## Persecute the Ceylon tea heretic

Take some cultural thing: the Harry Potter books for an example.

It’s not only the cavemen that irritate me, the bookburners and the banners, the religious people suspicious of anything outside their small circle of holy things.

No, I dislike the other extreme, too: the pious inquisitors who pen turgid tomes on how Harry is a deeply Christian allegory, really: because Rowling couldn’t have chosen to use the train station of King’s Cross, one (I suppose) of the most central in the central-est city of the UK, unless she jolly well intended to mean the Christian king and his cross. (This is a real example. Commence headdesk now.)

You could say I don’t like exclusionist religion (“Not an intimate part of my religion, thus can’t like it”), and I don’t like inclusionist religion (“I like this; thus it must be an intimate part of my religion”) either; partly because they get so often applied counter to facts (D&D is not Lucifer-worship, thank you so very much; and I’m pretty certain Rowling didn’t put the phoenix in because some Christian mystic compared its “resurrection” to that of Jesus, and if she didn’t, “finding” such subtexts is somewhere between silly buggers and pareidolia), and partly because they are irrelevant considerations anyway, unless monomania is what gets you off.

I guess I would be similarly irritated (though more inclined to wonder than to grumbling) were someone to take the similar position with, say, rugby.

“What, Ceylon tea? That’s hardly ‘a refreshing cold drink after a heavy game’. Oh, wait. Then it’s heresy! An unbeliever! Persecute! Kill the heretic! (etc.)”

“That the Earth is of somewhat prolate spheroid shape should surprise no-one, for that is the shape of the Ball of the Game also. Scrum.”

Now, someone might hold up the reeking red herring that science does this too: but I don’t think people of scientific bent ever reject heavy metal or role-playing games because they are not scientific pursuits, or try to justificate them as big stealth-scientific endeavors before they can enjoy them.

The same works for atheism — a few weeks ago I saw the last two thirds of the movie Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, which most certainly has a god in it, but it would have been absurd for me to fret over it. (Well, it helped the god was a goddess, and that goddess was Eris Discordia!) It’s much the same, I hear, for those atheists that like Bach or similar organ-smashing religious music — music not only theistic in content, but theistic in intent, too. It would be a bit gross to dress up every single thing as a serious, doctrinally acceptable pursuit (er, shades of the Soviet Union there), or to throw out what didn’t fit some tighter set of rules.

Something that rose up writing this was that if I formulate exclusionism as “not-religious leads to not-likable” and inclusionism as “likable leads to religious”, they’re logically the same thing, $\neg B \to \neg A$ and $A \to B$, and indeed they obviously are the same sad impulse: “I have this big good thing, and all good must be related to it”.

And like I said, it would be silly to demand everything to have a connection to rugby, religion or science for it to be “okay”; but the world is a big place and some people seem to crave that “okay” from somewhere.

* * *

Also, to the painfully pedantic ones: The Earth is not a prolate spheroid (tapering poles) but an oblate spheroid (“squashed” poles); but maybe this means the Earth is anti-rugby and an intolerably evil thing, then. That’s why you get the ball up, up and away.