left biblioblography

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Zombie Bunny Day!

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

Special Agent Seeley Booth: “Voodoo! Who's gonna believe that stuff?”easter zombie jesus undead
Dr. Temperance Brennan: “It's a religion, no crazier than... well, what are you? “
Booth: “Catholic. “
Brennan: “They believe in the same saints you do... in prayer... what they call spells, you call miracles... they have priests... “
Booth: “We don't make zombies. “
Brennan: “Jesus rose from the dead in three days... “
Booth: “Jesus is not a zombie! “ – Bones, The Man in the Morgue

How the time flieth. It’s yet another Happy Zombie Day!

And yes, I am unconvinced by all the drive-posters over the years (and even some of the regular commenters for this site) that the mythical man-child Jaybus was anything else besides a zombie.

It seems I’m not alone. Why, there’s even a movie out about it. And the ever-hysterical Uncyclopedia has an entry for it. Why, there’s even a church for it!

Talk about getting a lotta mileage out of a meme. Wow. Wish I could take credit for it.

And amongst the wailing butt-hurt minions of said zombie, this explanation of how Jaysus wasn’t a zombie is among the more amusing.

It is unfortunate, that there is no objectivity gene: it would have spared our species a great deal of nonsense.

For the nerds and nerdettes out there, does anyone recall this bit of Space Opera?

 

If you were/are a Farscape fan, this bit of weirdness is vastly amusing.

Till the next post, then.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Allegories Gone Stupid: More Homophobia Hiding Behind A Mask Of Love….

(Hat tip to the Friendly Atheist)choicestraight
Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

It is a continual source of amazement for those of us who aren’t entirely too jaded: here we have a malevolent, nasty, petty psychopath who for the entire duration of the Old Testament behaved in such a way that by today’s standards, would be put under heavy antipsychotic meds and locked up in an asylum for the criminally insane.

“But wait!” we are told, “these are New Testament times!”

So this gawd character forces himself on some woman, gets laid, has a kid, and suddenly he’s completely mellowed out?

How odd. How very….human.

And thanks to this outdated horse manure, we have the Christians to thank for polluting our children’s minds with anachronistic barbaric stupidity masquerading as heart-felt worry.

And here is the intro to the Day of Dialogue – a day where heteros get to gang up (nicely! with LOVE!) on LGBT folks.

As a high school or college student, do you wish your classmates could hear more of the story—like the truth about God’s deep love for us and what the Bible really says about His redemptive design for marriage and sexuality?

The Iliad has more authenticity than that wretched grimoire.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a deeper and freer conversation could happen when controversial sexual topics are brought up in your school?

It’s called Sex Education – something most religious parents veto when presented with a permission slip.

The good news is, it can—and that’s where Day of Dialogue® comes in. In contrast to the whole idea of silence, this is a day that encourages open dialogue.

Christlation: “We’ll force our beliefs on you in the name of looovvveee

Watch the Day of Dialogue video Focus on the Family firmly believes that the truth will rise to the surface when honest conversations are allowed to happen.

My anecdotal experience is, that religious folks tend to run in the other direction when confronted with any truth.

And that’s why we’re so excited that we’ve become the sponsor for this event. The Day of Dialogue gives you, as a student, the opportunity to express the true model presented by Jesus Christ in the Bible—who didn’t back away from speaking truth, but neither held back in pouring out His incredible, compassionate love for hurting and vulnerable people.

The mythical man-child who contradicted himself consistently? Where the fuck was he during the Holocaust, anyways?

His example calls us to stand up for those being harmed or bullied while offering the light of what God’s Word says.

Yeah, because being mythical means you don’t have to do shit.

And the event gives you a chance to express this balanced perspective in a loving and peaceful way.

By telling people that some imaginary friend is going to shovel them into a furnace? Yeah, rrriggghhttt…

This year, Day of Dialogue happens on April 10—so make plans to participate in your school or college.

There should be a law keeping these hairy-eyed fanatics OUT of our schools.

You can also join us on our Facebook page and on Twitter to get updates, as well as to check out students’ feedback and interact with Day of Dialogue fans.

Well, it’s a few days late, but what the hey. Maybe some of us should go to their Facebook page, and start another ‘dialogue’, one where their utterly infantile nonsense is exposed as witless ignorance, not the youthful sweetness they hide behind.

