouldn't we all stay at home to avoid the dangers of a society where people can at any time disappear no matter what they were doing?

Or, is the fact that we don't do this and don't encourage governments or employers to take this into account basically just an admission that we all understand that the whole Rapture idea is REALLY BLOODY SILLY?

4 comments:

  1. It is like something out of Monty Python, isn't it, complete with Gilliam animations.

    We don't seem to have these rapturists here in Germany - even creationism is considered a bizarre and dangerous cult by the conservative christian media here. Um...so are you suggesting that such people sometimes become airline pilots or surgeons? That's dangerous enough without them even being rapturized away.

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  2. If I ever found out my airline pilot or surgeon were fundies, I'd split. They'd have no problem letting Jeezus take the wheel.

    I, on the other hand, would prefer Jeezus stay home.

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  3. There's no arrogance in talking about the RAPTURE. The person who believes in the Rapture had to humble himself or herself and recognized that he or she is a sinner, believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to be his or her Lord and Savior. It takes a lot of humility to accept that one is a sinner and needs The Savior.

    As in the Days of Noah people will not believe but when the flood came they all perished except Noah and His family with the animals of course. Don't jump into conclusions of arrogance when you do not know what it took for the person to removed all pride and ask God for forgiveness.

    You can be part of the Rapture:

    Dear God, please forgive me for all my sins. I believe you died on the cross, was buried and resurrected as payment for my sins. Please come into my heart, live in me, teach me and be my Lord and Savior. I accept your free gift of eternal life. Thank you Jesus Christ for saving my soul from fires of hell.

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  4. Anonymous - please pick and use a psuedonym to post under if you are planning on replying further - any more anonymous posts will be deleted. Not because I am afraid of what you say. Not because I think you won. Because it is my blog and that is my rule. If you aren't even prepared to have a psuedonym identified with your opinion you should probably keep it to yourself. Click on the drop down box below the text entry box, the one labelled "Comment As" and choose Name/URL and enter some random name and then stick to it everytime you post - it helps everyone else know who they are replying too.

    With that said, it is apparent that you and I are using very different definitions of arrogance and humble.

    I am using the ones most English speakers use, you are using ones that make arrogant religious people feel better about themselves.

    Feel free to enlighten us though - what definition of humble do you use that enables a humble person to self proclaim to everyone else that God would choose them ahead of 6.5+ billion other people.

    Show your work.

    Alternatively, please explain what definition of arrogance does not include claiming you are so perfect you are a shoe in for the perfect supreme being to decide you are so worthy you will be saved ahead of anyone else.

    Show your work.

    It does not take humility to turn to God. It takes fear. Until you understand that, there is little point in continuing the conversation.

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