"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

simpleton's picture

Today I found myself driving behind a car that had a rather interesting bumper sticker. The sticker simply said, “THINK.” And in place of the “ I” was an upright “Jesus Fish”. I found this amusing after all of the drama that has played out recently through the Citizen blogs regarding Muddle, his employment and the anonymous Judas (who does not remain as anonymous as they might believe) who somehow succeeded in getting Muddle canned for the most absurd reasons imaginable. There are a couple of ways this sticker can be interpreted. In one way it could mean something along the lines of “Think Jesus” or “How Would Jesus Think?”. I prefer to believe that it means that the owner of the sticker-bearing vehicle is a Christian who has thought long and hard about why he’s a Christian and what it means to be a Christian and who holds the seemingly unpopular belief that, just because he’s a Christian, doesn’t mean he ought to stop using his brain.
I have mentioned that I no longer go to church because of the “Holier-Than-Thou Bible-Thumpers” who frequent such places. I don’t have time to be treated in that manner and was unsuccessful in finding a church that didn’t house a large population of such people. It may be a character flaw on my part to be unable to overlook those types of people and to just suck it up and attend church anyway. Because, although I don’t go to church, this does not mean that I have stopped believing in God. It is people who call themselves Christians that I have lost faith in. What troubles me about them (and I am speaking very broadly here) is that they refuse to think. Faith, in and of itself, is a good thing. But faith acting as a replacement to true thought is probably not that great of an idea. However that seems to be the belief of a good deal of “Christians”. These are the ones who pay entirely too much attention to what a person does on the surface and no attention whatsoever to whom that person truly is. They are the pretentiously pious brand of Christians who believe that imbibing alcohol and smoking cigarettes are the greatest sins of all and remain unaware of the fact that their pointed fingers are far more of an “abomination” in the eyes of God than the Camel cigarettes being held in the fingers of their (presumed) non-Christian counterparts.

“There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

“The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility…
According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind….

“In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that - and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison - you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

This is where the “Holier-Than-Thou” syndrome comes into play. The more a Christian refrains from drinking beer and smoking cigarettes – and even, I suppose, from shoplifting and sleeping around – the more superior he feels to the beer-swilling, cigarette-puffing kleptomaniac with a smattering of STDs. There is something to be said, when you’re a Christian, for “keeping away from all appearances of evil”. Which would, of course, include the beer and the pot and so on that one usually thinks of as “Un-Christian” and even “low-class”. Steering yourself away from a negative reputation is not necessarily a bad thing and it is failing to do this exceedingly well that Muddle may be guilty of, if “guilt” is the right word and if he’s “guilty” of anything at all. To my knowledge, Muddle is not even guilty of any “surface sins” apart from a fondness for good microbrews and the tendency to utter an occasional, very mild expletive. But being fond of microbrews is not the same thing as funneling a twelve pack of Bud down your throat until you fall down the stairs and pass out on the landing every night. And mild expletives for the sake of humor are not the same thing as a constant stream of four letter words for the sake of having nothing more intelligent to say. Apart from these oh-so-horrendous “sins”, Muddle has presented himself as nothing less than a devoted husband, father and grandfather. (With a big, giant brain.) And, more than that, a devoted husband, father and grandfather who has been through a string of absolutely nightmarish events. To think that the true guilty party – the Pointed Finger who decided they could no longer bear to obsessively check on what Muddle has posted next – could be so prideful as to deliberately damage the life and livelihood of such a man is truly disturbing. It is not clear to me whether or not this person actually sought to accomplish what they accomplished. It was accomplished because a group of non-thinking people congregated together at a computer with the sole intent of finding some sort of “damning evidence”. These people who triumphantly wrote down a list of Muddle’s bad behavior were somehow blind to the fact that the “portrait” that is painted of Muddle – if you read all of his posts in one sitting, that is – is quite the opposite of what they claimed it to be. Rather than a beer-swilling foul-mouthed un-churched curmudgeon, what I saw when skimming through the posts and blogs was an exceptionally well-educated man who has spent his life thinking deeply about what he believes and makes an attempt to get his point across (as respectfully as possible) to anyone willing to listen. Argumentative, yes. But isn’t that what philosophy majors are taught to be? Curmudgeon…. Well, perhaps that as well, to a degree. But if that’s the case, he’s in good company anyway as Lewis himself wasn’t usually the most affable and social of fellows. And a true curmudgeon isn’t in the habit of making jokes whenever he has the opportunity.

