Yes, I know that I don’t believe in you, yet that won’t stop me from occasionally ranting about you. I can still blame you for everything that’s gone wrong in my life, for not being real to me like you are to other people. I can rage against my wanting to believe and my frustration at not being able to, and the futility (and facile nature) of faith. I have a problem with some of your followers, the institutions built up around you and some of the things done in your name. So despite my non-belief in you in the first place, I’m going to dedicate a good chunk of my thought life to you.

You have to realize some folks have to dedicate themselves to pointing out the faults of whatever it is we disagree with passionately. That’s what makes partisan politics such a special delight. Where would we be without the Rush Limbaughs, Ann Coulters, Michael Moores, and Al Frankens of the world?

Now some might say:

To love others means to characterize them; to caricaturize them (except when appropriate) is not to love our neighbor as ourselves. One of the first levels of critical thinking schools — and here I trade in being a teacher who has been asked to do far too much investigation of educational outcomes — is to learn to describe another person’s thoughts and beliefs (1) in their terms and (2) without evaluation. In other words, until a person can “characterize” properly, that person is not yet a critical thinker. If our attempts at characterizing end up in caricaturizing, we need to back off until our head cools.

I say, in grand retort, whatever.

It’s much easier to caricaturize a person, institution, or group rather than engage them. We all know that no person is much more than a collection of their faults, Thor, and someone has to keep reporting the weaknesses of the ideas people have built up about you and the litany of faults of the people who follow you. Otherwise, they might forget.

Thank Thor for people like us.

*Apologies to my friends who do worship Thor. This ain’t about you.

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