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.
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.”
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.