For the last day or so I have been chuckling to myself about how I suggested that Christianity, in an effort to reduce some of the criticisms it
receives and to lower unreasonable public expectations regarding its performance as an institution, should change its name to The Jesus Christ Fan
I'm such a wit.
Of course all religions could well do the same, just to underline the fact, for the public, that their practitioners might very well aspire
spiritual excellence and admire it, but can hardly be expected to embody
it, except in rare instances of individuals, who are largely ignored
Name changes that might well be in order:
Buddhism becomes: The Buddha Fan Club
Islam becomes: The Mohammed Fan Club
Judaism becomes: The Moses Fan Club
Hinduism becomes: The Veda Fan Club
Shinto becomes: The Venerable Ancestor's Fan Club
Voodoo becomes: The Orisha's Fan Club
Shamanism becomes: The Ancient Ways Fan Club
If these changes were instituted there would be a marked drop off in criticism of religion generally. People wouldn't takes its missteps so seriously.
Video of Korean Buddhist monks repelling the police in a seige of their monastery wouldn't be regarded as appalling and wouldn't make the minds of the
Buddhist public go completely "tilt". ("Tilt" is an old pinball reference. If you tilt the table, it stops functioning.)
People would regard such things as unfortunate but normal, as they do when some rock and roll fans riot because tickets are sold out or because a
concert has been cancelled at the last minute. Everyone knows that fans go berserk. These things happen.
If a fan of the Beatles, for example, were to be arrested for pedophilia, no one would blame the Beatles for poor oversight of their fans. Some people
might well be inclined to scour Beatle lyrics for hidden messages encouraging pedophilia, but surely the sheer number, undoubtely in the hundreds of
millions, of Beatle fans who are not pedophiles, would carry the day in exonerating Beatle fans as a whole from suspicion of pedophilia.
I firmly believe that if religions redesignated themselves as "fan clubs", there might very well be a surge in membership of all religions. Most
people, in fact, even if they say that they hate religion or hate a specific religion, will most often acknowledge that they are fans
something. Some sport, some entertainer, some game.
If the intensity level of membership in a religion were to be reduced to that of membership in a fan club, it could be the beginning of a whole new
era of spiritual harmony.
I was congratulating myself on how I had solved the problem of intolerance world wide, when I went into a meeting at the meditation center where I
It was the usual sort of thing. Humdrum financial matters were discussed, membership figures were noted with the usual mix of apprehension and
optimism. Reference was made to upcoming teaching events and social gatherings, maintenance schedules were discussed and stress was laid on getting
members to do their house jobs because the impression we make on the public is very important, blah, blah, blah.
Sometimes I find it irksome that an intellect like mine has to sit through all this.
Alright, I know I have my faults and that I can't really hit the sort of spiritual pitching that these other people can, you know, being a goody
goody, and never offending anyone and being clean and tidy and nice, etc, etc.
I'm more of a normal person, making an effort, you know.
And then the subject of smoking came up. It was decided we were no longer permitted to smoke on the premises. This has been in the wind for a while.
Our members are not immune to the tidal wave of anti-smoking propaganda that has been unceasingly sloshed over the public in this city. Furthermore,
none of them smoke, or admit to it.
I'm the only one who smokes in my room, which I am entitled to do, in accordance with the rules of the house, which date back to the 1970s.
This is all changing now. It's been in the wind for a while and I have been trying to be considerate while mounting a counter-offensive, pointing out
to people that burning incense in the house, as we do during meditation sessions, etc., is the equivalent to standing beside an idling internal
combustion engine. They have done studies on it. It was in the Star, it must be true.
To no avail.
It appears that it is no longer good enough for me to stand up in the chimney in the fireplace in my room to smoke. I now have to walk out to the side
walk in front of the house, twenty feet from the door.
Times are tough.
The meeting was just coming to an end when the chair announced that there was one more item, a late addition to the agenda. I sat there fidgeting, in
need of a smoke, and thinking to myself, 'don't these people have lives?', when I suddenly came to attention, because I was being addressed.
"Are you Ipsedixit?"
They were all looking at me.
"Uuuuuhhhh . . . . "
"Apparently, somebody using the name Ipsedixit, who lives in a meditation center here in Toronto, has been writing a lot of strange comments on the
internet. Do you know anything about that?"
"Uuuuuhhhh . . . ."
The chair person, a reserved, composed, soft spoken, goody goody type, was gathering papers together and putting them into a folder. Everyone was
looking at me.
I was trying to think quickly, a la
Bill Clinton. "The internet has a lot of strange things on it, uh . . . "
"Some of the comments are extremely odd. Political opinions. Some of it is clearly comic. Some of it might be considered risky, particularly to an
apolitical institution like this one."
"Oh", I said.
"There are also some comments on the subject of religion which, on reading them, I had to conclude couldn't possibly have been written by a member of
"Uuuuhhh . . . well that's a relief." I attempted a smile.
Everybody was staring at me. I tried to chuckle but my mouth was dry and my lips stuck together oddly. I tried to moisten them but I wound up looking
like a cat trying to vomit a hairball.
"Well, that's all I wanted to say on that subject. We are not interested in the vagaries of politics here and other religions and their activities are
none of our business."
There were nods on all faces, including my own. I shared their look of grave concern. I couldn't imagine why they would suspect someone like me of
The last thing said to me, as the meeting broke up was, "Good luck cutting down on your smoking."
I guess that's a hint.
edit on 20-1-2011 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)