Lobsters, Marxists, Atheists, and Satan

This week in curiosities: Jordan Peterson comes unprepared to a debate with Marxist titan Slavoj Zizek, Matt Dillahunty debates the resurrection of Christ, and The Satanic Temple receives tax exempt status.

The Lobster Daddy vs Marxist Possum

On Good Friday, Jordan Peterson came face to face with a true philosophical titan in Slavoj Zizek. It was billed as the debate of the century, which struck me as amusing, as the century is still quite young, and the debate was far more amicable than I expected.

For those unfamiliar with their work, Peterson is a best selling author, popularizer of the lobster as metaphor for human social hierarchies, and I find him equal measures absurd, inspiring, and dangerous. Zizek is a renowned Marxist philosopher with dozens of books to his name.

Most notable to me in this debate was how poorly prepared Peterson clearly was. He decided to read The Communist Manifesto in preparation (he had a year to prepare,) and rattled off a number of objections he has to the slim volume. He clearly didn’t take the time to understand Zizek’s deeply nuanced and critical approach to Marx, nor investigate the more substantial works of Marx, upon which most Marxist thinkers establish their philosophy. The Communist Manifesto is child’s play compared to Das Kapital.

I have substantial disagreements with both Zizek and Peterson, though I obviously align more closely with Zizek. The debate is worth watching. It is long however, so I recommend this excellent breakdown from occasional Sacred Tension guest Doug Lane of Zero Books:

Matt Dillahunty Debates the Resurrection of Christ

Last night, I tweeted: “PSA: Yes, I’m a nontheist, and I’d rather be fisted than talk to you about apologetics.” Which is why I’m immensely grateful to Matt Dillahunty for having those exasperating conversations instead.

He recently debated online apologist Mike Winger about whether belief in the resurrection is unreasonable. While I have many dear friends who earnestly disagree with me, I side with Matt Dillahunty on the claim that belief in the resurrection is unreasonable. this, I know, is a difficult topic for many, but I recommend listening to the whole discussion in full. Even if you disagree with Matt, taking the time to apprehend his arguments is still worth your time.

The Satanic Temple is now a church, according to the United States Government

This one is a bombshell. This past week, The Satanic Temple received tax exempt status as a church. The Temple posted this announcement to Instagram:

Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesperson for the Temple, also released this statement:

In light of theocratic assaults upon the Separation of Church and State in the legislative effort to establish a codified place of privilege for one religious viewpoint, we feel that accepting religious tax exemption — rather than renouncing in protest — can help us to better assert our claims to equal access and exemption while laying to rest any suspicion that we don’t meet the qualifications of a true religious organization. Satanism is here to stay.” –Lucien Greaves, co-founder The Satanic Temple

This is huge on so many levels. Jack Matirko, who first announced the news, has an excellent article on For Infernal Use Only where he breaks down the complexities of this situation. He writes,

The brief but well-documented history of TST (see “Hail Satan?” Now in theaters!) is one of finding spaces where theocrats have carved out exemptions from Church/State separation for their churches and then TST asserts the right be treated as an equal religion with equal protections. Sometimes that motivates law-makers to rethink their strategy. But other times they’ve simply accepted that TST is entitled to be treated like every other church. I am fairly certain it ties the people who have to try and defend religious privileges in knots when TST has the unmitigated gall to assert their right to claim the exemptions they carved out with the intention of only benefiting theocrats.

Have any thoughts on this post? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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