Saturday, 23 April 2011

Theologians, they don’t know nothing about my soul

Ok, well I wasn’t gonna post this blog but due to popular demand (well Mini and Harry) here it is. This one may come out as a bit of a rant but we’ll see how it goes. It’s about a subject very close to my heart (or at least the tattered remains of it) and that is religion. The pretext you need to know for this is that I was recently turned down by a girl because, and I quote, I’m “not a Christian”. I could go into the emotional side of this but really it’s not worth it, all you need to know is that I’m fine - strangely upbeat actually. Anyway: religion.

To start off with, I’d better try and make it clear that I don’t want to offend anyone. You can believe whatever the hell you want as far as I’m concerned. I might disagree with you, but as long as you’re a decent person I really don’t care what you think. You can have as many gods, prophets and holy teapots as you want. You can believe the universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure (Hitch Hikers Guide) or that we do in fact live in the matrix. I don’t give a damn as long as you’ve got a decent set of morals and are as willing to tolerate my beliefs as I am yours. I only get angry when people change their behaviour to accommodate some irrational dogma from an institution whose main aim is to promote itself.

Last time I went into a church, the vicar told me (well the congregation) that atheists (like me) live in sin. What does that mean exactly? Does that mean we are morally inferior? Just because my morals aren’t dictated to me by some ancient book doesn’t mean they’re any less valid. If anything they’re more so because they’re based on life experience and rationality. It’s this ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude that frustrates me. I’m not saying I think I’m a better person than this vicar. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and does lots of good work in the community – which is more than anything I do. I’m just saying that he shouldn’t think that he’s a better person than me just because he believes in a god.

But it’s not just the moral values. Religion creates artificial boundaries and divisions in society. This girl (unnamed but relevant people will know) didn’t turn me down because I was a bad person. She didn’t turn me down because she wasn’t attracted to me, or because she thought it just wouldn’t work out. She turned me down because I’m not a Christian. I never thought this sort of thing would be a problem. I figured I’d get to university and I’d meet a load of clever, open minded people who’d accept me for what I am, and vica versa. But apparently not.

So yeah. I would write a conclusion but it’s 3am and I’m quite drunk. Here’s a song by Wilco (who are awesome) that may or may not be relevant.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

If you think this is over then you're wrong...

Ok blog number 2. Yes I am shamelessly stealing mini’s lyric-title idea, deal with it. It’s been a while since my first blog post. To be honest I find the whole process quite challenging. I’ve actually written a couple of entries but not posted them. I figure with a blog you’ve got to be either thought provoking or entertaining, without being too self-involved. The ones I didn’t post... well the first was full of sentimental bullshit about a girl and her religion, and the second was full of inconsequential opinions about films and sport. I think it’s probably best if they stay hidden away in some forgotten corner of my hard drive, gathering dust (or whatever the digital equivalent is). Anyway I have found something to write about that is relevant to most of you so we’ll go with that and see how it pans out.

At some point during the last month, the Forum died. Attempts to resuscitate it seem to have failed. No doubt it will linger on for a while yet, with the occasional post or two, but these are just the twitches of a deceased body - really it has been dead for a while now. It had a good run, five years on 12th March and over 88,000 posts. It has gone through a number of different incarnations and been the setting for profound debate, violent slanging matches, incisive wit and a huge amount of nonsensical wittering. What follows is a brief account of the Forum’s life: its beginnings, the glory years, and its eventual decline.

The Forum was born on 12th March 2006 as a medium through which members of the Arbiters alliance in Ogame could discuss tactics and other pressing matters. All the members were boys from Beaumont School year 9, who seemingly had nothing better to do than squabble over internet games. Alliance politics, in particular the leadership issue, poured over into the Forum, making it a turbulent and exciting place. Disputes could be vicious and personal; however they would rarely extend into real life. With the death of the Arbiters alliance came the end of the Forum’s first incarnation, but it would not be down for long.

The forum was re-imagined and remodelled, transformed into a general discussion board for our year group at Beaumont. The old guard remained, but a new breed of poster was emerging that would revolutionise the board - for the first time the Forum had a significant female contingent. This period can in some respects be regarded as the glory years of the Forum, though this was probably not appreciated at the time. Forum politics remained a bitter issue. Law and order was maintained through warning points and bannings, though these were hotly disputed. Despite these arguments, the Forum was in general a happy place. Plans were made, interesting discussions were had, and humour of the highest calibre was always to be found. Perhaps the Forum’s most glorious moment was its role in securing St Albans victory in the ‘Here and Now’ Monopoly competition. A moment of unity and inspiration, remembered by all those involved.

Such good times could not last forever. As the years progressed new challengers began to threaten the Forum’s position on the digital stage. Facebook emerged as a more efficient way for peers to interact. Gradually use of the Forum declined, and all but it’s core members drifted away. It continued, at a slower pace, but still alive for a while, with the ‘Crappy Times’ thread in particular getting a lot of use. More recently Twitter and Blogspot have been adapted as alternative mediums through which to share our thoughts, and thus the Forum ceases to hold a unique purpose. There have been several revival attempts, but all have petered out fairly quickly.

Ok brace yourself for a sentimental conclusion. Yes it is sad that the Forum has died. It was fun while it lasted. But in a way it lives on. Today I went to the cinema with seven of the top posters on the Forum. A group that, to some extent, was brought together by an internet message board.

The Forum is dead, long live the Forum.