Fireproof: Part 3

So, in the comments for Part 2, several of you opined that the Love Dare challenges were…well, basically crap.  Maybe okay if you’re trying to bring back a little something to a marriage that is fundamentally good, but less than useless in a marriage as broken as Caleb and Catherine’s.

Catherine’s friends agree.  In fact, they’ve got a theory:

Oh, and remember what I said about the black female characters back in Part 1?  Well, here we go again, as two of Catherine’s friends, both black, address Catherine’s confusion:

Nurse #1:  Hey, Cat, how you doin’, girl?

[Catherine explains what's been going on]

Nurse #2:  I’ll tell you what he’s doing—he’s trying to butter you up for a divorce.

Catherine:  And why would he do that?

Nurse #2:  Before my cousin Luwanna got a divorce, her husband did the same thing.  He started acting nice and sweet, and the next thing we know, he walks away with the house and most of their money.  He hasn’t even talked to her since.  Don’t you let him deceive you, girl.

Nurse #1:  Mmmmmmm.

Oh, god.

Catherine, sinful woman that she is, immediately agrees with her friends.  Clearly, none of them are quite right with God, what with being concerned for Catherine’s feelings and welfare and future.

***

Later, at home, Caleb is sitting in front of the computer.  Presumably, he is feeding his porn addiction, given how quickly he closes all the windows when he hears Catherine come in.  (Naturally, the camera is positioned so we can’t see the monitor.)

Now, I’m no expert on guys watching porn online…but do they really do it fully clothed, in an uncomfortable-looking chair, in the living room?

I mean, there’s not even a box of tissues or anything there on the desk.  (Yeah, I went there.)

(Also, Caleb looks more like he’s trying to do a moderately difficult Sudoku than like he’s looking at lovely ladies.)

Anyway, Catherine calls Caleb on his “nice-guy routine,” over the past two weeks or so, and Caleb explodes:

Caleb:  YOU NEVER ASSUME I WOULD DO ANYTHING WORTHY OF RESPECT!  ANYTHING HONORABLE!

Not sure how “honorable” it is to make one lousy cup of coffee, but Catherine goes to the internet porn instead.  She points out, oh so correctly, that “defaulting” (heh, is that what the kids are calling it these days?) to internet porn is not exactly honorable.  Then she stalks off.  You go, girl.

Change

Looks how this experience is changing Caleb for the better!

(Note: as I mentioned earlier, the word “porn” is never used.  I guess so parents can bring their kids to this movie about a toxic, abusive marriage.  Instead, it’s “what you were looking at.”)

Caleb, once again disappointed that he can’t just haul off and smack that mouthy broad, heads to the backyard to take out his anger on the innocent trashcan again.  (This time, it’s with a baseball bat instead of his foot.  The situation is escalating, and that poor trashcan is paying the price.)

Elderly neighbor is in his backyard, grilling like a boss, and witnesses the whole thing!  Again!

HA!  (C’mon, laugh, it’s supposed to be funny!)

Caleb then sits in his car, and calls his dad to whine and cry at him.

John correctly calls out Caleb on doing “just enough to get by.”

This is twice in five minutes that Caleb has been called on his bullshit.  Nice.

Then this happens:

Caleb:  I feel nothing.

John:  I understand, son.  But this is not based on feelings.

Yeah, geez!  Who would want to base a marriage on stupid, sissy feelings, anyway???

(What were you, my loyal readers, saying about Fireproof spouses being treated like malfunctioning robots?)

John urges Caleb to keep taking things a day (and a challenge) at a time.

Caleb:  Yes, sir.

Huh.  Looks like some people in Caleb’s life get respect and consideration from him.

The solution to this problem is obvious: Caleb should marry his dad.

***

Meanwhile, Catherine goes to cry on her mom’s shoulder, which is complicated by the fact that Catherine’s mom can’t talk to her.

Catherine:  When did I stop being good enough for him?

This is sad, because this is the hot issue for Catherine.  Not the verbal and emotional abuse, not being treated as a live-in maid.  It’s all about the internet porn.  Look, I’m not saying it’s not a problem, but this problem is competing with the problem that her husband also screams in her face and bullies her into the corner of the room when he gets even slightly ticked off.

