Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lo! There Shall be a Clarification!

There's an "internet me" and a "real life me". Some people have more contact with one than the other, and some people spend equal time with both. With that said, sometimes I need to realize that the "internet me" doesn't always give a true picture of who I am and what I'm all about.

This came up today, as I posted a Facebook status that read: (I'm) "glad that I didn't decide to try going Kosher this month, as I'm thinking that I might want to get a swine flu shot." Personally, I thought that I was being capital H Hilarious. After all, what a ridiculous notion - thinking that there's something unkosher about the shot because it's called the "swine flu vaccine". Instead of accolades as to how damned funny I am, I got a comment from an old friend who called me out on the fact that Jews value their overall health above following the dietary laws to the letter.

Now, the person who wrote this is somebody with a sense of humor and somebody who gets irony. He even understood that I was joking, but he didn't like the implication that there might be some Jews out there who really wouldn't get the shot for that reason. (Or other religious groups who are more concerned with dietary laws than being sensible.) Is he just being sensitive? Maybe. But maybe I'm not giving an accurate picture of what I really know and how I really feel about these things. My mind started to rattle off a bunch of times when I was informing people with my whole "Ramadan It!" experiment how most Muslims allow for all sorts of exemptions when one's health may be at risk. (Like how pregnant women, the elderly, the ill, etc. don't need to observe it.)

I even started looking for blog posts where I wrote about that very thing, but I was unable to find them. How can that be? I've expressed this to many people! The problem is that these kinds of things came out in conversations and not my blog posts.

And let's be fair - I am VERY critical of religion. Sure, I have the odd post here and there where I express how important religious stories can be. I also expressed that the idea of sacrificing something was probably more of a good thing than a bad. Still, if you could print out my anti-religious feelings and my more conciliatory feelings, the anti pile would tower over the other.

I still stand by the things that I've said. I do genuinely believe that religion is antiquated and humanity is ready to do without it. I also think that it ultimately does more harm than good. Still, I'd hate for people to think that I believe that a Jew would rather starve to death than eat a BLT. Is it possible that there are some out there who would? I suppose so, but I doubt that I've ever met one.

And I'll also continue to criticize those who DO take their religious beliefs too far and sacrifice the health of not just themselves but of children. In that case, I'm talking about the kinds of people who'd rather pray for their sick children than send them to a doctor.

So, even if I don't need to eat this crow, I'll go ahead and take a big old bite. I do realize that most religious folks will go with common sense when it comes to life-and-death decisions, and I'm sorry if I ever made it seem like I didn't acknowledge that.

This Stan Lee Challenge was inspired by Fantastic Four #43: "Lo, There Shall be an Ending!"

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