Monday, April 8, 2013

The Voice of Atheism

Male and Female Voices on Religion and Football

I found two interesting bloggers around the same time that I found Deity Shmeity, both of which make the same (but opposite) analogies between football and religion. The more interesting thing is that they're both right. While Football V. Religion makes the claim that football is superior to and unlike religion, Lady Atheist  comments in a post that they are one in the same.

The difference in the two perspectives is drastic, making both bloggers appear correct in their respective  opinions. The bloggers utilize their unique voice to express their thoughts and support their seemingly opposite analyses of football in comparison to religion. While it should be noted that Lady Atheist refers to American football, while Football V. Religion  discusses European football, these differences are arbitrary in that the true focus of the analogy can be boiled down to "team sport" vs. religion.

The first post I want to discuss (written way back in September of 2012) is entitled Unacceptable Behavior: Football v. Religion. The author quickly and effortlessly reveals through his diction and syntax that he is a devout and well-versed follower of football. His style flows in a way similar to a sports announcer: quick, poignant, staccato. Sprinkled with commas and packing punches with standalone fragments such as this one:


But allow me to delve deeper into the content that precedes this exclamation. After relating the life and times of football star Joey Barton, the author compares Barton's anecdote of crime and punishment to the apparently more forgiving rules of Catholic morality. Sin and repent, sin and repent, die and ascend into heaven. 

"Apart from the obvious 10 Commandments as rules of life, it seems odd to me that the Church and Christianity is content that the worst amongst us can be saved by repenting our sins. So what exactly is the fucking point of having a moral code if an evil and immoral life can be saved in 'injury time' by 'repenting'. Surely this is a get-out-of-jail-card for the worst in society."

His tone is casual, but his point is bold and profound. Though one pondered often by skeptics, this author phrases the argument in a new light, letting his unique voice as a blogger be heard. He utilizes profanity, but scarcely and well-placed. (Unlike my last last post in which I thoroughly overused profanity due to actual anger, in the future I'll cool down before I post). The tone of the paragraph above is colloquial; it conveys frustration and a willingness to seriously address the issue at hand with those of like mind. I get this feeling from his repeated use of "us" and other terms that imply he is addressing a larger body of individuals, which he also belongs to. His quotes over 'injury time' and 'repenting' mock the practices of the Catholic Church subtly, without being offensive. And those Catholics (or others) who would take offense could likely not muster a sound and logical retort.

"The Catholic Church has lost it's way, they have gotten too big, it is all about the brand and the message is lost, similar to what happened to Irish rock band U2. The church is now all about the church and only interested in the church.... What about the people ? What about the children ?" 

This paragraph comes a bit later, after the author has explained that Catholicism lacks a moral compass, and should mimic the sanction system used by football. Maintaining his sports-announcer-esque style, he uses a hilariously placed allusion to U2 to again mock the Church in a way so playful that it can't possibly offend. But the point still packs a punch when he asks the rhetorical question "What about the children?". Any mention of children is an obvious attempt at the strongest of all rhetorical appeals, pathos. But he uses pathos while keeping his reputation as a masculine sports-fan intact. His voice is obvious, and consistent throughout this post and others. This author is somewhat headstrong, but remains logical and approachable. His goal is to make his point heard even if someone has to be offended in the process. 

The Lady Atheist writes in a similar way, but she makes sure her readers distinguish writing as coming from a woman's point of view. This especially makes her voice stand out since women are significantly less likely to be Atheist. (This is a widely supported fact, which I find strange seeing as various religions and the books that correspond to these religions tend to do horrible things to females). 

Lady Atheist asks her readers the question Is Charlie Brown a Christian? The post is not very long, so I encourage a thorough reading of the whole thing. She is very intelligent, and doesn't always make her point (or the transitions between points) obvious to the reader, but instead allows the reader to force their way into her thought processes. In other words, Lady Atheist says it like it is succinctly, and let's the reader fill in the gaps. (Unlike me, I feel the need to explain in full detail every thought I think. It's a blessing and a curse). 

But the part of this post I really want to discuss is as follows: 

"As a woman, I say, "Go ahead and kick her in the crotch!" Yes, getting kicked in the crotch is painful for women too. We won't barf but we will double over, and this Lucy bitch deserves a taste of her own medicine." 

While this passage isn't central to conveying the intended message, it is key to establishing Lady Atheist's unique voice. The reason I find it intriguing is because Lady Atheist addressed her audience as primarily male (And she's probably right in doing so). She explains the sensation that women feel when "kicked in the crotch" as if her audience would not already know, because they probably don't. This passage is also interesting, because despite Lady Atheist's pride in her feminism, her intelligence and moral code transcend her desire to protect a fellow woman. This establishes her voice as a blogger immensely; she values logic above all else and is respected accordingly. 

"Would an atheist version of Charlie Brown be such a sucker? He'd say "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice..." and he'd turn to the side and kick Lucy in whatever body part happened to be within range." 

Lady Atheist is completely comfortable with a young man using violence on a young woman if said young woman needs some attitude readjustment. For this reason, I believe Lady Atheist is absolutely brilliant. She favors de facto equality of the sexes, and doesn't simply support her own sex blindly. 

But the real kicker of this post (no pun intended) is when Lady Atheist, contrary to the author of Football V. Religion, asserts that football and religion are one in the same. 

 "It's us vs. them, break the rules for a good cause, drop everything on the appointed day, and make pilgrimmages to partake of ritual foods. There are heroes and villains. And after hours of "play" nothing has really changed except a few numbers that will be erased in a few months.
...and quite a few people will have new scars and debilitating injuries.
Yep, football is just like religion." 

Her reasoning, just like his, is accurate. The reason they are both right is because the voices they have established respectively, utilize different facts about the same sport in order to convey the intended religious message that corresponds to the aspect of the sport that they discuss. More simply, it seems that the male author's interpretation of football is more characteristic of his voice as a male author. He compares the lack of a fair system of sanctioning in religion to the well designed penalty system in football. Meanwhile, the female author assesses her knowledge of football as a violent and meaningless game and relates this to the equally pointless "sport" that is religion. 

Of course, both of these authors possess a more unique voice that extends far beyond the methods they use to analyze football.  


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