Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

Announcements for my standup comedy gigs are here at gregtito.com.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Wicked Wiccans

Ok, so I've been neglecting my little blogosphere. I'll admit it. 2 times in two months is not very satisfying (just ask my wife!) and I know it.

To be honest, I haven't had anything on my mind that I wanted to rant/write about. I mean, I think about crazy ideas all the time (like why is it every time we have a mild winter, people clamor that it's global warming in action? We've only been recording temperatures with any accuracy for the last hundred years or so. I'm sure there have been milder winters than this one.) but most of them haven't been spongeworthy. Plus, work, busy, blah, blah, blah, and the general excuses one comes up with for not doing something regularly that they should. It's not just blogging, I haven't been to the gym in 3 weeks. So not only am I an ineffectual and impotent blogger, I'm a ineffectual blogger with a fat ass.

On to what I want to talk about.

I got into a philosophical/religious email debate with a friend of mine who shall remain nameless. I won't go into the sordid (and there are many) details, but he has recently been exposed to the Wiccan belief system by a self-proclaimed vegetarian (not vegan.) He says that Wiccans revere nature, that all of their rituals and holidays are associated with the changing of seasons and other natural phenomena. The vegetarian chosses to be a vegetarian because they don't want to consume something which they revere.

I reacted negatively to this hogwash. I'm not exactly sure why. At the risk of offending my friend, I had to point out what I thought was wrong with that line of thinking. I guess I have an argumentative nature when it comes to religion. I was raised catholic, I was married in the catholic church, I'll probably die an guilt-ridden, alcoholic, child-abusing catholic, but I don't really go to church on days that don't involve rabbits, candy or trees. That being said, I enjoy arguing about theology and religion. It’s part of what defines my relationship with my mother and father, that I argue with them. It’s not necessarily a lack of respect. I think they are blind to certain truths which I believe irrefutable, and vice versa. I have accepted the fact that what they have chosen for their life is the best for them. The catholic religion has been a place of solace and comfort for my mom. It is nothing but monotony and misguided faith for me.

Wiccans seem even more misguided than catholics, if that's possible. My friend tells me that the vegetarian (it's getting harder to keep names and situations vague but I'm going to plow through it so as not to offend) is "one" with nature and cast spells, lights candles, performs rituals and sacrifices small birds. I made that last one up. See how easy it is to make fun of? I'm a big fan of fantasy and Tolkien and D&D and various dork practices, but I realise that it's all fiction. Somehow, wiccans never got the memo and believe that casting spells is how you go about dealing with life.

But besides the craziness of Wiccan, I've got issues with someone choosing not to eat animals for any supposed connection they have with them. For one, the animal doesn't care if you eat them beyond a fight or flee instinct. #2, humans evolved beyond animals by killing them. Ancient humans were able to eat more protein, which led to growing larger brains. Also, the killing of animals led to clothing ourselves in skins, using the fat to burn, and countless other technologies. To extrapolate, civilization would not have existed without killing a shitload of cows, goats and horses.

The vegetarian counters that it's okay to kill an animal if you personally kill it, skin it and consume it. Like that distinction is ok for some reason. Once again, I say that's like taking a giant step backward in human civilization. Let me explain: I’m not a hunter. I don’t choose to spend time stalking a beast, slaying it, gutting it, skinning it, hanging it, then butchering it. I pay someone else to do that. When I buy meat from a store, I am paying the farmer, the truck driver who brought it to me, the butcher who prepared it, the cashier who sold it to me and everyone else along the way who put that meat into my hands. Those people choose not to answer phones for a banking executive (who incidentally is probably connected to the subsidies which keep the farms in business.) When I buy that meat, I am trading my time for all of theirs. That’s what commerce is all about. What is wrong with that? Am I supposed to kill and grow all my own food? If that were even possible, I would spend all of my time doing so. It is precisely the specialization of different professions which brought about the growth of cizilization as a whole.

