Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a take on a couple of religious columns from the newspaper

ricky gervaisToday we have two great columns from The God Squad (can you be a squad if you are only one guy?) and Billy Graham.  The arguments are so poor in both that only together do they provide enough fodder for one post.  Since I know I have quite a few Christians following my blog, I invite you to comment on these columns here.  I also ask, that if you ever use my posts as source material for your own (and please feel welcome to do so), that you please let me know.    

First up, we have Rabbi Gellman addressing that age-old question: Are women and men spiritual equals? If they are, and a woman has a calling, why shouldn’t she be able to fully participate in the (Catholic) Church and be a priest?  Well, if we look in the bible, either the OT or NT, the answer is *no* men and women are not equals.  Some Christians claim they are and cite the bible; some Christians don’t and cite the bible. We get treated to the rabbi’s version in his column.  

The person asking the rabbi if women were equal cited a quote (the bolded part) from the rabbi about the new pope in reference to his question. Rabbi Gellman says he “loves” the Catholic Church.  Hilarious, I know since the Catholic Church is sure that he’s going to be tortured in hell.   The rabbi said this about Pope Francis: 

“So what I pray is that Pope Francis loves tradition, not because it’s old, but because it’s true. Old practices that are true but unpopular need to be preserved. Old practices that are just old and not true need to be let go. The only way to distinguish between them is to have a firm grasp of eternal truth. This is the hardest task. Therefore, I hope the new pope is a wise man.”

Why, if the rabbi loves the Catholic Church, he doesn’t need to “hope” that the pope is a wise man.  If Gellman loves the church, I would think he would have to believe that his god is at work there and would never put someone “unwise” in the position of pope.   But since the good rabbi isn’t a Catholic, I seem to sense some doubt about how great the Catholic Church is.  The rabbi also must doubt that the Catholics have a “firm grasp” of the “eternal truth” since the rabbi isn’t running to be baptized into the RCC.

So….  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a take on a couple of religious columns from the newspaper”

Here is every reason to be an atheist

as always worthwhile quotes from J. Meslier posted here.

Random thoughts

Without doubt the more to perplex matters, theologians have chosen to say nothing about what their God is; they tell us what He is not. By negations and abstractions they imagine themselves composing a real and perfect being, while there can result from it but a being of human reason. A spirit has no body; an infinite being is a being which is not finite; a perfect being is a being which is not imperfect. Can any one form any real notions of such a multitude of deficiencies or absence of ideas? That which excludes all idea, can it be anything but nothingness? To pretend that the divine attributes are beyond the understanding of the human mind is to render God unfit for men. If we are assured that God is infinite, we admit that there can be nothing in common between Him and His creatures. To say that God is infinite, is to destroy Him for men, or at least…

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Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Apologetics, the real alchemy

apologeticsOne of the strangest things about religion is the concept of apologetics.  Apologetics is essentially when criticism of a position is answered and rebutted, or at least that’s attempted.  It can be used for any position but the term is usually used for attempts to defend religious positions and beliefs.  The strangeness of apologetics in religion is that there should be no need for it at all.  If religion is truth and if it is from a omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent (e.g. the God is love! nattering) god, it should be self-evident within the words themselves. It should not change from person to person, culture to culture and age to age.

However, it does and many theists know that this is a problem, one made worse with the advent of easy information retrieval. They often say that apologetics is “just” the defense of their faith, but in reality, it is “defense of my version of my faith, the only *right* one”.  Those two things are quite a bit different.  

Since I know Christianity better, I shall focus on that.  However, most points made about it will be applicable to any religion. Here’s a brief overview. 

Apologetics started early in Christianity, with JC being called on the spot to defend his version of Judaism against the Saducees and Pharisees, if the story is to be believed.  His teachings were different than the other Jews but if one reads the bible, the differences were more about the intent of the law as opposed to the application.  For instance, should the draconian law of no one may work on a “Sabbath” be understood as that or should there be some leeway in the interpretation so one isn’t murdering people for tending the ill, milking a cow, etc?  And having lived on a dairy farm, I know that cows do not care about the Sabbath. You might think that this god would have “intelligently designed” them so they did.  🙂

Indeed, this concept of interpretation is the basis of religious apologetics everywhere: what does this stuff *really* mean and how can we determine it? 

Paul continued on the path of apologetics when he came up with his own versions of what this god really meant and his own defense of it.  One can find websites devoted to the idea that JC and Paul did not agree on many things (an interesting one  demonstrating the fractioning of Christianity along those lines from Christianity Today notice the “careful nuancing” aka coming up with yet one more “interpretation”.  Here’s another and another.).  Indeed, you can find websites (here’s one that will burn your eyes by the usual problem that nutty people have with designing a webpage and one about as bad rebutting it) that decry Paul as an anti-christ since he fits the warning JC gave about anti-christs nicely.(Matthew 24).  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Apologetics, the real alchemy”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – My body is mine: I support Amina

013-The-Lord-is-not-my-shepardI’m a little late on the International Day to Defend Amina (not safe for work because of revealed breasts), but I’ll take my stab at women, men and religion in support of this woman who told a ignorant patriarachal religion and culture, “My body belongs to me.”  and now is being abused by that religion/culture. Knowing these vermin, she might well be dead. I hope not.  Every voice should be raised against such things.

Ignorant and patriarchal United States lawmakers and citizens, take note.  

Many religions are very anti-women, especially the “book” religions from the east side of Mediterranean.  They want to pretend that women are second class citizens or worse and they want to control women.  The second bit of stupidity is, I’m guessing, from the utterly tribal nature of religion.  Women were necessary to the continuation of the tribe, so they were treated like property.  We can see that repeatedly underlined in the Judeo/Christian Bible and the Qu’ran, the late offshoot of the first. 

First we get women being made equal with men, in the first version of the Genesis story.  Then ah, someone comes up with a new one, where Eve is just a chunk of Adam, made after the god is too stupid to realize that aardvarks and zebras aren’t much of a “helpmeet” to a man.  It’s also rather hard to have more little humans made if this god isn’t just whipping them up out of dirt and spit.  Then we have the talking snake coming up to the woman (indeed why not Adam?) and correctly telling her that this god does not tell the truth and allowing her to get the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam then accepts the fruit from her (not terribly bright fellow) and we’re off to the races.  

Next up is the commandments, which repeatedly enforce the idea that women are property.  The whole “do not covet” commandment is all about property e.g. slaves, wife, oxen, donkeys, etc. We also get the tribal nature of women being a necessity and needing to remain “pure” many times in the OT.  A raped woman is to be considered a monetary problem since the women is forced to marry her rapist and can’t be used as chattel. An adulterous women is to be killed.  If a priest’s daughter is found not a virgin, she’s to be burned to death, but golly no mention of the sons.  Women are to be given to ravenous mobs to be raped if a man so deems it. 

And this doesn’t end in the OT.  We have Paul sure that women are less than men, that they should never teach men, that they should remain silent (yes, the bible does say that they can prophecy. bit of a problem there.) Some more here

We have the qu’ran insisting that menstruation is a filthy disease (funny how allah is responsible for it)  Female virgins are things to get in paradise. Women are no more than a field to plow and are worth “half” a mann.  More here. The qu’ran is actually a bit better than the bible in some ways, at least women inherit something, but alas most imams ignore those bits and still focus on their tribal nonsense.  Good to see that they’re just as bad about telling what’s really in their holy book as your average pastor or priest. 

All this speaks of is that men in these cultures and religions are pathetic beings, unable to grow or change. I certainly don’t think all men are like this (my husband being completely unlike these little twits).  But men (and for that matter women because we all know some like this) who buy into the primitiveness and willful ignorance of these religions and their attitudes about women are poor humans indeed.  They are afraid of other men. They are afraid of women. They have no self-control but oh are they greedy for control over others. They have such weak and flagging honor that they must blame others if they feel they aren’t seen as honorable enough. They must invent a god that is as incompetent as they are so they might hide behind its skirts when excusing their failings. 

They deserve nothing but our contempt.

From the Bar – A buncha beers

beerThis weekend we tried a few new beers. We also sampled more of our aging Belgian Golden Ale, which is getting very nice.  It was a time to sample rather have a lot of anyone thing thanks to the evil beeper.  🙂  

These first three were got at my local Giant grocery store.  They recently opened a beer section thanks to the relatively new Pennsylvania law. . 

Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale – Yes, it’s *that* Morimoto if you are a fan of Iron Chef.  The ale is extremely light in feel, though a dark amber in color with a frothy pale head. The percentage alcohol is 4.8%.  I really don’t taste anything particularly soba, aka buckwheat, in this ale (love buckwheat pancakes and the noodles).  But it would make a great refreshing beer for a hot sultry summer day.  I wonder what a shot of yuzu would do for it. There is a stronger version of this called Black Obi, which I would like to try. 

Elysian Bete Blanche –  This is a Belgian style tripel.  I’ll have to say that I think our Belgian style ale is just as good.  This one has 7.5% alcohol.  To me, it smells like cream soda, which is different from our own which has a very strong spice aroma.  This one isn’t as sweet as some triples can be and I can taste some of the vegetal notes of the hops.     Continue reading “From the Bar – A buncha beers”

From the Kitchen – Three classics and kibitzing about movies and TV

This weekend we stuck around the house.  Husband was on call and couldn’t do much.  Not even play his new Starcraft game. Now free from the beeper, he’s happily being a Zerg.  I cooked and we watched some shows from the premium cable channels and some favorite movies to kill time. 

I’ll have to say that it’s good the shows were free since I wouldn’t bother to pay extra for them.  We watched 2 episodes of Game of Thrones.  I briefly tried reading the books and got annoyed with the characters being indistinguishable from each other.  In the books and in the show, all came off as some combination of venal, puerile and not terribly bright.  With the constant and pointless political machinations, I found that GoT to be low fantasy evidently aimed for those who like reality shows. Others certainly do seem to like it; I don’t.   

I watched some of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena which is a prequel to the first season.  As always, gorgeous people killing each other and having sex.  I did find it a little less dependent on those things and having a bit more story so it wasn’t quite as repetitive.  I liked Crixus and Dottore/Oenemaus from the first season so it was nice to see more of them…ahem…and I do like a good revenge story as a guilty pleasure.  I haven’t watched any of the third and I believe final season where Spartacus does have to end a certain way. 

The movies watched were Dr. Strangelove again, so I’m here humming “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…”  Not that it isn’t always a bit depressing to watch, but when I can see the same nonsense spouted 40 years ago by General Jack D. Ripper being repeated now by idiot politicians, I just have to sigh. 

The other notable movie was “Paul”, where two nerds (Shaun of the Dead guys) pick up an alien, Paul (Grey type alien) and their misadventures.  I find it very funny, with good self-inflicted humor about nerds, some amusement at Christian creationists’ expense and just enough pathos which means very little.  Favorite line: “I’m not going to eat a *dead* bird am I?””.  Sigourney Weaver has a great cameo.  

Now for the food.  This weekend’s big meal was Caesar salad, barbeque ribs, mashed potatoes and red velvet cake.   Continue reading “From the Kitchen – Three classics and kibitzing about movies and TV”