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19138Of Religion, Reason, and CarFreedom (WAS Re: Gosh, is the "G" (God word) that scary,,,?)

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  • Forrest Brownell
    Dec 1, 2008
      Tut, tut! Justice McPherson's hackles have been raised by Bob Matter's recent
      reflections on religion and unreason. This despite the fact that McPherson is
      "theoretically" on Matter's side, whatever that might mean (if anything).

      Include me out. I am myself deeply, if somewhat unconventionally, religious, yet
      Matter's matter-of-fact account of the follies of faith doesn't raise so much as
      a pin-feather on my righteous breast. Few of us are completely rational.*
      Therein lies the tragedy of the human condition -- and the joy. I strongly
      suspect that tragedy will carry the day in the end, of course, for all the
      reasons which Matter outlines and for many more besides. Still, this has yet to
      make me a convert to pure logic. A pity, that, but such is human nature. We're
      monkeys at heart, whatever we've managed to make of our heads.

      More to the point, McPherson seems to think it's a critic's job to mollify the
      objects of his criticism. Piffle! Critics are goads, and the prick of a goad is
      never pleasant. That doesn't mean it's not necessary, however. (Has anyone here
      read Stevenson's "Travels with a Donkey"? But I digress.) Let the wounded attend
      to their own hurts, McPherson, old son, and leave the critics, "rabid" or
      otherwise, to do their vital work undisturbed.


      I also can't resist a brief response to Phil Smith, whose concern for the purity
      of discourse on CarFree is affronted by this "wildly off-topic" discussion:
      Poppycock! (I can't use piffle twice in one post, can I?). The wrong-headed
      devotion that Americans (and many others) feel for their cars is
      quasi-religious, if it's nothing else, a triumph of feeling and faith over
      reason. Indeed, car-worship may well be America's unacknowledged state religion.
      It has all the trappings: sacrifice (blood-letting to equal anything the Aztecs
      got up to), great cathedrals (the Rouge River Complex), wayside shrines (the
      ser-sta-gro and its successor, the [in]convenience store), rites of passage (the
      road test, the annual vehicle inspection), and a creed (the Gospel of Happy
      Motoring). There's even a Holy Trinity (Ford, GM, and Chrysler, though these Old
      Gods are now sadly diminished) and a Paradise of sorts (the annual Detroit Motor
      Show, complete with celestial lights and vestal virgins). In fact, when you
      think of it, the daily commute is a sort of Pilgrim's Progress in reverse, a
      painful journey from the Celestial City of hearth and home to the dark alleys of
      the City of Destruction -- always assuming that the hapless commuter survives
      his (or her) transit of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, that is.

      Of course religion is relevant to the work of CarFreedom's good evangels! We are
      engaged in a struggle against evil, after all, and ours is the One True Faith,
      is it not? To think otherwise would be rank heresy.


      Ah, well. This has been fun, but I have work of my own to do.

      In the name of Our Ford, go now in peace and preach the Gospel of Liberation
      unto the motor-shackled multitude. Amend.


      * Matter may be the rare exception here. If so, more power to him, and may his
      tribe increase.
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