And it's exactly this kind of sloppy thinking that bothers me about the whole wiccan thing. It sounds all cool and spiritual to say, hey, I'm choosing to love nature and love my fellow man and cast spells (roll the die!), but it's also like choosing to live in a hut for the rest of your life and eat bugs. Yeah, it's possible, even tantalizing in our busy world sometimes, but we as a race have evolved past these vague superstitions.

All of this made me think about what exactly it is I believe in. It's not much, but to me, we are the only gods. Humans have learned to use their intellect and industriousness to shape our lives and carve out a comfortable existence amidst a dangerous and unpredictable world. Even two hundred years ago, natural disasters such as the Tsunami or Katrina, would have caused so much more devastation and death than they did in 2005. That is a direct result of man, not any god.

We have evolved past the idea of personalizing things we can’t control, like nature, weather, inspiration, etc. There is no God, gods or anything else out there. It's just us, baby. Just this Earth. And no amount of lighting candles, praying, casting spells, meditating, prostrating will make the superstition real.

8 comments:

MostlyModest said...

I don't feel bright enough to add any insight to this post. So I'll just say: boobies boobies boobies, sex sex sex.

Ian Savage said...

I too, could counter this...shall we say at the least....lengthy post. But here in this comment window, I haven't the room.

Maybe my next blog will broach the subject and we continue this banter in the virtual world.

I do so love a good banter.

Anonymous said...

Dude! The problem is you don't believe in God or gods at all. So to you probably any religion is suspect. You aren't practicing Catholosism and you haven't picked up anything else besides. That's an empty life you are living there bro! But that's your choice. And it's not your place to put down people who have more in their lives than just this earth and this life. Oh, but speaking of which that's part of what Wiccans are respecting - this earth, this life that we are living, the seasons that we experience because we are on this earth. What's wrong with that? No religion is any better than any other. It's all a way of relating to something which you claim doesn't exsist. That's your loss dude. Eating meat? Well I am glad that you support commerce. But the truth of the matter is that raising cows takes up tons of resources and is not a productive way for us to get protein on this earth that we live on. So each and every vegitarian is doing you a favor - one less cow to raise, feed, expel methane, etc. So tell them thanks. Thank the Wiccan's for giving a shout out to this earth that we live on and thank the vegitarians for leaving more meat for you.

Bob Jingle said...

I'm not sure where to begin.

"What's wrong with that?" I just wrote an entire post on what is wrong with the Wiccan belief system, to which you respond with "Dude." I respect the shit out of this earth, but I don't have to worship any crazy named deity to do it. It's a false pretext that we have to believe in anything. Why is my life an empty life because I don't have an antiquated belief in an omnipresent deity controlling my every deed like Christians/Jew/Muslims do? No amount of crying, "Dude," is going to change the fact that any religion is a dead idea which has lived past its usefulness to human society.

But you're right. Everyone has a right to believe in whatever the fuck they want. I can't change anybody and I don't even care to, really. But at least I think about these things and seriously attempt to have original thought. I find that the majority of people I talk to don't even bother to think about the basis of the world's religions and how it pertains to their lives. Why do you become a Catholic just because your parents were Catholics? Shouldn't more people think about it and choose their beliefs. I don't believe it is any more "right" to adopt some ancient tenets of Gods and Goddesses as enlightenment. It's a step backwards.

And Vegetarians do me no favors by not eating meat. They in fact make my life more annoying by their very existence. But I guess that's a whole 'nother blog topic.

Bob Jingle said...

I thought of something else on my over to my friend's house to watch the Uconn game re: your comments on vegetarians not consuming resources.

