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The Burning of Things

September 11, 2010

I just had an idea thanks to all the Koran burning controversy. What I’m about to say I don’t know if I believe and I know I’m not qualified to speak on such an issue, due to my whole agnosticism and all, but it’s an interesting idea to me at least. Anyways, I’m going to stick to Christianity because I know it best, but feel free to apply this to any religion.

Let’s pretend I’m a pastor of a church or something. Sermon time. I walk up to the front and stand there and look out over my flock for a few seconds. I wordlessly reach into the podium thing and pull out a Bible. Out comes a lighter. Preferably this one (I just bought it and I love it more than I will love my kids, despite the fact that I have absolutely no use for it). So, I take out my miniature flame thrower, and I light the Bible on  fire. I drop it on the tile floor beneath me and let it burn until there’s nothing left. I then go on to explain that yes, while this book is the main way that we as God’s people know about our past and our God, it is nothing but a symbol of our faith. I may have just burned this Bible, but because I still believe firmly in Christ and have true faith it doesn’t matter that I just incinerated a mere human representation of God’s word. In the end faith is all that matters (or good deeds and that shit if you’re Catholic), and the bible is just a bunch of pieces of paper.

I doubt that the scenario I just described would go over well in a church. But do you get my point? It’s not that I don’t understand the anger of the people mad over Koran burnings, or Bible burnings, or even American flag burnings. In the end, though, does it really matter? Burnings are symbolic gestures. Yes, they’re inflammatory (pun intended, I’m sorry), but do they pose a threat to your way of life?

Feel free to disagree. Personally I think that the burning of stuff symbolically is stupid and it shouldn’t be done, but getting irrationally angry over it is just as bad. I think people need to take a step back and think about whether this stuff really matters. Call me crazy, but I like to prioritize my anger.

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