Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm Going To Hell

Today, I was thinking about intolerance here in America and in other places. It has so many flavors but where does it come from? During my life, I have been damned to biblical Hell, not once, not twice, but four times. I have been damned to Hell for being a heavy metal musician, a scientist, a humanist, and even a Dungeon Master.

The need to feel unique is what drives people to believe that they are on the cutting edge of civilization’s progress and that they, alone, are capable of understanding and protecting the institutions of their society. It is from this lust for uniqueness that people draw their human identity. Intolerance is born from their efforts to insulate these institutions from change because any people, that are physically or intellectually different, are considered a threat to the survival of the institution. These different people are then dehumanized so that either, they cannot reasonably participate in the institution or, so that they can be more easily isolated and eliminated. Intolerance therefore, is the manifestation of dehumanizing people. We do not tolerate those who are not human.
The first time that I was damned to Hell, I was just sixteen years old. A girl that I had dated, just twice, declared that I was “going to Hell” because I played Dungeons & Dragons. I told her that she must be correct since indeed, I played the advanced version of the game (AD&D) and not just the simpler basic version. The second time I was a heavy metal bass guitarist. There was a preacher in the parking lot of an auditorium protesting our show. He was up on the hood of his car yelling Bible verses at the crowd. On my way into the show that night he pointed his fingers menacingly at me and, even spitting on me, shouted, “You are damned to Hell! You’re a sinner!” All I could think was, “Well, I guess he won’t be buying any of our t-shirts.”

The third time that I was damned to Hell, I was politely informed by an animal rights activist that, because I supported scientific research on animals, I was a heartless human being and going to burn in Hell with all the people that kill whales. I suddenly had a humorous image of a flaming dolphin chasing me with a pitchfork. The fourth time, there was this guy who had decided that he was going to use computers to prove that God existed. When I explained to him that I have never seen any evidence for a God, he asserted strongly, that I was going to Hell. However, he did offer to pray for my poor little soul, but I lost my composure and told him to keep his prayers for himself and to get lost. It was not my best moment to be sure.

But, as you might imagine, I could care less. Judging by the number of times I have been damned to Hell, I know that I have quite a real estate venture going down there already. So if there is a Hell, when I get there and start sub-letting my apartments, I’m going to make a killing when everyone else from this life shows up.

- Just a peasant

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – BEST GAME EVER!