***

Musical montage!  (Catherine keeps flirting with a guy who genuinely seems to enjoy her company.  The harlot.)

***

When we cut back, we find Caleb is on Day 18.  (I guess if you want to know what to do to save your marriage on Days 5 through 17, you can buy the damn book, you cheapskates!)

Oh, I take that back.  Caleb is talking to Michael, and mentions that he “kinda skipped” Day 16, which is about praying for your spouse.  And Day 17 is about listening.

I’m guessing Caleb “kinda skipped” that one, too.  (Also, it takes 17 days to figure out you should listen to your spouse?  Yeah, great marriage book.)

So, it’s Day 18, and Caleb is supposed to think about “studying” Catherine, getting to know her again, like he did when he was courting her.  (And I am so sure that Caleb studied Catherine when they were dating.  Because he’s such a sensitive listener and has so much respect for women.)

Hilariously, at the end of Day 18, Caleb is supposed to make a candlelight dinner for Catherine, and “then ask her a whole list of questions.”

 photo 11185rl.gif

Um, yeah, because nothing is sexier and more romantic that being interviewed.

Seriously, how would this even work in this crap marriage?  If he asks her stupid questions (“So, seen any good movies lately…without me?”) then she’ll just be bored and annoyed.  If he tries to ask her deep questions about her innermost hopes and fears, she’ll assume (and who could blame her?) he’s manipulating her.  So there’s really no way that anybody is coming out of this a winner.

***

More “comic relief.”  Caleb confesses to the rookie that he (Caleb) drank tomato juice when Rookie chugged hot sauce.  Rookie is pissed.  Rookie is also easily the most likeable character in this movie.  “There were some serious repercussions!”

***

Candlelight dinner time!  Caleb is waiting for Catherine as she comes in the door, and the table looks pretty nice, really.  Caleb pulls out a chair for her, with a puffed-out chest like a four-year-old who managed to tie his own shoes.

Catherine just walks on by.

YES!!!

Suck It (Psych)

She takes a minute in her room, then comes back to ask Caleb exactly what in the fucking hell he thinks he’s doing. (But she asks, yanno, in a clean way.  Not in my filthy heathen way.)

Caleb:  *all smug*  Maybe I’d like to have dinner with my wife.

Catherine:  Let me be real clear with you about something.  I do not love you.

Caleb heads outside, but instead of beating up the trashcan, he does the other thing he does when he’s angry.

Daa—aaaaaddd, Catherine’s being mean to me.  Tell her to stoooopppp!

John sees the caller ID, giving him the opportunity to say to himself…

John:  Oh, son, this is when it gets hard.

Aww, did Catherine hurt Caleb’s pwecious fee-fees?  Yeah?  GOOD.

Oh, and lest you get the wrong idea, Caleb’s feelings aren’t hurt.  Or, if they are, it is very much secondary to his anger.  He is really, really angry at Catherine for daring to spurn him.

Caleb:  SHE HAS GIVEN ME NOTHING.

Because it’s still all about him.  She’s just the doll who won’t respond the way she is supposed to.

The doll, meanwhile, is crying in her room.  Aww, so she really does love Caleb!  Silly woman that she is, she just said something she didn’t mean to hurt him!

Women, amirite?

***

The next day, John comes over (without Cheryl this time, because John is no fool and now knows that Caleb can’t stand to be around the female of the species), and the two Manly Men take another Manly Walk.

Caleb: Catherine’s not buying any of it.

Gee, asshat, maybe that’s because you’re confusing her because she has no idea why you’re doing any of this crap!

John almost immediately brings up Jesus.  As you would when your abusive son’s marriage is falling apart.

Caleb:  I do not need a crutch to get through life.

John:  Oh, son, Jesus is much more than a crutch.

Okay, um, I think I’ll just file that under “I don’t think he actually realized what he just said.”  Because John just straight-up admitted Jesus is a crutch, though he is also more than that.  Snerk.

John admits that he thinks Caleb will end up in Hell for “violating [Jesus's] standards.”  Given that he thinks that, I’m surprised John is so blasé about the whole issue, given his son’s dangerous profession.  I mean, that Hypothetical Bus Fire could happen at any time!

