Rafa\’s Corner of Nonsense, Part Deux

… where Rafa\’s thoughts see the light of day…

You Win, Religious People: God Doesn’t Love Me

I had always fancied myself quasi-religious: although I did not necessarily subscribe to all the trappings of Christianity, I did believe we were created as equals by a loving God that, although ethereal, had a palpable effect on this world through the deeds of those who upheld His values of goodness, charity, and most importantly, love. However, it has become apparent of late that perhaps my faith in the fairness and love of this God have been woefully misplaced, which is a fact that has been revealed to me thanks chiefly by those who supposedly follow His word the closest: deeply religious people.

When California’s Proposition 8, which if approved would inscribe in the state’s constitution that marriage was exclusively between a man and a woman, passed, I was saddened first because as a believer in freedom and equality, this was a stunning blow to what I deemed was the positive forward progression of civil liberties in the United States of America: California already allowed same-sex marriage, and this reversal had implications not only in that state, but also for other states that, emboldened, would inevitably be following suit in upcoming elections. I was also saddened because my fiancé and I were making tentative plans to seal our union by getting a marriage license in California (a mostly symbolic gesture, since our native state of Texas had already passed a similar proposition, thus making our marriage null and void where we live).

However, what dealt the most personally hurtful blow to this outcome was learning how it had been religious organizations (mainly the Church of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons are they are commonly known) that had not only donated heavily to the cause of passing Proposition 8, but also organized community door-to-door campaigns to spread their message. Bear in mind that this was not a massive, well-organized campaign to end world hunger, to stop the genocide happening right now in countries we do not hear of on the news because they are poor, or even to ensure that homeless people had somewhere warm to sleep this upcoming winter; no: all this money and effort spent by devout followers of Christ was to prevent the state of California from granting legal benefits to consenting adults of the same gender that wanted to prove their commitment by getting married.

I have read that their spokespeople have stated their message was not “anti-gay,” but rather “pro-marriage”: however, spending that much time and money preventing gay people from getting married belies that argument. More out-spoken detractors of same-sex marriage have protested with signs that read things like “God Hates Fags”: and you know what? For the first time in my life, I am inclined to agree. It is easy to dismiss the hateful ramblings of a few fringe zealots, of which, after all, there are in any group; however, when so many church-going, God-fearing, well-meaning religious people do what they did to make sure Proposition 8 passes, I can no longer deny what is painfully true: God does not love me.

If God did love me in spite of my homosexuality, why would the Bible, the sacred book written from His divine inspiration, be full of explicit anti-homosexual sentiment? Why would God have penned such words, if He knew that, millennia hence, they would still be used as fodder for hatred and rejection of millions of His own children? If God wanted to make it clear that homosexuals are, to His eyes, just as loved and worthy of respect as heterosexuals, why didn’t Christ make explicit statements to that effect, so that His followers would behave accordingly? The answer is clear: God wanted this to happen; this is His will.

God does not love me, and neither do His followers here on Earth. Though many claim to “love the sinner and hate the sin,” expecting me to believe that is, frankly, insulting: religious people “love” homosexuals in the same gritted-teeth, disingenuous way they “love” murderers and rapists, because not “loving” them would entail not being a good Christian. It is a contradiction to claim to love someone and at the same time fight tooth and nail to strip them of the same civil rights everyone else has (and rights they themselves briefly enjoyed), only to cause them anguish and feelings of despair. If they loved homosexuals as they claim, they would show it with deeds, not just say it with empty words.

So, religious people, you win: you have convinced me that the God I thought had created me in love, actually condemns me for who I am, and how I did not choose to be. I feel unloved, bereft, forsaken. In your quest to ensure that my legal rights are squashed, you have won an electoral victory, and lost a soul.

Somewhere, God must be smiling.


November 15, 2008 Posted by | Rant, Thinker | 22 Comments

Children: blessings from God, or de– TIMMY, I TOLD YOU TO GET OFF THAT TABLE!! NOW!! 

Whenever I am in a public place, I always get the impression that parents, contrary to being happy to be with their children, seem peeved and ill-tempered.

Aren’t children supposed to be a gift from God? A blessing most sublime? I mean, how long does that honeymoon last? How long does it take to go from “She is the most beautiful baby in the whole world and I am the happiest person in the world!” to “OHMYGODWHYWON’TSHESTOPCRYING?!?!?! LORDPLEASETAKEMENOW!!!”?

