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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Club Awesome- A Parable

Suppose there is a group called Club Awesome. Club Awesome has chapters all over the world and anyone can join CA by simply saying "Yabba dabba doo" in the presence of another club member.

Like any club, CA members have many rules. The have a book which lists all 138 of them. CA members who break the rules are punished by being forced to hop on one foot for extended periods of time. However, those who leave CA are hunted down and bludgeoned to death with a ceremonial mallet. Non-CA members too face violence for criticizing the eccentric practices of CA.

CA rules require that members adhere to a strict diet which forbids all food except pears and bacon cheeseburgers. CA members in prison and other public places demand to be served according to their laws. Establishments which wish to cater to CA members must receive a blessing from CA elders, who must spend and afternoon doing cartwheels through the place while wearing tinfoil hats.

Once a year, all CA members must spend a week walking backwards. CA women must walk backwards whenever they leave their homes unless they are with a male CA member. Employers and the government, of course, are pressed to accommodate these customs.

All this sounds pretty silly, doesn't it? Would you fault people for refusing to deal with CA members and laughing at them? Or even pushing for laws against their customs? How much tolerance would other people extend to a group like this?

Now imagine that CA is also a religion with a holy book, its own language, millions of members, and a hierarchy of leaders. Would those things make CA less silly? Would it oblige people to respect them?

I think the answer is clear.


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