Caleb argues that “I help people; I am a good person,” the very arguments he fights against as Ray Comfort’s Robin.

Caleb is silenced by the shocking revelation that Jesus’s standards are, like, really high and stuff, because Caleb is totally starting to see his sin.  (As in all Christian movies, the non-Christian doesn’t question why he should care about the standards of one sanctimonious creep who lived two thousand years ago, or why he is supposed to feel guilty about not conforming to the creep’s standards.)

John changes tactics and asks Caleb why he is so frustrated with Catherine.  Instead of telling the truth (she is a woman and she would like me to contribute to the house and acknowledge her existence once in awhile), he starts whining again:

Caleb:  She makes everything difficult for me.  She’s ungrateful.  She’s constantly griping about something.  …  I’m not even welcome in my own home.  …  How am I supposed to show love to somebody over and over and over who constantly rejects me?

Ah-HA, but see, father and son have once again wandered into the old Bible camp, and as Caleb finishes his tirade about ungrateful females, John is standing right next to the cross!

Wow!

(‘Cause, see, ungrateful humans make everything difficult for Jesus.  They’re always griping about shit.  And they reject him over and over!)

So, isn’t Jesus supposed to be better than humans?  Shouldn’t he have more patience and stuff?  John seems to think we should feel sorry for Jesus because of all the crap we ungrateful humans give him, but can’t he just take infinite amounts of crap?

But John’s point is that Caleb, being a non-Christian, isn’t capable of love:

John:  You can’t love her because you can’t give her what you don’t have.  I couldn’t truly love your mother till I understood what love really was.

Dipshit.

Such a weirdly cultish sentiment:  We aren’t like those other filthy sinners.  We have real love.  Not like that fakey love that Jews and Hindus and Wiccans and atheists pretend to have.  We have access to, and true understanding of, the special love.

And the special hell, too!

John pulls the boilerplate John 3:16 and the “atheists are just so easily offended” cards next:

John:  The cross was offensive to me until I came to it.

Exactly how was it offensive to you, John?  I want to know.  Was it like a vampire thing?

‘Cause that’s not really how atheists react.  Just so’s you know.

Kirk Cameron is scrunching up his face like he’s trying to make tears come, and John ends with a final guilt trip of “I love you too much not to tell you the truth.”

So, just like that, Caleb repents (of being a non-Christian, of abusing his wife) and John walks him through the Sinner’s Prayer.

They hug and pray and stuff, which seems like quite a switcheroo from a guy who, not five minutes ago, said he didn’t need the Jesus Crutch.

Fade to black.

***

You might think, after this miraculous conversion, that a man might feel the need to come clean to his wife.  To share his newfound faith and maybe even reveal the reason for his changed behavior (and now, his changed mind).

Oh, silly reader.  Like Caleb would ever open up to a mere woman.  That would be so…womany.

Nope, he opens up to a Manly Man, as God intended.

Caleb:  Um…it’s about your faith.

Michael:  My faith?

Caleb:  Yeah.

Michael:  What about it?

Caleb:  Well, I’m in.

They hug (in the manliest of ways, of course).

Michael:  You’re my brother from another mother and now we got the same father!

brother

Caleb just looks pleased as punch about this.

Once again, instead of discussing the Love Dare with his actual wife, Caleb discusses it with his male companions.  They’re way less scary than the wimmins.

And he learns Michael’s shameful secret: before he was married to his “incredible” current wife, Tina, he was married a first time!

Well.

Caleb is floored by this fact.  I mean, yesterday, he wouldn’t have given two shakes if another person was married one time or two times or six times, but now he’s been infected by the RTC Virus, so he literally turns and checks to see if any other firemen are around as Michael reveals this, divorce being the secret and shameful thing that it is.

Michael:  [We were married] for one horrible year.  I got married for the wrong reasons, then I turned around and got a divorce for the wrong reasons.  Man, I thought I was just following my heart. … It was before I gave my life to the Lord, and, man, I was just only concerned about my rights and my needs.

Ha!  Typical atheist, amirite?

Michael:  Man, I ruined her life.

Wait, what?

Michael:  But when I gave my life to God, I tried to find her, but she’d already remarried.

That SLUT!

Michael:  So believe me when I tell you I got a big scar.  Man, God made marriage to be for life.  That’s why you gotta keep your vows to Catherine.

