Thanks for all the comments Rob! I replied to most of them and the last one I did made me want to write it up as a post. I didn't reply to the New Yorker one but I will agree that I don't think satire is going away which is great. I also have rethought my stance on that particular case, you know what people who read the New Yorker are going to get it. At least for the most part. I still don't think it was particularly well done satire but again thats all I really think they are guilty of. And I think Poes law comes into play where no matter how outlandish there are those who will think its real and agree with it.
I guess the little talk on religion I wanted to have in this post comes down to why I talk about religion so much. I honestly find it fascinating. At least partially from a historical context, religion for better or worse has played a major impact on world history and therefore understanding the various religions is a critical aspect of understanding history. But honestly thats only a minor part of it. For the most part I find the actual beliefs of the organized religions laughably absurd. Weird violent deadly masochistic egotistical fairly tales that people base their lives around, or at least claim to. To me that is a phenomenon worth looking into, and so I do. I think I worded this much nicer in the comments, but I'm in kind of a bad mood right now. The question still remains of why do people believe what they do? That question is the real reason that I like to study religion and question individuals beliefs. I really truly want to understand how people can be so convinced about something that seems so ridiculous to me. I need to go back to school and I suspect that I will end up taking some classes on world religions, I suspect that I will enjoy them, but I have a feeling the discussions could get interesting. It seems like the people I know who talk about religion the most are atheists, and I'm guessing that this is why. Living in the US I'm surrounded by variously believably pious people. I see an almost constant stream of stupidity coming from the loudest of the religious folks, who I realize are not the norm and I should not blame all religious folks for the actions of those at the extremes. At the same time if the moderate voices didn't enable the extremists then they would be marginalized and would not be a threat to society. In case I slipped that in too quietly I do see that religion and the anti-science folks are a direct threat to civilization. A war with Iran could easily lead to a modern religious war, a prospect I do not look forward to. I also think that by ignoring and fighting against science we are going to run into very serious problems that require scientific as well as political solutions, and when the populace has almost no understanding of science then they will not elect people with scientific understanding and we are left with people having to make world altering political decisions based on science that they do not understand. Climate Change and the energy situation being the current manifestations of that problem.
I could probably keep rambling but you get the point.