Ken brings a spotless take on all things immaculate
“Cleanliness is next to godliness”
- Every mother in the history of the world
Sure, in the hands of the well-intentioned, godliness enhances lives and teaches lessons of generosity, kindness, and empathy. But in the wrong hands (and it seems that there are significantly more wrong hands throughout history), it’s led to almost every war in the history of the planet. Every genocide, nearly every attempted coup, and almost every terrorist attack have been carried out in the name of a god and a religion. Whether it’s attempting to force one’s belief system on the world like The Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition, or scapegoating a particular group with different religious beliefs, hundreds of millions of people have been killed, raped, maimed, and tortured in the name of godliness.
Cleanliness, on the other hand, has led to nothing but happiness, serenity, calm, peace, and health. Ask yourself this: how often do you feel the need to go to church, temple, mosque, or whatever house of worship you may attend from time to time? And let’s say you’re one of those people that does attend regularly. I’d ask to pose yourself the question, “How do I feel after attending?”
Now ask yourself how often you’d like to see your house, your office, or your car cleaned. And when I say clean, I mean immaculately cleaned like the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to walk into your guest bathroom and take a dump. Now envision every object you interact with daily as clean and organized, and imagine how good that feels.
Now here’s the best part about cleanliness that you may not have known; no one has to die or be run out of town or be scapegoated in order to achieve it. All it takes is a broom, mop, vacuum, some bleach wipes, and some good old-fashioned elbow grease!
Enjoy your religion, and embrace everything good about it. But if you really want to attain world peace and harmony, grab the nearest roll of paper towels and some Windex, and for the sake of humanity, wipe all that dust off the monitor in your car. How are we supposed to survive as a species when we can’t even read “H ward Jo es: No O Is T Blam “ when the afternoon sun is beating down?
The late preacher-turned-comedian Sam Kinison is quoted as saying that he believed in a Supreme Being, but that he questioned religion. Of course, he probably said that while he was snorting a line of coke off Jessica Hahn’s ass. So take that for what it’s worth.
I used to feel the same way as Sam did, albeit at a much lower volume. But now, in my middle age, I’ve come to hold an even stronger opinion. I believe that if you got rid of religion, you’d eliminate 90% of the world’s problems.
Imagine if you removed religion from the following flashpoints:
The Middle East–Nothing but good times and good hummus
Ireland and Northern Ireland–A mutual love of Guinness and itchy sweaters
India and Pakistan–Sharing a border and a charming accent
Kanye and Kyrie–Still two major assholes, but for different reasons
Let’s go one step further. Racism, classism, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia would all still exist without religion (because hateful people will always find a way to hate), but I betcha there’d be a whole lot less of each one.
Religion was created as a way to try to understand the unknowable. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There is so much in our universe that defies logic and explanation, so it’s natural to want to find a reason why. But over the centuries, religion has been used as a cudgel to get the masses to acquiesce, behave and obey. Even worse, I often find that people invoke their religion and their personal diety right before or right after they do something really, really terrible.
To Ken’s original argument, is cleanliness more important than godliness? Sure. I tend to be a total slob, but why not? I just want to make it clear that there are about a thousand other things that are more important as well. Like kindness, compassion and respect.
Pitch Successful (I take great comfort in knowing that if Ken and I end up in hell together, our little corner of the underworld will be spotless.)
Growing up, I wanted to be an Oscar Madison. Who didn’t? Oscar was the coolest. He had an awesome job (sports writer), an amazing apartment in Manhattan, he spent his nights smoking cigars and playing poker, and he had the irresistible Pigeon sisters always cooing over him.
But deep down inside I knew it was my fate to be a Felix Unger. I, too, suffered from the scourge of allergies, enjoyed cooking and baking, and most importantly, couldn’t ever handle things being messy or dirty. Fastidiousness was my curse. Honk!
So one would assume that I’d weigh in on the side of “cleanliness” over “godliness”.
You both made compelling arguments against organized religion, but you don’t really address “godliness”.
I’m no Baruch Spinoza, but I believe that all life is a manifestation of the same timeless energy that can't be created or destroyed. Call it God or nature or quantum physics or whatever you want, but to me “godliness” is the recognition that we’re all the same, and we’re all connected. So while you’re absolutely right that religion separates us, godliness is the thing that might bring us back together. These are dark days for humanity, and the only answer is for us to love one another, and to work together to fix this broken world. Hand washing won’t get us there, but godliness just might.
Pitch Failed (please wash your hand anyway)
Ken’s pitch was not successful and cleanliness will not ascend to Newbury St. (unless it’s a street sweeping day). What’s your take? Do you find peace and serenity in a house of worship or in a clean house? Please let us know in the comments section.