Sure, you may say that we are more likely to notice someone in a bad mood than someone being loving, especially since a shouting parent is harder to miss than a quiet, loving embrace (and, if you were the one who said this to me, you can re-state it). 🙂 I agree that there may be some truth to this, but in today’s society I’d be more likely to notice parents being loving and sweet to their children than parents being impatient and in a bad mood, simply because I see it so seldom (plus, emotional displays are something I am quite likely to appreciate, since I scored 29/30 in the “Feeling” scale of the Myers-Briggs psychological test — which means I am always one forlorn violin solo away from bursting into tears).

So, which is it, folks? Are children, much like everything else in our lives, things we really want and when we get, the magic “wears off”? Or is there something special about children that even those parents who seem to be plotting murder are, underneath it all, actually happy to have their kids?

July 6, 2006 Posted by | Thinker | 8 Comments

Heterosexual couples: Nature’s greatest practical joke?

The other day I was forced to witness a guy and a girl shamelessly flaunting their Godful lifestyle and making out in front of me, and it got me thinking: aside from their mutual desire for each other’s genitalia, what binds these two people together?

I know I am not the first person to note that men and women are very different: I won’t belabor too much the point that while women like to surround themselves with pretty (but perhaps useless) things, men pretty much like to destroy them. This is why I think it is hilarious that Nature forces these two very different creatures to be physically attracted to each other, and to eventually get married and live together for the rest of their lives (or until they get a divorce). I mean, they should by all means mate and keep the race going, of course; but after that, why don’t men just go back to their caves to play Halo all night, and women just go back to their nicely-decorated homes to paint rooms with made-up colors such as “chartreuse” and “taupe”?

Now, I realize that, like they say in Italian: “Il cuore non si commanda” (which, loosely translated, means “Rafa is a pretentious prick“). You may say that Love (capitalized for greater pompousness) is the thing that unites men and women, but it seems to me that Love has the cards stacked against it from the get-go if men’s idea of fun is watching white trash NASCAR drivers ride ad-festooned cars in a circle over and over and over, and women’s is watching a movie where everyone dies so she can have herself a good cry and then take a jojoba-scented bubble bath.

I am not saying homosexual couples have it made, of course: there are always many differences even between people of the same gender. However, I would say that, in general, between people of the same gender there will tend to be more agreement in terms of mindset, priorities, and what is considered fun (although I’m quite sure many gay men are no strangers to the cry-fest followed by a bubble bath).

So, what say you? Does coming from entirely different points of view strengthen heterosexual relationships, or are they further proof that God has a sense of humor (as exemplified by the existence of the platypus, and Him putting our balls on the outside)?

October 5, 2005 Posted by | Thinker | 6 Comments

What makes you… you?

As almost all good philosophical arguments, this one was borne out of watching TV, “Battlestar Galactica” to be precise.

For those of you who are not watching this truly awesome show (you know who you are… and shame on you!), let me recap the basics: humans created the Cylons, a race of robots meant to serve mankind. They (of course), rebelled, and turned against humanity. Here’s the twist: the Cylons created human-looking Cylons that are indistinguishable from flesh-and-blood humans: they look, feel and sound human, have the same biological components and behavior as humans, seem to experiment human emotions, and some of them truly believe themselves to be human.

My first question is: why would they not be considered human, then? If they experiment human emotions (whether these are part of some “software” they are programmed to run, or the result of some electrical activity in neurons), doesn’t that make them human? If they truly believe they are having these feelings, and act accordingly, how are they any different from flesh-and-blood humans?

Another plot point of the show is that there are multiple copies of the same human-looking Cylon: some of them believe themselves to be the “real one.” So, the second question that arises from this is: what makes us who we are? Is it our memories? Is it our behavior? Is it our reactions to stimuli?

For instance, let’s say you have a friend who is 25 years old; if you could travel back in time and meet him when he was 8, and discarding any physical resemblance, how could you “tell” it’s the same person? Your friend at 8 years of age has different memories, different behavior, different reactions to stimuli than your 25-year-old friend. Is there any set of tests, quantitative or even qualitative, that you could administer to his 8-year-old self, that would yield the same result if you administered it to his 25-year-old self?

Is the 8-year-old version of your friend, then, a different person? If so, when are we ever “the same person,” if we are constantly gaining new memories, and being shaped by our experiences? Are we just a continuum of ever-changing selves that travel in time, shedding our previous incarnations at every infinitesimal moment, forever destined to being ourselves for only an instant?

