Despite my new medication, I almost lost my mind last night and wrote something about religion to post in this space. If I’d done it, I’m not sure how things would have turned out for me afterwards. A scriptural phrase might describe it well—something like “lamentation.” Yep, I think I’d have a lot of lamentation going on today if I’d gone whirling into a religious discussion.

My dad told me that you’ll never change anyone’s mind about politics or religion by talking to them. That’s not entirely true. Through religious debate I’ve changed people’s minds from liking me to wanting to torture me to death in ways that would make an Apache blush. As I get older I find that I care less about whether people hate me, but I don’t try as hard to make them hate me, either. Wisdom of Age? Cowardice of Age? Maybe it’s the Seems-Like-Too-Damn-Much-Work of Age.

Maybe I hold radical religious beliefs, but I’m not radical about them. I intended to tell you the “Cucumber Story,” and the story about “The Ant, the Flower, and the Bottle of Vodka.” These are stories of compassion and insight that would immediately make a lot of people hate me worse than syphilis. That’s far too much work.

I considered trying to be humorous and sarcastic to share my thoughts on religion. Then I remembered Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian fellow who wrote The Prince long ago and whom history has ever since kicked in the nuts for being a very bad man who advocated awful things. The funny thing is that Machiavelli loved democracy, republicanism, and the judgment of the people. Most of his writing shows it. But for what I’m sure seemed wonderful reasons at the time, he wrote The Prince, a manual for despots who want to get and keep absolute power. It coaches them on how to behave worse than a demon with crotch rot in order to do it. But he wrote it as a satire. He didn’t mean it. It was okay if the bad people thought he was serious, but everybody else was supposed to get the sarcasm and see how much he really hated despotism.

Niccolo, I’ve got to tell you—a lot of people just don’t get sarcasm. Now everybody thinks you’re a hideous bastard. Sorry, dude.

I don’t need that either. So, this chat is mainly religion-free. I’m trying to swear off hate, although I did yell at the nice Time Warner salesman at our door when he kept pushing after the fourth “no.” I think I hit the wall, too. Scared the crap out of my wife. So I’m going to take a deep breath, go somewhere quiet, and engage in my own, private religious/non-religious practices. And eat ice cream.

I was going to show a picture of Machiavelli, but he’s as ugly as a stump. I’m pimping out this picture of cute puppies instead to get more people to read this.

Photo by DannaCaterina245 via Wikimedia Commons.