A tremendous new show I’ve been watching is Louis, where we get to spend 30 minutes each week in what’s possibly a not so far from reality world of comedian Louis C.K. At the time of this writing, episode 07 isn’t on the page of the first link but it’ll probably appear after episode 08 airs on the 10th. In episode 07, we get a glimpse of his mom. What I found interesting, especially as an only child, is how radically different his and his brother’s opinions of their mother were. Speaking to each individually about their mother, you’d think they were talking about two different people. How is that possible?
Shifting gears slightly, I saw this today, an interview with Anne Rice, the famed vampire novelist who rediscovered her belief in her god and Catholicism. Well it seems she’s off that last bit, “in the name of Christ.” Yes, she’s given up Christianity “in the name of Christ.” In her words, she’s left Catholicism because…
“In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.”
On Louie, I found it interesting how his brother needed his mother’s love, and needed to speak with and be connected to her, despite what a monster she apparently was. His need seemingly overrode or completely blinded him to what she really was. Rice, it seems, went through that phase with Catholicism and now, finally, can’t go on ignoring that sect’s beliefs and practices and has parted ways with it. In fact, it seems she’s parted ways with all organized religions, “in the name of Christ.”
If you’ve spent any time online where the issue of Christianity and religion is discussed and debated, you’ve probably come across those self-proclaimed Christians who also don’t belong to a church and are anti-organized religion. Many, in fact, claim to simply be followers of the teachings of Jesus, perhaps doing something like Thomas Jefferson did when he ripped all the supernatural elements out of the Christian bible and created his own bible. These people, like Jefferson before them, can pen some scathing remarks about organized Christianity and its followers yet still need to hold on to their Jesus. This seems like a radical, last ditch effort to salvage what they can from their former binky, because god forbid should they go without a binky.
But is that so radical? I really don’t think so because every Christian consciously jettisons the elements of their religion and their holy book which they don’t want, like picking that dog hair off the pacifier before putting it back in their mouth. This isn’t just the action of individuals, for every sect of Christianity is an organized practice of deciding what to pick off, what to leave, and even what to add to that pacifier. Arguably this practice has gone on from the beginning. This was, after all, the point of the first council of Nicaea, a concerted effort, prompted by Constantine, to reach a consensus on the binky.
Certainly to a man like Jefferson and in today’s climate, individual freedom is what’s sacred, so it should come as no surprise to see more and more so-called Christians like Rice who no longer need an organization nor a consensus of others to arrive at how their binky should be. Today, people feel confident in making their own decisions, and religion is not immune from that. Sure, they may call themselves Christians and even justify their rejection of Christianity “in the name of Christ”, but they’re simply preparing their own binky. But why the need for the binky? Why, can’t these people be more like Louie, rather than like his brother? Well Rice sums it up pretty well. When asked about returning to her vampire series, she said she couldn’t, and gave this explanation:
“When I wrote those novels, I really was an atheist, and I was a pessimistic atheist. And those novels are all about what it’s like to live in a very dark world, and a meaningless world, where anything can happen to you and there is no real almighty witness, and I can’t go back to that”
Some people, for whatever reason, need their binky, but I suppose we atheists should see their growing desire to pick more and more of those hairs off and growing unwillingness to share the group binky as something positive. Quite the opposite of positive, yet still awesome and a growing earworm for me is the theme song to Louie, which I’ve found is an adapted snippet of Brother Louie.