where there’s a will…

10 August 2006 at 11:12 (Christianity, death, religion)

Since I don’t have the money to hire a lawyer, notary, witness, whoever it is you need to hire in order to have an official will, I am publishing my will here. I hope that, should I die before I have a chance to make this will a legal document, whoever takes the reins on my post-life actions will follow these instructions.

Thanks.

Alex.

1. I think this part is called a “living will.” They have been all the rage since the Schiavo affair.If I’m ever in what is called a “persistent vegetative state,” please allow me to die. If I am being kept alive only by machines or other artificial means, turn off those machines as soon as it becomes clear that I can’t live without them, unless I tell you otherwise at the time. This request does not apply if, at some future date, I become a cyborg or an autonomous brain living in a jar, with the ability to speak and control a spider-like locomotive device. In either of these cases, leave me be or beware my wrath.

Do not, under any circumstances, allow Dr. Bill Frist to diagnose my condition. He is a hack.

Do not put me on the news or any other television show, or in any way make a spectacle of my condition/eventual death. If I was fortunate enough to be on TV or in a movie during my life (prior to my falling into a persistent vegetative state), please do what you can to get a clip show made of my best moments, backed with sappy, sentimental music. If you are short on material, I have a CD with some of my greatest hits on it, and my parents probably have old home videos. I just hope people in the future can still play these media.

2. This is about my wishes for my body after I die.

My remains will be cremated and composted, and eventually returned to the earth as soil. I don’t really know much about composting, so if cremation makes it impossible to compost my body, forget the cremation part. The main thing is that I don’t want my body preserved or coated in lacquer or anything like that. I think it is natural and logical for a body to decompose and return to the earth. However this is most easily accomplished, I would like that done.

Prior to this, however, I would like every part of my body that can be donated and used by some still-living person to be so donated and used. This includes skin, eyes, and anus. I don’t know if anyone has ever needed an anus transplant, but I seriously will not need it anymore, and I see no reason to deny anyone else the ability to live so that I can have an open-casket funeral. On that front…

3. Hereintofore, my plans for my funeral.

First of all, at my funeral there will be no mention of Christ, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesús Cristo, or any similar, analogous person, at my funeral. I’m sure he was a great guy and all, but I never knew him personally, and I see no reason why he should be speaking on my behalf or offering advice/condolences.

No one will verbally speculate about whether I am with God, or in Heaven, or saved, or walking through the valley of the shadow of death. In fact, no mention of any organized religion of any kind will be made, if you please. I had no use for them in life, and I doubt I’ll have much use for them in death.

There will be no scripture readings from The Bible, or any other religious text, and no religious rituals will be practiced. No one will pray for me, over me, because of me, next to me, or anywhere near me out loud during the services or anytime afterward. If it makes you feel better to pray, by all means do so, but remember that you’re doing it for your own benefit, not mine, nor anyone else’s, so please keep it to yourself.

My funeral will not take place in a Church of any kind. In fact, I don’t want my funeral to be like a typical funeral at all. I think it would be cool if people told stories about me and reminisced about all the cool things I will have done with my life, and reminded each other about all the fun they and I will have had.

My funeral will be part Alex retrospective, part dance party. I have an extensive list of acceptable dance songs in my iTunes library, but I invite you to also take requests. Dancing is very primal, and also very fun, and I think it is also quite spiritual. As Ellen DeGeneres once wrote, “Cleanliness may be next to Godliness, but Dancing is next to Cleanliness.” Dancing cleanses the body of frustration, sadness, weakness, and inhibition, plus you look funny doing it, and on the off chance that I’ll be hanging around my funeral in spirit form, it will be amusing to see everyone dancing like idiots.

I think that’s it for now. I may update this at some point, however. I hope these requirements are not too difficult to carry out, and I also hope the internet is still around in 3006, which is when I plan to die.

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mocking women is funny. wait, no it isn’t.

4 August 2006 at 13:39 (Christianity, ethics, Feminism & Sexism, homosexuality, religion)

I happened upon this article about women who are ordaining themselves as Catholic priests, completely by accident. I was researching Jean-Baptiste Dumas, who was a famous Catholic and scientist, and there was a link to this article from one of the sources I was using. The link also included this parody of the event, which is so bizarrely specific that many of the references are lost on those who aren’t completely engrossed in this controversy. I got the basic gist of it, but it frankly isn’t a very effective metaphor.

I’m always surprised that Catholic dogma really still thinks that women are men’s property, and subordinate in every sense. But what surprises me even more is the fact that women still choose to be Catholic in spite of this. But the problem with dogma is that you have to either accept it or reject it, or else it loses all of its power. These women are trying to reject a major part of Catholic dogma while still operating within the framework of that dogma. They are not basing their arguments on Catholic values, but on secular ones.

If you are going to commit yourself to every word of the Bible, you really can’t ignore the misogyny. To try to make Catholicism fit a secularly-derived conception of what is right completely misses the point; by accepting that secular morality is the more just of the two, you must necessarily reject Catholic morality, and you can’t really do that if you’re going to be a priest.

I agree that women shouldn’t be priests, and neither should gay men, and not because I think they have done something wrong by being women or being gay. But the Church is so fundamentally prejudiced against women and gay people, that having either one in a position of power is obviously contrary to both the aims of the person and those of the organization.

If a woman managed to rise to power in a club called “Women are Evil and Should Be Controlled,” she isn’t advancing the cause of her fellow women. Quite the opposite, in fact: she is becoming a tool of that same unjust organization, an enemy to herself as much as to her fellow women.

It seems obvious to me that if you think a group you belong to discriminates against your kind, you leave the group, rather than take a role that allows you to continue passing that message of discrimination to others. But tradition, especially personal or familial tradition, is a difficult foe.

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science triumphs again! almost.

3 August 2006 at 14:15 (abortion, Christianity, ethics, Feminism & Sexism, religion, science)

Today’s op-ed piece in the New York Times makes a good point about the whole stem cell debate, namely that is no different from the many, many times that scientific breakthroughs have challenged church teachings in the past. As Ms. Blum points out, science eventually won out in these debates as the more rational decision. What she fails to mention, however, is whether the Church had the power to actually stop what it saw as immoral scientific experiments. Based on the example of Edward Jenner, it sounds as though their only weapon was censure.

Eventually, of course, even the Church came to accept innoculations as useful and necessary. But we aren’t dealing with the Church in this instance, at least not directly. Though his decision is backed by Christian leaders, President Bush is the one blocking the path for advances in stem cell research. And unfortunately, he does have power.

As I have said before, the danger of religion comes not from the beliefs themselves, but from the actions predicated on those beliefs. George Bush claims that he answers to a higher power. The truth of the matter is that, by deferring to the Bible, he is answering to no one at all.

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