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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Give a Man a Fish - An Ichtheological* Retrospective

Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day.

Give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish. - Timothy Jones

Found this cynical little quotation in my morning e-mail. I do love how people who don't go to church have such pithy things to say about people who do. I looked up Timothy Jones and found several including three liberal and one Republican politician, several athletes (cyclists, cricketers, baseball players, hockey pucks and the like). None listed any religious affiliation in his personal credits.

This is, of course, a takeoff on the "Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you'll feed him for a lifetime." homely that conservatives like to use as their killer argument against no-strings welfare programs. Lots of folks claim to have said it first. The Chinese Taoist philosopher, Lao-Tzu (an early conservative politician) is one of the earliest. The English (of course) claim it as one of their proverbs, though I suspect they quit using it back in the 50s when the labor government started pushing government sponsored British health care. The Germans love this one, only it ends, "Teach a man to work in ze cannery and he vill be a useful member of society for ze rest uff his life."

There have been lots of humorous takeoffs on this sayings and I'm going to finish this on a light note (I promise).  But first let me do my own take on this particular tiring swipe at people of faith.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give a man religion and He will find a way to feed fish to 5,000."

At least that's been my experience with Christians and fishes. Folk like Mr. Jones would like to think persons of faith are dupes and tools of "the establishment". This helps them avoid feeling guilty about skipping weekly services. It's odd then, that so many of them are devoted to building up a massive government that has all the trappings of a religion including idol worship (see Barak Obama), repetitive chanting ("Hope and Change, Hope and Change...), tithing (see IRS, property tax, capital gains tax, and sales tax) and obligatory attendance at religious functions (see Social Security office, The Iowa Caucus, the DMV and the State of the Union Address).  Ah, well. I've always though that religion and politics were virtually indistinguishable anyway.

Now on to the fun stuff.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.....

  •  Teach a Democrat to fish and he'll create a government-funded sport fishing study to figure out how to tax you for fishing. 
  • Teach a man to fish and you can sell him a fishing license, rod, tackle, boat, boat trailer, bigger pickup with a towing package, expensive lures, a sonar rig, subscription to "Bass Masters"....
  • Teach a man to fish and he starts skipping church and sitting in a boat all day drinking beer.
  • Teach a man to fish and he's got a one in seven chance of getting drunk, falling out of his boat and drowninng.
  • Teach a man to play fishing games on X-Box and he won't bother you for weeks!
  • Teach a man to fish and you can get rid of him for a whole weekend.
  • Teach a man to fish; and you will have to listen to the same danged fish stories over and over and over for the rest of your life unless someone accidentally laces his coffee thermos with antifreeze.
  • Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Unless he doesn't like sushi - then you also gonna have to teach him to cook.
  • Give him fish aversion therapy, and he stops pestering you to give him your fish.
  • Give a woman a fishing boat for mother's day and you'll be sleeping on the couch again and she probably won't let you use HER boat.
  • Teach a man to phish, and he'll clean out your bank account.
  • Teach a man to fish and somewhere some woman is inevitably going to have to learn how to clean and gut that fish and fry enough for him and his 10 buddies and their families all the while listening to stories about the one that got away.
  • Teach a man to fish and he will store stink bait, worms and minnows in your fridge.
  • Teach a liberal chick to fish and you'll have to listen to her go on and on about how it's such a cruel sport and you'll have to explain that fish don't have nerves in their lips for about the thousandth time.
  • Teach a woman to fish and you'll soon be riding around in a much cleaner boat.
  • Teach a dog to fish and you can win the $10,000 prize on America's Funniest Home Videos (but only if the dog hooks you in the crotch with a fishing lure).
  • Teach an atheist to fish and maybe you won't have to listen to him bitch about religion all the time cause he'll be too busy bitching that he can't seem to catch any fish.
Got to go. The salmon are running in the Puyallup River and I'm stocking up pink salmon fillets for the winter.

Tom King - Puyallup, Washington
*Yes, I meant to spell it that way - Ickthus (Greek: pertaining to fish) plus theological (Latin: "pertaining to religion")

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