That is the Wrong Meme

Thoughts of the day:

It’s that time of year again and being off of Facebook I have been wondering if how many times the Easter=Ishtar meme has been posted so far.  It happens every year and I imagine this year won’t be so different.  I mean, it’s completely wrong, from the Goddess that Easter is derived from to the fact that it completely ignores that ‘Easter’ is called Paschal (referring to the Jewish Passover) in almost every other language.[1]

I will admit that I have a horse in this game, being that I am a Christian and all, but the issue I have with this meme is not about my own personal beliefs getting bruised.  There are a lot of issues with Christianity in the modern world, and I get why people are angry or skeptical.  But the problem I really have with this meme is that people who swear that they rely solely on reason and critical thinking for their answers, seem to be incapable of putting their personal prejudices aside long enough to do a Google search.

I see this, not just with memes about religion; I have seen inaccurate memes about almost anything you can think of.  And I find it truly disturbing how quick we are to demonize in absolute terms anything we consider to be our enemy, when the real truth is that nothing in the world operates in absolutes.  Everything is one shade of grey or another.[2]

Let me be clear, this is not just an issue with the secular world, far from it.  Religious folk are just as bad, sometimes worse.  Faith is a source of strength in the face of doubt, but is too often made as an excuse not to use your brain (you know, that one God gave you).

I wonder if it is fear, fear of actually being able to see the other side of an argument, fear of actually seeing another person as just as complicated a human being as you are.  It is natural for us to want our enemies to be one dimensional: stupid, morally inferior, ass-hole, worthless, etc.

Has it always been this bad?  I want to say no, but I think it has.  Only now the forum for ignorance has become so large.  We are stuck looking at leaders and spokespersons talking at length about shit they know nothing about – politicians demonizing each other in broad strokes, people who know nothing about science talking about it like they know something, people who know nothing about theology talking about it like it is so simple, so one dimensional.   No wonder we are so confused, no wonder we don’t know how to make arguments that aren’t filled with logical fallacies or even downright lies.  I don’t expect for people to set aside their prejudices and put in the hard work that is needed to truly understand another point of view[3], but how hard is it to just do a quick Google search?

[1] Check out these blog posts about the meme in question: http://bellejar.ca/2013/03/28/easter-is-not-named-after-ishtar-and-other-truths-i-have-to-tell-you/ or for a pagan perspective: http://www.moragspinner.net/the-ishtar-easter-meme-and-pagan-anti-semitism/

[2] Will I ever be able to use that phrase again without cringing?  I vow to forever think instead of the song by the Monkees: Shades of Gray.

[3] I hope for it though.

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