Even after the event, you can still keep the conversation going at your school and in your neighborhood with the D.O.D. Weekly Challenges and teen-friendly articles and accompanying conversation-starter questions. Get the Dialogue started!

It’s more like the Day of Dipshits. It’s more frightening that they are brainwashing children (don’t get me wrong, I like kids, but for the most part, they’re thick as shit and believe everything they’re told, which is why we as adults make decisions for them, and why they don’t get to decide their own curricula).

The resources and manpower spent on these ludicrous displays of infantile servility would be best served focusing on eliminating hunger, and house the 10 million-odd children gone homeless world-wide. But oh no, here in America, we spend our resources like a drunken sailor on leave on idiocies like homophobia and stifling women’s reproductive rights.

The sooner we’re done with this nonsense, the better.

Till the next post, then.

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Saturday, April 05, 2014

More On The Madness Of Muslims–The Thought Police Wear Thawbs

Cross posted at the Atheist Oasis

jesusandmomisapprehensionTo speak specifically of our problem with the Muslim world, we are meandering into a genuine clash of civilizations, and we're deluding ourselves with euphemisms. We're talking about Islam being a religion of peace that's been hijacked by extremists. If ever there were a religion that's not a religion of peace, it is Islam. – Sam Harris

Is anyone surprised at this?

Saudi Arabia’s New Law Defines Atheism as “Terrorism”, Bans All Criticism of Government

Humanist and secular organizations, as well as civil liberties and human rights groups around the world, have responded with outrage to the news that a new law in Saudi Arabia equates “atheism” with “terrorism”.

The Penal Law for Crimes of Terrorism and its Financing criminalizes as “terrorism” all free expression on a vast range of topics, including advocacy of “atheist thought”, criticism of Islam as it is understood by the state, and any expression deemed to “insult the reputation of the state”.

Saudia Arabia is a current and recently-elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Details of the law

Article 1 of the “terrorism” law prohibits “Calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.” The law was introduced by royal decree without judicial oversight.

Domestic “terrorism” is defined in the decree as “any act” (expressly including non-violent acts) which among other things is intended to “insult the reputation of the state,” “harm public order,” or “shake the security of society”. The terms are very broad, and and could be used to prosecute any criticism of the state, its king or officials, or the state conception of Islam.

The provisions of the “terrorism” law define and outlaw numerous acts and forms of expression as “terrorism”, including:

  • “Calling for atheist thought in any form”;
  • any disloyalty “to the country’s rulers”, or anyone “who swears allegiance to any party, organization, current [of thought], group, or individual inside or outside [the kingdom]“;
  • anyone who aids, affiliates, or holds “sympathy” with any “terrorist” organization as defined by the act, which “includes participation in audio, written, or visual media; social media in its audio, written, or visual forms; internet websites; or circulating their contents in any form”;
  • contact with groups or individuals who are “hostile to the kingdom”
  • and the article on “Seeking to shake the social fabric or national cohesion” prohibits all protest, without qualification as to its message or intent, by outlawing “calling, participating, promoting, or inciting sit-ins, protests, meetings, or group statements in any form”.

Unsurprising. Also un-fucking-believable. The hypocrisy of it all. This group has tried multiple times to get special compensation for their particular fantasies.

Imagine that. A group of people who believe

    1. That a pregnant camel popped out of a stone,
    2. That their ‘profit’ (peanut butter and jelly be upon him) split the moon in half, but only for a select few,
    3. That their ‘profit’ (peanut butter and jelly be upon him) rode to the moon on a winged horse with a woman’s face.

This then is the epitome, the culmination of all the accomodationists’ fuzzy wuzzy feel good nonsense –theocracy. The iron fist in the metal-studded glove. The booted heel (in this case, the sandaled heel) brought down on the neck of the poor and uninformed. It is our worst fears realized.

Till the next post, then.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rattling The Cages Of The Anthrocentric Anti-Intellectuals

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

antiintellectualism

I’m tired of ignorance held up as inspiration, where vicious anti-intellectualism is considered a positive trait, and where uninformed opinion is displayed as fact.”
Phil Plait

Honestly, I have to admit that items like this fill me with a childish glee:

Cosmic terror: Why Neil deGrasse Tyson has religious fundamentalists so freaked

The new Cosmos TV series airing on Fox is a worthy reboot of Carl Sagan’s original. Following in Sagan’s footsteps, host Neil deGrasse Tyson takes viewers on a voyage through the outer reaches of the solar system and beyond, showing how our sun is just one star out of a hundred billion in the majestic spiral of the Milky Way galaxy, and even the Milky Way itself is a speck in the observable universe. As in the original series, he compresses the history of the universe into a single year, showing that on that scale, the human species emerges only in the last few seconds before midnight on December 31.