Ah, I see.  So you poke your nose into other people’s business because you still have a guilt complex about your own divorce.

Also, “ruined her life“?  Sounds like things turned out just fine.  You both found other people to love.  I mean, sorry that she was an independent person with thoughts and feelings of her own, and didn’t sit on the couch, just waiting for you to come back, but them’s the breaks when you’re dealing with a human being.

Unless…by “I ruined her life,” Michael means that he was a husband like Caleb, abusive and neglectful.  Does he mean that?  Or does he only mean that divorce automatically ruins a woman’s life, whether she moves on to love with someone else or not?

Either way, Caleb nods seriously, the message clear: Divorce makes God cry, so the only thing to do, regardless of the damage you’ve already inflicted on your spouse, is to stay together, no matter what.  Catherine will just have to learn to take it and like it, I guess.

Will Catherine take it and like it?  Will Caleb ever get around to telling her anything?  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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Posted on July 27, 2014, in Fireproof, Movies. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. So I thought about bringing this up in the last part, but knowing that Caleb blows up again makes it fit just as well here. Let’s recap some action of the film so far…

    Tension-building: Caleb is angry about getting ‘no respect’, about not having the perfect helpmeet, and is picking small things to add up to…

    An Incident: Caleb shouts his wife into a corner in the kitchen.

    Making up: Over the next few days, Caleb tries to do some nice things. He calls her at work, leaves a fresh mug of coffee for her, and is trying to do something nice. However, these actions don’t generate the results he wants, which leads to…

    tension-building as Catherine avoids the house, until she comes home, confronts Caleb about bad behavior, which leads to…

    an Incident where Caleb acts out his frustration physically…

    Whether or not the authors and filmmakers are aware of it, they’re depicting the cycle of domestic violence pretty accurately. If this was an attempt, Lolita-style to trick up into identifying with an unreliable narrator, I’d commend it. ‘See how dangerous abusers are? See how they justify themselves?’ Buuuut that’s not the movie we have.

    Also, is it too much to hope for some unintentional homo-eroticism? Because that’s the other thing this film has going for it: men are great, and only men can talk to men and share with men, and be close to men but not in that way but close and deserving of respect and regard but not that kind of regard and hey why don’t we work out at the gym together?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Also, is it too much to hope for some unintentional homo-eroticism? Because that’s the other thing this film has going for it: men are great, and only men can talk to men and share with men, and be close to men but not in that way but close and deserving of respect and regard but not that kind of regard and hey why don’t we work out at the gym together?

      That is called an “Unintentional Canonical Slashfic Setup”, and Christianese media is full of them. In Left Behind, it happens almost every time two same-sex “good guy” characters are onstage at the same time; especially when the two Author Self-Inserts (dom & sub) are in the same scene. Any time you have two same-sex leads, somebody’s gonna slash it — why do they insist on making it so easy?

      And I have long maintained that any male supremacist culture will feel a strong pull towards male homoeroticism, for the reasons you cited above. If only men are persons and women are nothing more than cookers/cleaners/breeders/sex toys, how else can a man have sex with another real PERSON? And if that same culture has a strong taboo against homosexuality, you’re going to have a tension between the two.

  2. I’ve known people who watched porn at work, in the office. Didn’t do anything about it, just used it to pep themselves up a bit and get through the day. So maybe it’s that.

    Hm. Maybe it’s not so much that you have a checklist (“day 18: listen to spousal unit”) as that this is a list of “nice things to do for your spousal unit”, so you may eventually make the connection that listening to the spousal unit is a nice thing to do? Nah, too subtle.

    Hey, you know what? As a community we’ve been hard on the apologetics and template arguments that these books and films imply that RTCs should use to unbelievers, because they wouldn’t work on a real atheist or whatever. But maybe they’re actually meant to be template arguments for the RTCs themselves: they hear something disturbing on the TV, but they have an answer for it which makes sense in terms of their own headspace, so they Stay Strong.

    I, (cough), ahem, have heard it suggested that some atheists might act like that around a cross when teasing neophyte RTCs. Wouldn’t know anything about that.

    If you have to live in RTCville, being a divorced woman probably does ruin your live.