Every time a vegetarian turns on a light or drives their car, they are consuming a fuckload of a lot more resources than it would to raise a cow. Every member of our society is part of the whole resource-consuming zeitgeist that is our economy. Unless said vegetarian is living in a hut in Montana, they are not doing me any favors with their extremist attitude. Suck on that.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, your concern about wasting energy and resources. Particularly given the fact that you "wrote an entire post" (poor, baby, your fingers must be so sore) "...on what's wrong with the Wiccan belief system" without making any effort to find out what those beliefs are. It's pretty clear from your post that you're clueless about Wicca. Until you have at least some understanding, all your posts are just an exercise of ego. Just sophism.

Bob Jingle said...

I don't see you trying to enlighten anyone, O Mr. Anonymous, on any of the Wiccan beliefs. Are you suggesting that you know more about Wicca than I do? If so, great, offer some insight, argue with me, say something that I didn't think of before. But don't just sit there with such a snide, holier-than-thou attitude and call me egotistical for writing about something that I was contemplating. I don't profess to be any expert on Wicca, and honestly I'm not going to go out and read any books on it so I appear more knowledgeable to you in my post. Sorry, not what this blog is about. I use this thing to organize random thoughts that occur to me during my life, set them in a concise, readable form simply for the joy of writing. That's it. If you wanted a 20 page paper on Wicca, complete with footnotes and a fucking bibliography, you came to the wrong place.

And you completely missed my point re: resources. A previous poster (also anonymous not sure if you are the same, why doesn't anyone use fake names at least so I can keep you dudes differentiated?) mentioned that vegetarians save energy by not eating cows. My point was the amount of resources potentially saved vs. the amount said vegetarian consumes driving their cars, refridgerating their food, heating their houses and using their computer to type comments on blogs, is extremely negligible, if even measurable at all. So unless they are extremists who live in the woods and consume no public resources, they aren't saving any energy by not eating meat. Was that clear enough?

My next post will deal with my thoughts on extremism, which is more of a problem than anyone realises.

WWKnight said...

I know I became a Christian because I personally a) needed a change in my life, and b) felt God personally and knew that would be the only change that could help.

Since then, I have knocked up my girlfriend, and no longer attend church. Oops.

But the point is, I still stand firmly to the believe that Jesus is the only change in my life that can help me, and when my life is less hectic and it wouldn't be so damn inconvinent, I will take stock and try and right my path with God.

Now, I had a point, but I have lost it.

My main issue with wiccans is taht very few of them are wiccans. A lot of them are just there for the ride, and it's those ones who get uppity and stand offish when you say anything remotely negative about thier religion.

A true wiccan can "turn the other cheek" in a way that puts most "Christians" to shame. I, personally, love the ideal of Wicca. The relational bonds that is created in such an environment are really something I admire, and I wish our world can be like that all the time.

Yeah, casting spells is just darn right silly (maybe if they got a natural 20, it would work? 5% chance of uber leetness!) but thats what floats thier boat.

I don't know what this "Wiccans dont eat meat" crap is about. Probably one of the wiccans that go along for the ride.

Think about it. Nature - survival of the fittest - eaten animals everyday - part of the cycle of life.

What your friend is talking about seems to be overtly druidic, which is what wicca is based upon, but I have NEVER come across a wiccan who claims that eating meat unbalnces nature, or is messing with something they worship. I have known vegetarian wiccans, but that was a personal choice, rather than a religious one.

Wicca is about one thing. It's about love. It's about loving the world you live in, and the people you share it with. It's about loving the balance of nature. Eating animals is part of that balance. If anyone disagrees with me, tell me why lions eat antelope, antelope eat grass, dead lions fertalise grass. *Que Circle of Life music from Lion King*

yes, your friend seems to be in with a "poser" wiccan. The second mysterious poster seems to be a "poser" wiccan. Anyone who gets aggressive in defending against someone who claims they know little to nothign about wiccan are not true wiccans. A true wiccan would either smile at you and let it go, picking thier battles, or educate you and telly ou things you don't know.

Religion - They all have the same ideas, and they are 90% filled with people who jsut don't get them.

WWK