Monday, January 5, 2015

On Anger

You should be angry. You should be furious.

Tomi Ungerer said that anger and all its accessories is an excellent tool for inspiration. As a young man who lived through Alsace in the war and post-war years, he should know. Vitriol has always been a staple of making some truly provocative art, and everyone from John Osborne to Pussy Riot has proven it. 

But anger is more than just the fuel for aesthetic provocation. It is a remedy to antipathy. It is the catalyst for passion; the precursor to action. In anger, we find ourselves full of the fire that is sometimes necessary to make change. 

So, when many friends and more detractors criticize my invective against religion, they are far more often attacking my method than my message. But the truth, gentle readers, is that we have been presented with much to be angry about. It would be too easy to mention FGM, or that Texas approved textbooks that illustrate how Solomon and Moses were American Founding Fathers, perhaps. Holding a match to a bare nerve is torturous, but only lasts a long as the match. 

No, my friends, be angry in the same way you are hungry: satiated briefly, but flare again when need arises. And need has arisen. In the overwhelming struggle against theistic malice, even I have felt the temptation of simply not caring, because that would be so much easier than reading every new headline detailing yet again how our world is being dominated by the delusions of people whose primary goal is their own salvation. Even as I type it, I feel the burn again. 

So, no, friends. Do not go gently into that good night. Keep writing. Keep debating. Keep yourself alive with purpose -- and if anger is your tool, then so be it. But do not bow to those who think your invective is a therapeutic outlet as opposed to the dignified outrage that religion so rightly deserves. As long as I stay angry, I stay aware that something in this world is terribly wrong. 

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.  

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