Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meme on meme fighting.

The weather has been so pleasant and I've been right on top of my work, so I'm in much too good a mood to get all worked up and bothered by some stupid meme I saw online. 

It's not the stupidest meme I've ever seen online, but that's only because the stronger candidates have so much stupidity packed in them that it hardly seems possible -- like a white dwarf star of stupidity -- and this is close, but not quite there. 

And yet, I'm not going to let this push me into making an angry response. How do you respond to something this asinine?

Do you explain to the numbskull that the opening statement makes no sense? This person appears to be saying that the Buddha would reject all the teachings attributed to the Buddha, which, after all, is where Buddhism comes from -- but how do you make the case? Only by saying that you know Buddha beyond what the written record shows, which only makes sense if you've met him. Which is, shall we say, unlikely. (Ditto Jesus, Mohammed, and any other religious figures you want to shove into this statement.)

Does the person believe that all the followers of these religions have screwed up what their founders said? She or he (I picture an ivy-covered undergraduate woman with her parents' money and greasy hair and bad clothing) (I can make personal attacks too! Or would if I were to let myself get angry) would not be the first person to do this, but it shows a tremendous lack of historical and scriptural knowledge. Jesus, for one, specifically founds his church with Peter at its head. Seems like he had an idea for what he wanted, doesn't it? And if she counters that we only know that from the Gospels, well, how else are we supposed to know anything about Jesus? Beyond some non-Biblical contemporary accounts, that is. Should we text him? What we have is what we have, Peewee.

As for the second part of this meme, Badass Peewee thinks all of us who follow religions are blind to her mighty revelation that God is Love. This is countered for Christians by the fact that the First Letter of John says this without equivocation. Nor do we think that all other codes of conduct and religions are bereft of love. C.S. Lewis puts this brilliantly in his book The Abolition of Man, discussing what he calls the Tao, using the term as the universal code of right behavior found in all human societies and proof that God loves us and leads us. So yes, I am willing to concede to Peewee that in that regard she is right, and love is the ultimate goal behind the law. But to say that this is the sum total of all that the religious teachers taught is a classic example of impenetrable ignorance, satisfied and smug, unable to be taught or corrected.

Love, as it is understood by the kind of person who composes such memes, is just a feeling, is not enough, and by the time you're out of high school you ought to know that. But I can't teach Peewee all the facts of life.

The problem is that memes are really only good for a laugh. They have no space to construct an argument or provide basis for information. They are less weighty than a pop song. They feel like an argument but they can only be a slap. And that's what Peewee the Undergrad is doing -- slapping out in her universal ignorance at others who know things. Stop knowing things, people! You make Peewee feel bad!

Really, though, the only argument that can get through to a memeist is another meme, so here's one for you, girl:

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