Monday, March 19, 2012

Game of Thrones

I'm hotly awaiting the return of Game of Thrones to HBO on April 1st. Fittingly, I'll be watching a full-contact jousting tournament in Austin that afternoon, and in accordance with this blog, also be visiting the Atheist Experience postshow dinner at El Arroyo. Now what does Game of Thrones and atheism have to do with each other?

One of the things I like most about GoT is that most of the show is akin to watching a historical drama. Literal and political warfare are waged as multiple parties vie for power and prestige. But just like real life, the few powerful settle their differences of honor and personal failings with the lives of those who serve them. Again, I enjoy the faux historical nature of the show, but this aspect gives me pause. This is exactly the problem with communism, fascism, nationalism, and religion: the petty whims of a select few may affect the lives of billions.

The real world is pretty messed up, but I thank the imaginary god that things are better than they used to be. Gone are the days of ultra nationalism, and the power of the Catholic church has waned. These are just some of the attitudes and institutions that have made it possible to get individuals to forget themselves and to move mobs to madness. But obviously there's still a lot of work to do. We still have theocratic states in the Middle East and there are elements in the United States trying to establish a similarly styled form of government, albeit for a god who answers to a different name.

If you haven't seen the show, please do so, especially if you aren't into democracy or secular governments. It'll turn you around, if you pay attention.

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