When I toyed with the idea of writing about the touchiest subject known to man, the holy of holies, God himself, I incurred two types of “advice,” for lack of a better word. There were the tearful appeals for the continuing precious attachment of my crazy head, where I keep my crazy brain, to my body. Then there were the rather strongly asserted warnings about the justifiable separation of my not-so-precious shit-filled head, where I keep my shit brain, from my body.
I was told that I’d have to walk a thin line as not to offend anyone. So naturally I thought it would be a good idea to dismiss the thinner-than-a-cat’s-whisker of a line and stomp on as many feelings as possible… maybe even some cancer kids, just for kicks.
To many people, the biggest difference between Arabs and Westerners is really a plus-sized elephant masturbating to daytime television on your couch, sipping your coffee with his trunk: our religious beliefs. Its Team Jesus vs. Team Mohammed, then there is Team Atheist, but they always get disqualified. (I was going to mention Team Moses, but no one cheers for them)
I, on the other hand, disagree. Both worlds mostly believe in a religion, in prophets, heavens and the works. Both worlds also suffer from arrogance, such as the ability to think wear overalls is attractive. On one side, you have many yellow-haired people who believe Islam signed a sponsorship contract with terrorism. (Yes, this is the belief from which I milk jokes.) And on the other side, you have the olive-skinned hairy people, who think the yellow-haired are a nosy mass of people mislead by an obviously bulimic cartoon drawn on glass (that being Jesus). Granted, these are all valid points. (Offensive Nour 1 – Rest Of the World 0)
Both worlds also share this not-so-humble belief that God went through the trouble of creating an ever-expanding universe, making the planets, stars, galaxies, cosmos and the contents of intergalactic space, just for them.
If all of this is for just one species, then I’d like to nominate crocodiles. They can go without food for two whole years, now that’s something.
I think the real difference between West and Mideast is the ability to discuss religious belief. Talking about religion here is as acceptable as discussing the intimate, yet anaimalistic, sex-toy reliant, love life of your parents in a business meeting. You just don’t do it. You don’t talk about it. You don’t think about talking about it either, you sneaky bastard. Don’t think about it all together, you have a perfectly functioning BlackBerry and an adequate supply of Mars bars at your demand. What more could you possibly ask for?
I once dared to discuss homosexuality and God, two areas where I believe people can believe in and do whatever they like. Unsurprisingly, this was translated to: “I am a victim of abuse, which has led to an unidentified hormonal dysfunction, plaguing me with a serious case of the homos and destabilizing my pysche, making me liable to the temptation of the devil and stripping me of the light of faith.” Then the crazy logic was applied, which is when a crazy person denies being crazy, thus proving they’re cuckoo.
This is how it went down (replace the name peanut with “imbecile”):
PEANUT ONE (in response to the “homosexuality is not a disease” argument): “Gays are not normal, because God said so. And God said so because gays are sick. My neighbor heard if a woman eats a lot of pink jelly when pregnant, she will give birth to a gay ballet dancer. It’s scientifically proven.”
(I chuckle for two minutes, explain the hilarity of her circular reasoning for four minutes, and why one can’t use the equivalent of used toilet paper as scientific proof. Then a group of five peanuts join the conversation and more arguing ensues.)
PEANUT TWO: “Well, I have a gay friend overseas and he admits he is sick.”
(This is a perfect example of the Arab art of persuasion: you claim that you have a foreign friend that belongs to the group of people you’re discriminating against, and BAM! you’re in the clear, because if you were racist, why would they befriend you? Follow the logic? For the next two minutes, Peanut One is praised for her “rightness” and the rest storm off.)
Honestly, I’m just glad my head remained intact. I should note, however, that I was “debating” with upper-middle class people and higher. Anything lower than that, and decapitation would seem likely. This is especially worrisome now that over 50% of the representatives in the newly founded Egyptian parliament are sporting bushy beards and feel rather strongly about this issue.
This inability to talk frankly and honestly extends well beyond religion and includes politics, which is why we will forever live in a literal “hot-zone.” We don’t talk, we yell. And that’s why we’ll probably never invite Israel to the “Join if you live near or in the dessert” private group on Facebook.
This is why I wholeheartedly believe that the Middle East, as a whole, needs to have a heart-to-heart with Oprah. To explore its issues with communication and why these countries are so jealous and hateful of one another. The following depicts the dialogue that would most certainly take place:
PALESTINE: We were all happy, until she [Israel] came along. She won’t keep her paws [tanks] off my boyfriend [metaphor for the land]!
ISRAEL: There we go again, he was never yours. I saw him first; get it through your thick, veiled head!
(Catfight breaks out.)
SAUDI ARABIA: You guys done fighting yet? Good. So Oprah, let’s talk investments.
OPRAH: We’re here to talk about your feelings, Saudi.
SAUDI ARABIA: But what about the oil—
OPRAH: And for the last time, I don’t want an oil barrel named after me.
(Bewilderment prevails over SAUDI’s face… not that you can see it.)
MAURITANIA (lesser known Arab country): May I interrupt? I think what Palestine meant to say—
SYRIA: Quiet, they want real Arabs. What are you doing here again?
MAURITANIA: I have the right to be here, this is a free—
SYRIA: “Hey, we never said we were democratic!” [Real quote from Bashar El-Assad, Syrian President.]
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: “Shush, you guys! This is such a pivotal moment for the Arab nation. We must honor it. Umm, let’s build the world’s largest… err-Oprah monument. That way we’ll have the first and the biggest! We have a lot of those, Oprah.”
OPRAH: “Will it be like Statue of Liberty big?”
And that’s the end result of most western interventions… that and war, of course.
So I’m dedicating this column to those who refuse to talk and keep an open mind. And to the people who think their god is too sensitive to take a joke and to the atheists who have taken it upon themselves to “enlighten” the blind, mislead masses, I beg you all to be offended. God doesn’t need your petty tantrums, I’m pretty sure he has thicker skin than that.
If you still have a problem with the sight of a veiled woman or that of public affection for instance, then chew on a stress ball. Lost a tooth? Then send your rant to: IKnowBetter@SelfassuredProudThiest/Athiest.com
[The author was in fact decapitated shortly after publishing; her face now looks like a badly-flipped pancake.]