    • Re: argument for RTCs themselves
      I may have mentioned this before, but years ago I came across a pdf document with arguments for creationism. In the intro, it said that this document wasn’t intended to be used to convert heathens, but as a support for RTCs so they wouldn’t have to feel intimidated by secular professors.

      The few arguments I saw were laughably bad and self-contradictioning. For instance, Appeal-To-Authority with a list of famous scientists who were creationists (quite a few of them living before Darwin’s time, natch), then a list of stupid scientists who came up with different ages of the earth (unlike Christianity which always gave the same age for the earth despite any new evidence to the contrary, so clearly Christianity is better), with several names featuring on both lists.

      The key word being “the few arguments I saw”. The document was 900 pages long. There’s only so long you can have fun reading that. And if you keep insisting your secular professor refutes the next argument in the document after he blew the previous to bits, he’ll likely give up on you well before the 200 page mark. So the document actually managed to be quite useful for its intended task: As ablative armor for the fragile faiths of RTCs who have to wander into real world.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy

    You mean there’s more?

    Normally the Sinner’s Prayer/Altar Call Conversion scene (breaking the fourth wall to lead the audience in Saying the Magic Words) is the LAST SCENE of a Christploitation flick.

    • I guess the finale is Christine joining the collective.

      Ruby previously stated that in RTC fiction, it’s often the woman in a couple who brings her husband to Christ. Now we get to see it from the other side*. Given the setup, I fear that what’s going to happen may be exactly why I suspect it’s usually the husband who needs to be converted.

      It’s all about the power dynamic. A good godly wife will be meek and supportive of her husband, and she’ll bring him to Christ through her kindness (or her passive-aggresiveness). A good godly man will be strong, assertive and dominant towards his wife, so showing him bringing her to Christ may look to much like coerciveness.

      And when we start out with a husband who’s a violence prone bully…

      *I’m not counting Silenced, since the husband’s only contribution to her conversion was hiding The Truth from her as much as possible for fear of her ratting him out. Just as at the end of Soon, when Jae just came back to him without any effort on his part, Jenkins gives his protagonist a free ride, letting Jae convert on her own.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Ruby,
    This stuff is genuinely painful to read about. The only reason anyone would watch the actual movie is (1) you’ve never known anything else or (2) it’s compulsory as an Act of Faith (“Swallow your medicine, It’s Good For You!”).

  5. You know, when I think about it, that scene where the movie wants to show us that Caleb’s problems with showing love when you’re being rejected is just like God-as-viewed-by-RTCs and humanity* is amazingly apt.

    Both God and Caleb insist that they are showing love, while it is clear that all they care about is getting respect.

    Both God and Caleb throw violent temper tauntrums when they don’t get the respect they feel they deserve.

    Both God and Caleb never consider it might help to get the other person to love him if he just sat down and talked to them, explained what they were doing, instead of just doing random shit and leaving it to the other person to figure out that they’re being woed.

    Both God and Caleb insist on being loved by the other, while still showing that they don’t feel the other person is good enough for them (“There is no-one righteous, no, not one” vs looking at porn).

    Both God and Caleb are obviously telegraphing that they’re a hair-trigger away from being abusive, but we’re asked to ignore that.

    Both God and Caleb perform acts of kindness that most of us would consider a bare minimum of decency for someone you care about, and which take far less effort than they are capable of showing if they really are so desperate to show their love.

    In conclusion, both God-as-viewed-by-RTCs and Caleb are entitled jerks who want the object of their affection to show them love and devotion on their terms, and turn abusive when they don’t get it.

    * I’ll admit, I may not like the message, but having Caleb say that while standing next to the cross is a clever way of bringing it across. Just a pity that comparing the two difficulties of showing love in the face of rejection also means comparing God to the abusive jerk with an ego the size of Siberia. Oh, and pro-tip. Showing “love to somebody over and over and over who constantly rejects me” is a good way to get a restraining order. Just saying.

    • Well, wives are supposed to have the same relationship with their husbands that men have with God, so I guess the writers are just following the bible.

    • So, in other words, John might have been right in saying (paraphrased) “we have access to, and true understanding of, the special love.” For certain values of “special”.

