Friday 22 February 2008

An embarrassing lapse into adolescent bad behavior

One of these days I will post about something Notes'y but apart from having just upgraded to V8.01 on two of our 15 server and a host of clients, which was remarkable in in unremarkabilty. I fear that is more a comment on the ease of upgrade than on any professionalism on my part.Not, I hasten to add that myself and my team are not professional at all times (just in case any management types are reading this).

To the topic in hand or at least in the title above ... I am a heathen, heretic and potential spawn of Satan to many up here in Northern Ireland. Which is odd, because were I the fruit of Beelzebub's loins I wouldn't believe in my father which could lead to certain Freudian problems in by psyche.

Psychiatrist: Well Mr McDonagh did you love your parents?
Me: Well no, my father was the first lord of Sheol, Guardian of Gehana and nemesis of Jesuits everywhere. But as there is no such thing as hell or demons my father is a logical impossibility and therefore so am I.

I can hear the little cash registers go KERCHING as I type this.

I digress ....

Needless to say I am not demon spawn even if the local pastor of the Free Presbyies may think that I am. I am merely an "Evangelical Agnostic" spreading the good word of being un-convinced of the benefits of bathing in blood of the lamb or the probity of a wrathful god, talking snakes, the occasional talking donkey and chatty if inflammatory shrubbery.

A conversation at lunch yesterday turned from EDI to things spiritual and I was asked was I saved ....Rather than answer yes or no, I made he mistake of pointing out to the "more-convinced-person-of-belief-than-me" person that he was, as a percentage, more of an atheist than I am. Since I am officially unconvinced I give the benefit for the doubt to Ahura Mazda, Brahma , Al'lah, Daanau, Odin and the plethora of other deities. Whereas he denies the existence all of them with the exception of his brand of celestial CEO. This basically makes him 99.9999% atheist and me 50%.

This was of course said with my tongue (both ends of the fork) jammed firmly in my cheek. However for some reason, his reply that I was destined to spend eternity in a lake of fire with tearing out of hair and gnashing of teeth (teeth will be provided for those dentally challenged - like me and most other rugby forwards). This reply, which normally follows such flippancy, for some reason rankled more than normal. I am sorry to say I got on my high horse and things got perhaps a little too heated. He was only a young chap and the sort of critical thought I was espousing was perhaps not something he had come across before certainly not at the speed and with the vehemence I used.

As a result last night I did feel rather bad about the grilling I gave him. T'was then I recognized that I had reverted just for 5 minutes back to the adolescent hot headed oaf I thought I had left behind in the early 70's .... I apologized privately this morning.

Hey ho ... I am adding be "more tolerant" to my list of new years resolutions even though it is nearly the end of Feb.


Nate said...

Steve, though I'm probably not a credible reference within the community, for whatever it's worth...

You were right.

Theists never admit their biases. That's nearly a law of metaphysics. Even for theists who have opinions that, in all other matters, I repsect enormously.

Steve McDonagh said...

Thanks Nate!
Sadly many people mix up the meaning of respect with that of toleration, and this I think is where the whole shooting match falls down.

I would hope that I (most of the time) tolerate those of different beliefs. Their beliefs are after all a matter for them and them alone. However there is an implicit or sometimes in your face demand for "respect" and in doing so are asking for deference to their belief that they they have a privileged position as purveyors of truth and as such have as a fundamental right to my proper acceptance, courtesy and acknowledgment that they are right.

For me to give this would be both foolish and insincere for how I can I give credence and wittiness to something I have deep reservations about ... alas this brings out the less tolerant side of me.

Kevin Pettitt said...

Thanks for a good Sunday morning chuckle - a morning which incidentally will NOT be spent trying to look awake and interested listening to the Methodist minister drone on which was my parentally-inflicted duty back before and during the reign of pimples.

Considering the not very ancient history of rather more heated arguments over religion in your part of world, I can understand why you might have given this a lot of thought.

Steve McDonagh said...


Ah yes., there is a whole new rich vein of nostalgia. What we thought about when we should have been thinking of other less worldly things. Especially when the sermon veered away into things like why the hairiness of Esau and the smoothness of Issac was of deep spiritual significance. Ah yes some of those daydreams were particularly interesting :)

Indeed, this wee part of the world in the far north of Ireland has been plagued by intolerance for many many years and although in no way were "the troubles" about religion per se. It did play a significant part, a part that played out even to absurd point that I was asked the question "Are you a Protestant or Catholic atheist?" not once but several times and it was usually followed by me getting a good beating for not being of the "correct sort".

As my multiple nose fractures will testify being of the "correct sort"
was never high on my agenda 8o)


Paul Mooney said...

Dont ever change.... You're right.

Kevin Pettitt said...

Sorry Steve but your comment notifications got flagged as spam so I only just noticed your response. I shall be looking forward to hearing more about how your nose has achieved is current form at ILUG. :-)

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