Ok, I think I just wore out my keyboard’s question mark: now it’s time to hear your thoughts on this matter (knowing full well, of course, that once you reply you’ll be a different person than when you started writing). 😀

August 24, 2005 Posted by | Thinker | 10 Comments

Farewell to Clippy!

Before diving into my current rant, let me just say that I know I’ve been a lazy-ass lately and have neglected my blog. To my surprise, two of my friends (César and Omar) had apparently checked it a few times and have egged me on to write some more, so thanks for the support, guys. 🙂

Now, on to the rant!

If you have ever used Word 97, you have met Clippy. Here, in all his glory, is Clippy:

Clippy is a creepy, anthropomorphic animated paperclip (get it? paperCLIP -> Clippy? Oh! These geniuses at Microsoft, hollowed be their name!). Clippy’s job is to annoy the fuck out of you when you type, and pop up every once in a while and make inane remarks and suggestions about what you’re typing (à la “I see you are writing a letter to your baby’s mama! Do you want me to help you find nice ways of saying: Try and prove the baby’s mine, bitch!?”).

Even more unsettling was his lecherous leer and his suggestive wink, as though he were suavely saying in a thick, Banderas-like accent: “Oh, I can fix that for you. I can fix that for you gooood.” I’m sorry, but I prefer less innuendo from my office assistants.

Anyway, an article I read states that Clippy will not be on by default starting in Office XP. There were even some animations (voiced by Gilbert Gottfreid) depicting Clippy’s post-Word life, and a poll as to what he should do next. Personally, I think Clippy should be unbent and used for lock-picking, or at the very least, used to burst pus-filled boils; I’d be happy either way!

What do you think should happen to Clippy?

November 20, 2004 Posted by | Rant, Thinker | 1 Comment

Were Luke and Leia twins all along?

On my new Star Wars-inspired series of posts, I’ve come up with a new interesting question: do you think Lucas always intended Luke and Leia to be twin siblings?

All the while I thought no, that Lucas had made stuff up as he went along but, just being the egomaniacal guy he is, later had sworn up and down how he’s had the story written up along. (Granted, some years ago, way before the new prequel trilogy came out, I had seen some drafts of “Star Wars,” and I do remember he mentioned “padawaan” and “Mace Windu,” perhaps not as they were eventually used in the prequels, but he definitely had some ideas written down that he used in the prequels).

Anyway, I was watching just the end of “Empire Strikes Back,” and I definitely did see some elements that led me to believe that perhaps Lucas was, at least in this instance, not being a pompous blowhard. For instance, when Luke jumps after his battle with Darth Vader and is hanging from that antenna below Bespin, he calls out to Leia and she “hears” him sort of telepathically, very “twin-like.” Plus, in the very last scene, the way Luke puts his arm around Leia is very tender and brother-like, not romantic in the least.

Whether he really had this all planned out all the way from “A New Hope,” however, that I don’t know. Having a sister myself, there are just too many romantic overtones and kisses between them to make Lucas a very sick fuck if he really did intend Luke and Leia to be brother and sister in the end. My one word to you, Mr. Lucas, from “brother” to “artiste,” is: “Ewww.”

So, what’s your take on this? How much did Lucas know, and when did he know it? Let me hear it! 🙂

September 26, 2004 Posted by | Thinker | 15 Comments

Who can name more “artistes“?

In my latest post, I defined the term “artiste,” as follows:

There comes a certain time in every artist’s life when, in their minds, they metamorphose from an “artist” to an “artiste” [read with hoity-toity French accent]. They suddenly believe their view on all things artistic is somehow superior than everyone else’s, and that they have some God-given right to show the world how their aesthetics surpass everyone else’s. At this point, usually their work turns to shit and they turn into insufferable a-holes.

It occurred to me (actually, it occurred to a friend of mine, but since I’m writing the post and it’s my blog, I can give myself all the credit) that our modern world is rife with juicy examples of “artistes“: your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find me examples of other “artistes.”

If possible, try for them to meet the following criteria:

1. Someone with humble beginnings
2. Someone who, at least at the beginning of their career, had some positive artistic impact on the world (at least according to some people)
3. Finally, someone who, after becoming an “artiste,” has turned into a veritable dick

I’m very curious to see what you’ll come up with! Up and at ’em! 🙂

September 23, 2004 Posted by | Thinker | 3 Comments

George Lucas: Brilliant director, or egocentric, over-rated overlord of Evil?

I think it’s “egocentric, over-rated overlord of Evil.”

Discuss. 😀

September 22, 2004 Posted by | Thinker | 4 Comments