The book I’m currently reading is God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, by Christopher Hitchins. Now, I’ve had a long history with religion throughout my life. I went to a church when I was little, and was always taught that “Jesus loves me”, or to “Let God into your heart”, which quite frankly, I didn’t care much for. The funny thing is, the only reason why I even accepted to blindly follow that belief, was not because I believed in it. It was because I wanted to be able to have the little bread squares and grape juice that they handed out occasionally. (I don’t even remember why they did). When I was given the chance to not wake up early to go to church and listen to things that I didn’t care about, I gladly accepted. Which is why, a decade later, I’m reading this book. I’ve obviously grown since then, more importantly mentally, and I’ve come to have a growing interest in the concept of religion. I may be an atheist, but I still enjoy reading and learning about religion’s inner workings, which is what this book provides. However, it also provides a topic that is the reason why I mainly wanted to read this book, and, based on the title, I think it’s easy to figure it out. Reading about how religion is the base of many of the worlds problems, or how it caused the deaths of millions upon millions of people throughout the centuries, or how it persecuted and ruined the lives of innocent people, is eye-opening. It makes me want to share this book with others, like people who are diehard religious fanatics, and hear their opinions about it. I am currently reading a chapter for arguments about the design of religion, and how at times it can be self-contradictory, or at time not make any sense at all. This is probably my favorite chapter so far, as it calls out the creators of certain religion, (as Hitchens uses multiple religions as examples), and calls out logical fallicies. An example being how the Bible and God discourages jealousy, yet one of the Ten Commandments says “No other gods before me”, which is literally God being jealous of other gods. I can’t wait to see the other arguments this book has in store for me, and am eager to read more.
When I first read this story, I very mch enjoyed it due to how different it was. I’ve never read something from a writer like Washington Irving, and I can say I as pleasantly surprised. Most people don’t like old authors who use words that are centuries old, but I’ve always found it enlightining to see different words that are used for everyday speech that we use. I have read similar books, in the way they are told, not necessarily the genre they are or the story they tell. My father is really into philosophy, and as a result, he’s recommended some books to me that I’ve read. Now, the reason why Washington Irving wote this story was not just to present one of the worst human beings ever created, but to bring attention to what makes him one of the worst human beings created. For an example, greed is a big factor in this story, noy only pertaining to him, but to also his wife, and both of their spitefulness and hatred for one another is so great that I’m surprised that they hadn’t already killed each other before the Devil stepped in. Even when Tom’s wife was taken/killed, it didn’t even faze him. Finally, I wouldn’t change the story to fit a modern audience, for even though it’s easy to read, the grammer and word choice are turn-offs for some people. However, stories like these, in my opinion, must be read how they were written to get the full effect of the story.
After this week long endeavor of notes about the Elements of a Short Story, I can say that I don’t really see short stories in a new light, I just know how they are structured now. When I think of a story, the first thing that comes to mind, oddly enough, is the story of the first installment of my favorite video game franchise, Destiny. It was known to be gloriously bad, and after following along with these notes, I understand why. It has almost nothing of what the notes say a short story should have, including multiple forms of complication, like dilemma, foreshadowing, or suspense. It doesn’t have a theme at all, as the story really only has you running around doing errands, and it has little-to-no side characters. (The side characters that do exist has almost no impact on the story at all!). I can say that these notes did change my view on this story, as I can now say that I think it sucks even more than I previously thought. However, Destiny is still Destiny, and it will always be my favorite video game, as the actual lore that is written for the game is very well written, and very enjoyable to read. Not to mention the actual game play, which is the best first-person shooting I have ever had the pleasure of playing. The super abilities, like throwing flaming hammers or shooting singularities of void-light is a plus, too. The difference between observing the story and being and active participant in the audience is exactly that, being active. An active reader is always examining the story to its finite details, and ponders the meaning behind the words on the page. Meanwhile, a casual observer is only reading the story for the story, and accepts whatever happens and moves along. To be honest, I am both of these readers. Sometimes I read a story just to entertain myself, not wanting to have to think about the details and just enjoy the story. Sometimes I’m an active reader, mostly if the story really interests me, and I want to understand the deeper meaning. Finally, my 2nd week was mostly better than my first week. Nothing outlandish happened, and I’ve grown accustomed to my classes and teachers.