  6. So, did Caleb’s parents convert to RTC after he moved out? Or did he leave the faith? The fact that there is no reference to his earlier church experience suggests the former, but the speed with which Caleb accepts Jesus suggests the latter.

    Also have RTC’s always been against divorce? I thought it was only those idol worshipping catholics that believed divorce was a huge sin. Or is it just a recent development like the attacks on birth control?

  7. You can’t love her because you can’t give her what you don’t have. I couldn’t truly love your mother till I understood what love really was.

    I…don’t think you’ve got those in the right order, John.

  8. Anyway, Catherine calls Caleb on his “nice-guy routine,” over the past two weeks or so, and Caleb explodes:

    Caleb: YOU NEVER ASSUME I WOULD DO ANYTHING WORTHY OF RESPECT! ANYTHING HONORABLE!

    Caleb: AND WHY IS IT THAT YOU NEVER GET A TELEPATHIC AWARENESS OF MY EVERY THOUGHT AND DESIRE, THEREBY RELIEVING ME OF THE BURDEN OF NEEDING TO TELL YOU?!

    I’m starting to get kind of conflicted here. On one hand, Caleb’s treatment of Catherine is horrible and I want to hate him. But on the other hand, how much can I blame a guy for failing to solve a problem that he seems unequipped to deal with?

    Now I want to stress that I am not any kind of expert here, I merely have a some interest in developmental psychology. The thing is, very young children operate with the assumption that all humans have the same thoughts and know the same things.

    Around the age of four children develop what is known as theory of mind: The concept that other people have thoughts and emotions separate from one’s own. This has obvious practical benefits: If you want mommy to give you a glass of milk, just crying and expecting her to divine your meaning is not very effective. Once you understand that mommy does not have direct access to your thoughts and that you do have to communicate your desire to her somehow, your odds of actually getting what you wanted increase dramatically.

    It seems that Caleb somehow skipped this step. He seems to believe that all he needs to do is get Catherine’s attention somehow (yell at her, pull out a chair for her) and that is enough for her to get a complete understanding of the situation.

    Caleb: *all smug* Maybe I’d like to have dinner with my wife.

    If someone asks you: “Why are you doing this?”, starting the answer with the word “maybe” is not helpful. Caleb treats this exchange as if it were a game they are playing. It doesn’t enter his mind that Catherine is asking the question because she genuinely doesn’t know the answer.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I think Catherine needs to get out of this situation. She needs and deserves a safe place away from this man. But I just keep seeing Caleb as this three-year old in an adult’s body, violently lashing out against a world he can’t comprehend because he’s trapped in a non-functioning mental paradigm: “Why doesn’t Mommy/Catherine understand me when I cry/yell at her?”

    Caleb: She makes everything difficult for me. She’s ungrateful. She’s constantly griping about something.

    Although I have to admit, I’m probably reading far too much of my own problems into this. Particularly the situation with my father. My father has never been violent or abusive. He’s a very quiet and gentle guy. But he shares this same idea that dealing with other people’s emotions is “difficult” and that gives him the excuse to ignore the problem.

    All my life I’ve tried to connect with him, telling him of my feelings and thoughts about a father-son relationship. But all I get is a deeply frustrated: “It’s impossible for me to affect your feelings in any way.” And I don’t know how to respond to that. Of course one can affect how others feel! You say or do stuff, and others have an emotional reaction to that. Sure, you may not always know how they’ll react, but you can affect them.

    After years of trying, I can only conclude that my father is not being deliberately stubborn. He genuinely believes that one human affecting the emotions of another is as impossible as a pig growing wings, and therefore I’m being unreasonable when I expect him to do such a thing.

    The attitude I’m getting from this movie feels very similar to the attitude I get from my father: Feelings are this mysterious force that mere mortals can’t possibly be expected to comprehend. All we can do is give up and wait for some vaguely defined higher power to sort these things out.

    Caleb: Um…it’s about your faith.
    Michael: My faith?
    Caleb: Yeah.
    Michael: What about it?
    Caleb: Well, I’m in.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa! Caleb! Buddy! Don’t strain yourself with this sudden outpouring of emotion regarding your recent life-changing experience!

