Deliberate Ignorance: Books Are Bad

As I’m cleaning up stuff from my time at About.com, I stumbled across this gem of a public comment on the Facebook group dedicated to my Alternative Religion about.com site, and I just had to save it for posterity.

facebook-witches

Forget the fact that this writer is clearly what I shall call an angrypagan: a neopagan consumed by the idea of various forces (here the Catholic church; Christianity in general is commonly the target) actively persecuted their people through history.

Forget the fact she’s repeating blatant pseudo-history in suggesting that being a “witch” meant you were some sort of benevolent wiseman or wisewoman, and the Church demonized the term for their own goals.

Forget the fact she can reference no source, no evidence, no anything to back up her claim that I’m a big, stupid meany.

It’s the last sentence that gets me: “i suppose you only have your books to read from[.] some expert you turned out to be.”

Books bad.  Learning bad.

I’ve dealt with the deliberately ignorant before: those who continue to repeatedly blatantly wrong information even in the fact of obvious contrary evidence because it serves their purpose.  But never have I been told that facts are simply bad.

Here the most glaring error has nothing to do with her view of historical witches, which was her original point.  Here, the terrifying point is that she effectively invents a story to counter my argument which is a fact to be found in any textbook.

I forget.  Books are bad.

You can still Google it.

In response to the fact that both Catholics and Protestants executed witches, Sybil decides that Protestant behavior was somehow dictated by the Catholics.  If Protestants were trying not to offend Catholics, they wouldn’t be Protestants.  Five hundred years ago, “Protestant” pretty much meant “I think Catholicism are stupid, thus I protest.”

YOU MAY LIKE:  It's Like the Bible...With Explosions

Catholics and Protestants regularly killed each other over their religious differences.  In Sybil’s version of things, the church looks at a Protestant community and says, “You know,considering you’re blasphemous heretics who deny the true nature of God, insult his representatives on earth, contaminate the innocent with your filthy preaching and risk their salvation, and will surely burn in hell come Judgement Day, I should totally call for your destruction in defense of your neighbors.  However, I see you hung a bunch of witches last week, so…I guess we’re good.”

But, again, that’s not the worst thing here.  The worst is the idea that studying and learning, rather than embracing and inventing whatever feeds your persecution complex, is inherently bad.

3 comments

  • Dani

    Yay, I found your blog! It’s good to read your words again! 🙂

    I know the type you’re talking about — anything written by anyone with a level of education is “bad” because they’re just covering up facts, and all one needs to do is find a website written by a hack with no credentials, read it, and one knows everything. This is the same kind of ignorant, anti-intellectualism found in any religion, and neo-paganism is not immune. People believe what fantasy they want to believe, and anything outside of it is to be ridiculed as “nonsense” as it doesn’t agree with their pre-conceived notions. Personal gnosis trumps actual scholarship in the minds of these folks. -D

    • Cassie Beyer

      Were you following me through about.com, Know, Will, Dare, or somewhere else?

      In the case of Know, Will, Dare, it was originally entirely religious, and I just couldn’t stick to it. I tried rebranding, but it just felt wrong. Starting over was the best thing for my mindset toward writing.

      About.com was a job. obviously there were expectations about topics there.

      I tend to get distracted by shiny things. I have accepted I just can’t keep to a single topic.This, this site will be more organic.

      • Dani

        It was at About.com I enjoyed your articles and directed several of my fellow neo-pagans to the “Wicca for the Rest of Us” site as well. There were several interesting people that used to comment on your posts and some…less than so interesting. 😉 But such is the way of the Net I suppose. I look forward to reading your thoughts here now! BB! -Dani

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *