Agora

Home from England, safe and sound. I’ve been fed (thanks to my parents) and have also taken a shower so I no longer smell like the inside of a plane. So really, I’m feeling refreshed and human again, but incredibly tired. I knew we’d gotten back into the US of A when, upon entering the immigration area, there was a TSA agent wandering around and telling everyone that we had to keep our cell phones off because it was illegal to have them on. For no apparent reason. Oh capricious and ridiculous airport security, I haven’t missed you at all.

I spent most of the flight back watching movies. One of them was Agora, which is a movie about the fall of Alexandria to the Christians and the death of Hypatia. So, I expected it to be a very depressing movie, because we all know what happens to Hypatia.**

What I didn’t expect was how angry the movie made me feel. Not angry at the movie, but just angry, the emotion building up from helpless frustration.

One image the movie kept coming back to was the library of Alexandria, after it had been ransacked by the Christians. The movie showed it as basically being destroyed inside, the scrolls torn up or gone entirely because they’d been burned, and animals were then penned inside it. The willful, gleeful disregard and hatred of knowledge made me angry, even if it was just a movie, even if it was an event that happened over a thousand years ago.

Then I think about our modern day situation, say, with John Shimkus on the Energy and Environment subcommittee, claiming that global climate change can’t be true because of something the Bible says. And I feel exactly the same sort of building, helpless frustration, because I don’t think we’ve really changed at all since Hypatia was flayed and dragged through the streets of Alexandria.

It’s a good movie. Watch it. Be prepared to cry at the end. And to feel angry, so angry, every time you see the destroyed library, every time someone makes an argument based completely on illogic and blind belief that simply can’t be refuted because no one would listen.

** – Just in case you don’t know, let’s just say that the Christians didn’t give her chocolates and an award for being female, outspoken, and interested in science.

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