he is a very funny man. i did laugh at him muchly. to that point where your face becomes painful and it's better to stop laughing or you might sprain a face-muscle. you will not be able to guess where i'll head eventually with this blog.
my two favourite observations were these:
from the killers song all these things that i've done a section sees them repeating the phrase "i got soul, but i'm not a soldier." nice little phrase that. but made up of two things that are completely disconnected. you might as well say "i've got ham, but i'm not a hamster."
my idea was "i've got a badge, but i'm not a badger"
secondly, bill talked about george bush. quite a lot actually. he appears to have had a recent switcheroonie with his focus and rather than basing all his comedy on owls and the west country and wooden panels, has become a lot more political. he described president bush leading america as something "pointless and harmless and stupid on top of a much more dangerous thing" . . rather like a bobble hat on a leopard. or a tanktop on a scorpion.
this bought up the point that america is starting to teach creationism over evolution in schools, which very quickly led to a debate about a book called the god delusion which seeks to disprove the existence of god and the pointlessness of religion. bill sought to get audience members to shout out summaries of the book, probably hoping for something like: the god delusion contends that a supernatural creator most likely does not exist and that belief in a god and religion, qualifies as a delusion, which the writer defines as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.
"christianity is stupid!" called out a drunk woman in front of me, helpfully.
i thought i'd paid for a comedy show, but in another situation i would've perhaps said "anyone who spends enough time and energy researching with a specific point and direction and a talent for the written word could probably write an intellectual book that encourages it's reader to believe every word, polarising their opinion and closing their mind to any other alternative. rather than creating a readership that is accepting of other opinions and ideas, he creates a group of people that are completely unnecessarily militant in their anger against anyone who happens to disagree."
that reminds me of something. =>
see, i told you you wouldn't guess where i was heading with this.
i've written about this subject before, but the down point of last night's gig has incensed me somewhat to comment on the idea again. you see, this book is one of the culprits that joins a long list of sources that cause way more problems than they supposedly seek to solve. it's a trend of the media to exclude religion and people of religion, to turn the average responder against the idea of faith. religious people are publicly displayed to be freaks, or idiots, or dangerous. in modern times, the latter is an easy portrayal and probably sells you a lot of books or airtime.
what annoys me is the focus on the fraction of religious people that are freaks or idiots or dangerous, the reason being "because it's good telly." the normal person with faith, 99.9% of christians, muslims, jews etc. are harmless and reasonable and just living out their life in a way that makes them happy and comfortable. but there's no point in writing a crime thriller about andrew macintosh who has a wife and two kids, has never raped or abused anyone, never committed murder or any acts of terrorism but does run a church hall youth club every saturday and takes his family to church on a sunday morning before going to his mum's house for roast lunch.
here's a question for you: the 0.01% of human beings who are freaks, idiots or dangerous.... where would you rather they were?
a)within a social community (religious or otherwise) who are most likely trying to help them and guide them towards a more reasonable life outlook, possibly seeing they have psychological disorder and seeking out specialist help.
b)at home, alone and unmonitored with only their damaging psyche for company.
islamic fundamentalism is to islam
as the ku klux klan is to christianity
whatever you believe about religion, the truth is that the vast majority of people with faith are not militant and angry and seeking to destroy everyone else. they're just living with a quiet respect for their god, with a comforting feeling that there is something looking over them who has a bigger plan that we as humans can never comprehend. i'm pretty comforted by that. it's my belief that is the truth. that's what helps me live my life as a good person. but i'm not you, you probably have a different way of doing it and that doesn't bother me in the slightest, as long as your aim is to be a good person. if your aim in life is to be an arsehole we probably won't get along very well, and i won't feel any kind of loss at that.
unfortunately, there is a huge cross section of society that read, see or hear something and instantly believe and accept it without considering their own beliefs, the beliefs of the people around them or any additional research or evidence around the subject. these people watch the news and accept it as the whole truth and nothing but the truth. even bbc news, with it's aim of indifference and unbiased reporting can only broadcast a portion of the events of the world. if you don't believe me, try and summarise the entire iraq war in three minutes... go! it becomes a sort of "me tarzan, you jane" reporting.
"israel good, palestine baaad."
i'll finish with an analogy that interests me:
three people are blindfolded, led to an elephant and encouraged to touch it. the first is a christian. he says that the thing he feels is long and muscular and bendy so it must be some sort of large snake.
the second - a muslim - says he feels something wide and vertical and round with a rough surface. it must be a tree.
the third is an agnostic. he feels a solid surface with a rough texture but from where he's standing he can't feel any edges or get the idea of what shape the thing is.
there is a fourth person. he's an atheist, but he's in a different zoo and there aren't any animals there.