It is an amazing thing to me to see how the thinking Christians – like my friend with the THINK. sticker this afternoon (I hope) – are constantly being repressed by the non-thinkers. Is it because the thinkers are so outnumbered? I fear that this is the case. But, on the other hand, it is the non-thinking Christians who get so violently angry about their beliefs. It seems to me that the ones who have thought their way into their beliefs are calmer, certainly more rational, and are far less likely to slither behind your back to your employers and tattle on you for not believing the same thing that they do. In those cases of disagreement, someone who’s thought their way into religion will usually state their arguments clearly and then shrug their shoulders when it falls on deaf ears. Those that aren’t quite sure why they believe what they believe are the ones who are quickest to condemn everyone else and don sandwich boards with the word “Repent!” painted on them.
There was a silly quiz I read about online a while back called “Would you have been a Nazi?” I’m sure that most people – Americans in particular – would vehemently deny the possibility of themselves ever turning into such monsters. No way, not them. They know it’s wrong to gas people. Because this is, of course, after the fact. I am pretty convinced that there are certain parties on the Citizen site that would quite easily be swayed into becoming a Nazi. In some respects they’re halfway there already. I recently read a news story about how the Tutsi women are weaving “peace baskets” in an attempt – in part – to learn to forgive the Hutus for murdering their families. One Hutu said, "They were giving instructions all the time, that was from the government and so we thought it as the right thing because we were getting this instruction from the government." This man has asked forgiveness from the families of the people he’d slaughtered. He realizes, after the fact, that what he did was wrong. During the heat of the moment, though, when that particular dictator was in power, he didn’t think hard enough to question it. It was just the way that things were.
It’s a dangerous thing, refusing to use your brain. I would have thought that anyone who believes in a Creator, like in the case of the tree hugger incident, would be in favor of using their God-given brains. Perhaps, though, to them it is the same thing as stealing apples from Eden. The apple supposedly gave knowledge, thus giving knowledge itself a sort of bad rep. It makes me wonder why Muddle’s former college had a philosophy department at all, since it clearly discourages “Thinking”. And I wonder as well if they are seeking to replace the lost Muddle, or if they are going to scrap the idea altogether from now on and maybe add another Bible study group in its place. What do those Christian students need a philosophy course for, anyway? They have God on their side, right? God does their thinking for them.

“But you know, Bart, some philosophers believe
that nobody is born with a soul -- that you have to earn one through suffering and thought and prayer,
like you did last night.”
--Lisa Simpson, “Bart Sells His Soul”.

In my humble opinion, it is the Christians who have fought and thought to come to their religious conclusions that are more worthy of respect than the ones who have had theirs handed down to them like second-hand socks. The latter don’t know why they believe what they believe, just that they were told to believe it. “For the Bible tells them so.” But they never stopped to think why it is they’re listening to what the Bible tells them to do. To them it all boils down to attending church on Sundays, memorizing a few key passages in the Bible to spew at people in sticky situations, and that drinking is bad, mmmkay? And to think, one of these people succeeded in inflicting so much damage to an innocent, thoughtful, caring and Christian person. They are like the evil twin of the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke.

And it is during times like these that I cross my fingers and hope that such a thing as karma really exists.

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River's picture
Submitted by River on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 8:55am.

I must say that I feel like the simpleton here, as I have NO idea who would have back-stabbed Muddle like this. I didn't think he had any enemies among the bloggers. Me, or Hack--sure. But why Muddle? (Note to Muddle: are you sure it was a blogger on this website, and not some co-worker of yours with an ax to grind?)

You're right about how many Americans would have made perfect little Nazis if they had been born in Germany in the early 1900's. Blind allegiance to a political party or a particular church. As you said, non-thinkers. Back in high school, we all had to read "1984". In hindsight, it's not far from the truth in many aspects.

Time for a little soul-searching, for whoever did this.

Submitted by Sick of Fascists on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 8:37am.

I see no reason for the person who interfered with Muddle's employment to remain anonymous. Who was it?
Further, who is the employer who could possibly act on a blog? How sanctimonious and self-righteous is this employer? I assume we are talking of a private employer?
Too bad we aren't in France. Google the "Petite Anglaise" for what happenend there.

Submitted by McGerkin88 on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 1:04pm.

I am gathering from all these comments that a blogger, user name, Muddle was fired because of comments made (free speech?)either in a negative fashion about something or to someone. Is this correct?
1. How did the employer know a user name?
2. What was the context of the comments suggesting? Against the employer?
3. Who was the employer?

I find this hard to believe that one could get fired blogging unless the blogger was blogging while getting paid to work for the employer. If what is being commented and suggested that Muddle was fired because of blogging I would like to help Muddle.

Please update us all who are new.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 11:10am.

It might just make the situation worse if a bunch of us start throwing gas on the fire. The employer probably doesn't want to hear it.

It's extremely hard to keep someone off of discussion forum, even with banning IP addresses and tons of proxy servers. I think it's Muddle's call on what to do next as the rest of us are not in the direct line of fire for now. I understand that on principle, "we" all could be, but we could also make things worse with good intentions at this point.

Submitted by Sick of Fascists on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 8:48pm.

No, I don't mean to out them by actual name. Just blog name. So we know. As to the college, I have no intention of contacting them. I just want to be sure I don't send my boy there!

simpleton's picture
Submitted by simpleton on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 11:29am.

-- What the road to hell is paved with.
You're right. There is no need to round up a mob and storm the college with torches and pitchforks. Even if people succeeded in changing the minds of people whose minds are malfunctioning (or dusty with disuse) I highly doubt that, after all has been blogged and done, Muddle would have any desire to re affiliate himself with those people. He is not the only one who has inadvertently revealed his true colors. The college has done so as well.

