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Caprica’s Timeline March 20, 2010

Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Popular Culture, Television.
1 comment so far

I love Caprica. It’s bold, intelligent, and feminist, and it’s unafraid of the Big Questions of life — who is God, what is the nature of consciousness, what is reality?

But . . . Caprica is supposed to be set 58 years before the beginning of Battlestar Galactica. The Cylons will be created to be humanity’s slaves; they will rebel; there will be a terrible war; the Cylons will retreat for a generation, almost forgotten, until they suddenly reappear and almost wipe out their creators.

And yet, Caprica is almost indistinguishable from Battlestar Galactica in terms of hair styles, clothing styles, slang, and level of technological development. It’s basically 2010 with lots of impressive bells and whistles. They have Vipers. They have interstellar travel, and implicitly faster-than-light travel. They have multiple virtual worlds that combine role-playing games with Star Trek‘s holodeck with Tron.

Which is also fine. My motto is contained in the theme song to the late, lamented Mystery Science Theater 3000: “If you wonder how they eat and breathe, / and other science facts, / repeat to yourself, ‘It’s just a show, I should really just relax.’ ”

Nevertheless, I can’t stop thinking about how this is 2010, and how 58 years ago it was 1952. Imagine how different the hair styles were, the clothes, the level of technology, but more important the weltanschauung — the worldview, the value system. Think of how racist the world was in 1952, how misogynistic, how paternalistic, how fearful of the specter of Communism. How terrified that Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then in the recent past, might happen again, only this time the end would be world annihilation.

Every generation has its own fears, its own hopes, its own prejudices, is own angers. Why isn’t Caprica AT LEAST as different from Battlestar Galactica as 1952 is from 2010?

Hello, World March 14, 2010

Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Here’s my very, very first blog posting. An introduction, if you’re interested: I’m a freelance theologian, by which I mean that my interest is the philosophy of religion overall, rather than defending any one religion’s dogma in particular. What of God’s nature can humanity discern? Why are we here? What does God want from us? What, if anything, happens to us after we die? (Hint: Hell is an invention of the Middle Ages.)

I was reared Christian, but several years ago, I stopped following Paul of Tarsus. Here’s my thinking: the standard formulation for talking about Jesus is that he was “true God and true [human being].” (The actual ancient word is almost always MIStranslated “man,” meaning that most people are taught sacralized androlatry and misogyny.) Virtually all Christians take this formulation to mean that he was “God in a man-suit.”

It’s a safe bet that an actual human male existed on whom the myth of Jesus Christ is based. But we have only the word of Paul of Tarsus and his followers, including the authors of the Christian Testament, for Jesus’s alleged divinity. And we have only the word of the Christian Testament for why God, who is omnipresent and who can experience what it’s like to be human by looking out of YOUR eyes, chose to become “God in a man-suit.”

It seems to me that if Jesus really WAS “God in a man-suit,” then his followers ought to take what HE had to say more seriously than they take what Paul said ABOUT him. You have probably noticed for yourself that this is almost never the case. Jesus told his followers to love their enemies, pray for those who persecute them, bless those who curse them, forgive “seventy times seven” (the ancient formula for an infinite number of times), and refrain from judging anyone at all. Virtually all Christians pray only for their family and friends. Fundangelicals in particular feel free to sit in judgement upon and condemn homosexuals, uppity women, liberals of every stripe, in short, anyone who disagrees with them.

Fundangelicals also treat the Bible as if it were a history book — the kind of history invented around 1750 CE — and a science textbook. The Bible is neither. It’s THEOLOGY. Virtually none of the “history” it records actually happened in the Real World.

In short, I follow the real-life Yeshua bar Maryam (“Jesus son of Mary”) on whom the myth of Jesus Christ is based. I “follow” Paul only where his teachings overlap with Yeshua’s. If Jesus really WAS “God in a man-suit,” surely HIS teachings are vastly more important than Paul’s teachings. And if he was not, why care about Paul’s teachings at all?

I have a master’s degree in theology, summa cum laude, from the internationally respected Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. I could be ordained if I wanted to teach some specific denomination’s theology.

Don’t be afraid. Most of my blog entries will be random thoughts about whatever I’m thinking about that day, whether politics, Dr. Who, Buffy Summers, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, jokes, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever. If you’re a True Believer of any one religion, including Bush League neoconservativism, I am bound to annoy you. If your mind is open, even if just a teensy bit ajar, come along on the journey with me!