    Okay, fair enough, maybe in the movie this scene does continue with some additional information being provided, but that just seems a really terse way to communicate something so important. More evidence that in Caleb’s view of the world, if Michael needs to know something about Caleb’s sudden religious conversion or its emotional consequences, well… God can tell him. It’s not as if Caleb himself could be expected to furnish such details.

    ————————–

    This last bit doesn’t really have anything to do with the movie, I’m just using it as an excuse to bring out one of my favourite Bible quotes.

    John seems to think we should feel sorry for Jesus because of all the crap we ungrateful humans give him, but can’t he just take infinite amounts of crap?

    No, his dad would get angry if Jesus started bringing home infinite amounts of crap. As evidence I present the following: Deuteronomy 23:12-13 (rules relating to military life)

    Well… that’s… pretty sensible actually. Not necessarily immediately applicable to modern life since we tend to have better sanitation solutions than “grab a shovel and dig a hole”. But the general principle I can fully agree on: If you live in a camp with lots of other people, you need to have an organized way of dealing with human waste. Otherwise life in the camp will get intolerable for everyone.

    Huh. Whadda you know. Turns out you can rely on the Bible to provide useful practical advice on… Wait, there’s something more, isn’t there?

    Yep, turns out I left out a verse there. Let’s try that again: Deuteronomy 23:12-14

    *facepalm* So the reason for burying your shit is not consideration for other people, but pleasing God. Because apparently seeing shit makes God sad. But being omniscient, doesn’t he see every shit in the world, buried or not? And if God finds excrement so objectionable, why did he design living things to produce it then? Or are we meant to assume that, like all apparent flaws in God’s perfect plan, it was caused by the original sin? So Adam and Eve never needed to take a dump until after they ate the fruit? But animals poop too. Did Adam’s sin somehow also cause the animals to… Aaah, trying to make sense of the Bible makes my head hurt!

    The reason I like that Bible quote, is because it illustrates what I feel is problematic with religious morality in general. Even when the Bible manages to say something useful, it twists it by shoehorning God into it. It’s such a deeply cynical view of human nature: You can’t rely on humans being decent to each other. No, the only way to get them to behave, is to threaten them with divine punishment over every. little. thing.

    I don’t think there is any god, but if I believed in one, I’d want something grand and majestic while still remaining kind and approachable. Not someone who pulls double duty as a poop police. I mean… seriously Bible? You felt that it was necessary to bring in God as the ultimate authority on toilet training? How about showing some respect to your supposed divine being?

    (Sorry about posting an essay. The length got out of hand a bit.)

    • Meruror, the problem is that Caleb’s inability to grasp theory of mind only holds for his wife. I mean his conversion is a bit stilted but he doesn’t have any problem telling his dad his gripes with his wife, or talking to his fire fighter buddy about it.

      Personally, I cannot get past the fact that Caleb isn’t even willing to tell his wife he wants to work on their marriage when she point blank asks him why he is doing this stuff. Unless this is all just an incredibly clever set up to show that Caleb is just a completely incapable nincompoop (marriage-wise) without God. I guess we will have to wait for part 4 to see what effect saying “I’m in ” has on his ability to connect with his wife.

      • All sorts of otherwise sensible people do seem to have a problem with this, though. For example, the idea that one can say “we, between us, have a problem, so rather than fight over who’s solely to blame let’s think about how we can collectively fix it” is one that I had to come up with for myself. (Granted, I wasn’t reading marriage-advice books and they may be full of this stuff, but the idea that it doesn’t matter who’s to blame, that one can make new arrangements without it being a punishment for a previous failing, just doesn’t seem to be in the general culture.)

        Which isn’t to say that it’s the only alternative to this sort of puerile domination game, of course.

      • Yeah, I brought up the theory of mind mainly as a point of comparison, not to seriously suggest that Caleb lacks it. For one, he couldn’t do the hot sauce/tomato juice prank, since that relies on exploiting someone else’s lack of knowledge.

        People are responsible for their actions, sure, but they are also the products of their own past. Caleb is an inconsiderate ass. He just doesn’t know it, because he doesn’t have enough people in his life telling him: “Caleb, you’re being an inconsiderate ass.” Like when he was yelling at his mother, his dad, about the only person Caleb seems to respect, just let the whole thing slide and didn’t call Caleb out on his behaviour.

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