MajorMike's picture
Submitted by MajorMike on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 9:46am.

Just this one time, I have to agree with SoF.

Muddle is probably the most non offensive contributor to this site. I have enjoyed reading his posts for some time now and it is hard to imagine how anyone could take offense at these postings.

While on the surface "Out this rat" may, to some, seem a bit extreme in light to the “anonymous contribution” issue, I feel that Muddle's privacy is the greater issue.

At the very least, Cal and the Citizen should permanently bounce the individual.

Cal, are you listening?

Submitted by Sick of Fascists on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 8:49pm.

See, if you wait long enough, you can find common ground with just about anyone! Smiling

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 10:15am.

In defense of the "employer," clearly there are circumstances in which an employee's blogging could jeopardize the "business."

* You work for a funeral home, and it is discovered that you've been telling crude "dead people" jokes.

* You are a U.S. Senator and it is discovered that you've been blogging anonymously under the screen name "Larry Craig" at a gay toilet hookup site.

* You are the Pope and it is discovered that you have been blogging on a Lutheran website under the screen name Melancthon, in which you have vigorously defended the Reformation.

* You work at a five star restaurant and it is discovered that you have been blogging anonymously and spreading rumors about the rat problem in the kitchen.

As for the "rat," I will only say that, unless there is far more intrigue here than even I realize, it was not the first person who has likely come to the minds of many.

simpleton's picture
Submitted by simpleton on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 11:23am.

It seems that you insist on defending your former employer. That's honorable, really. However, what you have said on here is nothing compared to the underground sex life of a U.S. Senator. It is not even in the same league as telling unseemly jokes about dead people when you work at a funeral home, although I'm not even sure that would warrant getting canned. (It depends on how disrespectful to the dearly departed the jokes were and, of course, how funny.)
Your former employer was blind to the fact that you were actually representing that college in a very positive manner. People on here saw that A. You taught at a Christian college and B. You still had a brain. That was impressive.
In the end, it is their loss. And I would be inclined to think that, should all of this happen to "get out" into the public, it will paint the college in a very negative light and will hurt them far, far more than any of your curmudgeonly comments ever did.

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 4:39pm.

I'm glad you think me "honorable."

But, look. As I say above, there just are circumstances in which an employee may do something on his or her own time that ultimately have a negative impact upon an employer. I swear by heaven above that I njever intended to say or do anything here that would have bad consequences for my employer. But it seems to have happened despite my intentions.

Submitted by sockmonkey on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 6:16pm.

Based on what I've seen, it's obvious that your intentions were never to "harm" your Employer. However, I feel that your Employer took way too drastic of measures and should have instead tried to resolve the situation in another fashion, avoiding termination.
I have read archives upon archives and have NEVER found anything that would justify the actions taken by your employer. Simply put--you did nothing wrong.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 6:51pm.

Did Muddle ever say he lost his job, or is that just been assumed? Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall him saying he was fired, just that his employer knew and that is was a problem. If anyone can point me to the post where he said he was terminated, please do so, thanks.

carbonunit52's picture
Submitted by carbonunit52 on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 10:27am.

It would do little good because they could still read and print the blog entries.

I think that someone working for Big Bad Wolf Abattoir, Little Piggy division, would have a problem if they were on a blog and advocating brick safe houses for small hogs.

TonyF's picture
Submitted by TonyF on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 7:20am.

"Dennis, there's some lovely filth over here"
"I'm not old, I'm 37"
"He says he's already got one"

O wad some Power the giftie gie us,To see oursels as ithers see us!
(R. Burns)
If we could see ourselves as others see us, we would vanish on the spot.
(E. M. Cioran)

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 6:50am.


I appreciate the quote from C.S. Lewis.

Here's another:

"Come, Tollers. Let's go have a bitter at the Bird and Baby."

BPR's picture
Submitted by BPR on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 7:05am.

I am sorry about what happened to you.

Did you loose your job? I had to work some yesterday and didn't get to read everything. Some did say you lost your job. I do hope that is not true.

I suggested to Simpleton if you did loose your job that alot of us could go and talk to your boss about it.

How is your wife? I'm thinking and praying for the both of you.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do for the both of you.

We Will Stand

BPR's picture
Submitted by BPR on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 6:28am.

I didn't see where Muddle lost his job.

I had to work some yesterday.

If he lost his job maybe alot of us could get together and go and talk to his boss. Hopefully that would get his job back.

Did you see where he lost his job? I must not have seen it.

That is sad. What do you think you think about we could talk to some of the people that post on here and we could help out muddle. I think that's a good thing to do.

Let me know so I can help out also.

We Will Stand

BPR's picture
Submitted by BPR on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 6:34am.

How are you today?

Did you see where muddle lost his job? I must didn't see it. I did notice where some were talking about it. I had to work some yesterday and didn't get to read everything.

See the post I sent to Simpleton and tell me what you think.

Have a nice day.

We Will Stand

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Sat, 05/17/2008 - 6:46am.

Our little world is just not the same. Tug is right about some on here.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

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