That sexy beast above is the Bacon Explosion: 5000 heart attack-inducing calories of pure, unadulterated delicious. Two pounds of bacon, two pounds of Italian sausage, seasonings, barbecued and basted to complete and total win. The Wendy’s Baconator, at 840 calories, is a pissant compared to this. Never mind that the Bacon Explosion looks phallic, is semantically and syntactically sexist, and potentially fatal; because everything good in the world is made from bacon atoms, the Bacon Explosion is the next best thing since – and goes great with – sliced bread.
Of course, it’s Lent. You can’t eat a Bacon Explosion, a Baconator, or any form of meat during Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays of Lent, lest you be thrown into a pit of smoldering sulfur and oceans of flame all the rest of the afterlife.
Which means that, among other things, the Whopper I ate last night will just be another reason for me to spend the rest of my life in Hell.
In A Contribution to Hegel’s Philosophy of Right – that very same tract that gave us the “opium of the people” quote – Karl Marx writes:
It is, therefore, the task of history, once the other-world of truth has vanished, to establish the truth of this world. It is the immediate task of philosophy, which is in the service of history, to unmask self-estrangement in its unholy forms once the holy form of human self-estrangement has been unmasked. Thus, the criticism of Heaven turns into the criticism of Earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law, and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics.
The whole structure of the theological-industrial complex (read: the Church) can cause a heck of a lot of inconveniences. Yesterday, EDSA was a literal highway to hell (so to speak) because of the throng of people who went to Church on Ash Wednesday. Those gray crosses on the foreheads of devout Catholics somehow remind me of religion according to Clifford Geertz: ash, like many religious symbols, is pervasive and motivated by shared symbols with meanings held as factual and constant.
What’s odd is that even in an increasingly convenient world “ruled” by science and rationality, there’s still room – plenty of room – for religion. Every criticism of religion – whether it’s from Karl Marx or George Carlin – does not grasp at the fact that religious belief is something deeply personal as well as social. Whatever “unscientific” or “irrational” belief there is about religious practices or dogma – like sackcloth and ashes or abstinence – is deeply rooted in a very personal, intimate belief and relationship with what’s there.
Sometimes, however, that is not the case. In today’s edition of The Christian Science Monitor, Mark Rice-Oxley writes that overt Christianity is falling out of favor in Britain; thanks (or should I say no thanks) to increasing secularism, British Christians are now crying “discrimination.” While modern society is branded as “multiculturalist,” it’s often the case that it puts rationality above myth, that science, in many ways, becomes a God-like figure. That, at least to me, is one of the problems of the substrate that is modern society: rather than accommodate religion, it rejects it as something archaic, not “modern” enough, that religion and society have to tweak themselves to be compatible with each other. At the center of this is something rather confusing, yet evident: religion is moving toward science to assert itself, secularizing itself to become acceptable and relevant.
We have a lot to be thankful (or should I say un-thankful) for in the Philippines, since it still makes sense to make ayuno. For one, fasting is cheap. For two, those little overt displays of faith – seasonal and selective as they are – may be a cause for salvation. It’s not without a sense of irony, since Churches were filled from entrance to altar during the height of the 6/49 lottery. After all, the criticism of theology here is indeed a criticism of just about everything else. The very same things that build religion – and to a certain extent science as well – pretty much destroy it.
I guess that’s the reason why it’s OK to eat a Baconator – or perhaps make your own Bacon Explosion – even during Lent. You don’t have to fear Hell, when you’re already living in it.