Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: C | Grade It Now!
Variance & Violations

So 30,000 Capricans would die in the fire, but "a select few" would be reborn: Specifically, the ones in your stupid cult. They all gag and delight and caper in their fake heaven, and Clarice explains her horrible, stupid idea.

"Only they will savor life everlasting, in a virtual heaven that we have built. The Twelve Worlds will see our paradise, and understand the gift that our God offers." Are you following? She'll explain more just how terrible this is: "We live in a remarkable era. Myth and mystery have been replaced by reason and science. I offer you a religion that removes the need for faith. A religion of certainty that reflects the wonder of all we have created. That is Apotheosis."

Okay. The reason that atheists and evangelicals are both so annoying is that they think reason and faith are the same, concrete, thing. Atheists adjust faith down to reason and point out how stupid it looks (Creationism, Biblical literalism, terrorism, the Tea Party), while and evangelicals adjust reason down to faith and show how stupid they are. But you're gaming the system by doing that, because most people of faith aren't going to fall into that trap, because they know God is a private matter and because they're better off shutting the fuck up about it.

Mealymouthed liberals always toss around this football of how quantum mechanics is mysterious or quarks or dark matter or whatever stupid thing, the God particle, but they're really just imputing the same basic fallacy: That religion is a system of thought, not a system of belief. We live in the house of our best accomplishment. If you're Ravenclaw, as all atheists are, you think smart is what matters. If you're an emotional Hufflepuff or a body-centered Slytherin like most conservatives, you think feelings or money are what matters.

But matters of faith are a road that goes north and matters of thought are a road that goes west. You will never get there driving that way. It's like trying to think yourself thin (taking Ravenclaw Road to get to Slytherin), or think yourself out of grief (Ravenclaw also doesn't lead to Hufflepuff). They are unconnected. A whole person has the entire map, and just a few blind spots that they know to account for. There's four suits in the Tarot, and none of them are trump. (Everybody thinks they're Griffyndor.)

So what Clarice is really saying is, the people of the Twelve Worlds have gone so far into Ravenclaw and Slytherin that Griffyndor isn't even a possibility anymore. And letting faith speak for itself isn't working, because sex and drugs -- as she well knows -- are way more awesome than self-denial. So how do you sell self-denial to people who can have everything in the real world, and double that in the Matrix? By building a disgusting highway interchange that substitutes Slytherin and Ravenclaw for Griffyndor, because they're too stupid to know the difference. They'll drink the sand. And if you scare them bad enough, the downsides of that -- the withering and eventual dropping-off of your leperous vestigial soul -- won't even matter anymore.

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