Sunday, May 24, 2015

How to fake the presence of God

Dear Hannah,

I'm not one of those people who says that all religions are saying the same thing.  I'm also not one of those people who says that all religions have nothing in common.  To say that Judaism and Christianity and Islam and Buddhism are similar is fair; almost as fair as saying they're different enough, about these similarities, to fight over them.  A Catholic might say the Devil isn't only in the details, but that he's purposely muddled them.  A Calvinist might say God willed the Devil to muddle them.  A Muslim might feel comfortable agreeing with the Calvinist (which is why he says things like en'shallah). Culturally, many of them might feel more comfortable blaming a Jew (which is why Jews don't want Arabs to get nukes).

Saturday, May 16, 2015

To love being American

Dear Hannah,

Being an American is a messy business, mostly because nobody watches the mediocre or the boring.  The whole world has better things to do than sing about Scotland, and none of the African states are interesting unless they're on fire.  The more power and prestige a nation has, the more attention it gets; and even the worst of nations is forgotten for a while unless you're living in it, or it happens to be disrupting the price of oil.  The greater something is, the more it invites our criticism.  The greater the power the greater the corruption.   The greater the corruption the greater the envy.  First the nation becomes big and then other other nations try to make it small.  Whether you live inside or outside a great nation, praise will be skimpy and the insults profuse.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Should women be allowed to drink?

Dear Hannah,

In an age of social liberalism you can expect to see many stupid things become legal. One thing that hasn't become legal and almost nobody has considered legalizing is childhood drinking.  And the reason nobody has really suggested it is obvious: because each and every one of us knows that children are idiots.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Summoning the Prince of Darkness

Dear Hannah,

When I was young my mom always advised me, if I ever thought Satan was nearby, to never attempt to summon him.  She was worried he might show up.  And so, naturally, I did what any young boy would do when asked to not do something stupid, and I asked him to show himself anyway.  I sometimes asked timidly, and other times with a manly defiance -- but I always asked.  I never really felt like there was anything to lose.  If Satan is in your room, you might as well know he's there for sure; just as it's much better to know if he isn't.  It's the sitting around and wondering that ruins a child's sleep.