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Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Dialogue on Roman pleasure

The last IM conversation of my series about religion in the Roman States of America.
(obviously, shrines.com does not lead to a site where you can make your own Roman worship shrine)

***

Vesta29 : Hey NoGods.
NoGods : Hello Vesta !
Vesta29 : After thinking about our discussions for a while, I found the problem with atheism. You people don't like pleasure, and so you take it out on our religion.
NoGods : How's that ?
Vesta29 : Well, for example, tomorrow is Saturnalia and...
NoGods : Oh yea, I forgot to tell you. Happy Saturnalia !
Vesta29 : ...
NoGods : What ?
Vesta29 : You're an atheist. You don't celebrate Saturnalia !
NoGods : Yes I do.
Vesta29 : Really ?
NoGods : Oh yes, I do celebrate Saturnalia. And Bacchanalia. What with the eating and the drinking and the trading of the clothes...
Vesta29 : But they are religious holidays. You're a hypocrite !
NoGods : Not really, no. For one thing, they started in other religions and mostly borrowed by yours, so we're both equally hypocrite about it. And nowadays they are pretty much secular holidays. Eating and drinking doesn't have anything to do with religion.
Vesta29 : And you trade gifts on SATURNalia ?
NoGods : Why yes.
Vesta29 : You do realize it's called SATURNalia, right ?
NoGods : Yes, yes, we've been through this.
Vesta29 : The Floralia ?
NoGods : Yea, we have floral dress codes at the office on Floralia. No big deal.
Vesta29 : The Feast Days ?
NoGods : What, no I'm not poor. But I do give for the Feast Days.
Vesta29 : Why do you give for the Feast Days if you're not accountable to the gods ?
NoGods : Well, I like to do nice things for people who have less than I do. It really can't hurt.
Vesta29 : But why ?
NoGods : Because I like it, and prefer to live in a society where there is less suffering. It's simple self-interest.
Vesta29 : That doesn't make any sense. Without the gods, there's no ultimate justice for you to account to. You can't desire to live in bliss in the Elysian Fields, or to escape the flames of Tartarus.
NoGods : Ah come on, that's bullshit. No one has ever reported such a place.
Vesta29 : That's not true ! Odysseus, Aeneas, Orpheus, and Theseus all went there and told us about it.
NoGods : Ye gods. Those are all myths.
Vesta29 : They are not ! They were all real people !
NoGods : No they weren't.
Vesta29 : When you die, you'll know the truth !
NoGods : No I won't. When I die, I won't know anything.
Vesta29 : Once again a nice example of the dismal ideology of atheism.
NoGods : It's not dismal ! Better than eternal suffering, if you ask me !
Vesta29 : That's where you'll go if you don't keep shrines and give proper worship.
NoGods : I don't have shrines. Besides, they have a web site for that now. You can maintain virtual shrines.
Vesta29 : That's not real worship !
NoGods : Sure it is. Go to www.shrines.com and choose your household gods. You can even sweep them using a little broom thingie.
Vesta29 : What is this world going to ?
NoGods : It's hurtling in space at 30 kilometers per second around the Sun.
Vesta29 : Doh !

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