Sagan’s Cosmos was due for an update, and not just because our computer graphics are better. Since the original series aired, we’ve sent robotic rovers to Mars, sampling its rocks and exploring its history. We’ve detected hundreds of alien planets outside the solar system, finding them by the slight gravitational wobble they cause in their home stars, or by the brief dips in light as they pass across the star’s face as seen from Earth. We’ve found the Higgs boson, the elusive and long-theorized particle that endows everything else with mass. We’ve discovered that the expansion of the Universe which began with the Big Bang is accelerating, driven by a mysterious force called dark energy. All these scientific advances deserve to be recognized and celebrated.

The story of Cosmos is also the story of human beings. For the vast majority of our history as a species, we were wanderers, small hunter-gatherer bands. Civilization is a recent innovation, arising within the last few thousand years, and science is more recent still, appearing only in the last few hundred. But in just those few short centuries, we’ve made dramatic strides, from wooden sailing ships to space shuttles, bloodletting to bionic limbs, quill pens to the Internet. We’ve drawn back the curtain on ancient mythologies and glimpsed the true immensity of time and space. Compared to that vastness, we’re unimaginably small and insignificant; yet we possess an intelligence and a power of understanding that, as far as we still know, is unique among all the countless worlds. As Carl Sagan said, “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

However, not everyone accepts this as a positive development. There have always been those who prefer a small, comprehensible cosmos, with human beings placed firmly at the center. The religious belief systems that posit such a universe were our first, fumbling attempts to explain the origin of the world, and they rarely share power gladly. Those who clash against conventional wisdom, who dare to suggest that the cosmos holds wonders undreamed of in conventional mythology, have always found themselves in grave peril from the gatekeepers of dogma who presume to dictate the thoughts human beings should be permitted to think.

The first episode of the new Cosmos graphically illustrates this with the story of Giordano Bruno, a 16th-century monk who argued that the sun was a star like all the rest, and that every star had its own planets and its own living beings. Bruno wasn’t a scientist, as the show makes clear: his cosmological views flowed from his mystical, pantheist theology, not from evidence. But that made no difference to the Inquisition, which imprisoned and tortured Bruno, and when he refused to recant, burned him at the stake. His statue still stands in the Campo dei Fiori where he was executed, facing the Vatican as if accusing those who murdered him.

There’s also Bruno’s contemporary, Galileo Galilei, the astronomer who discovered the moons of Jupiter and argued for the heliocentric solar system. As a reward for his revolutionary scientific work, he was judged suspect of heresy by the Inquisition and forced to abjure his own work under threat of torture; his books were banned and he was sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life. The story of Galileo’s persecution is so well-known that I’d hesitate to retell it yet again, if it weren’t for the fact that church apologists like Jay Wesley Richards are still defending and soft-pedaling it.

In fact, even Bruno’s torture and execution still have their defenders, like the creationist site Evolution News and Views, or professional outrage-monger William Donohue of the Catholic League, who ludicrously claimed that the Spanish Inquisition was a good thing. A Catholic cardinal, Angelo Sodano, likewise said in 2000 that the inquisitors who condemned Bruno “had the desire to serve freedom and promote the common good and did everything possible to save his life.”

And from Carl Sagan’s original series, one more cautionary tale: the story of Hypatia of Alexandria, a philosopher, astronomer and mathematician who lived in fourth-century Egypt in the waning days of the Roman Empire. Christianity was on the rise and bent on stamping out pagan ideas, and Hypatia was despised by the local bishop, Cyril of Alexandria, who hated her for her friendship with the governor and the different worldview she represented. Despite the personal danger she was in, she continued to study and to teach until, one day, she was assaulted in the street by a mob of Christian fanatics who dragged her from her chariot and hacked her to death with tiles. Her works were destroyed, her books lost. Cyril was made a saint. (Hypatia’s life and death were dramatized in the 2009 film Agora, starring Rachel Weisz.)

But this kind of persecution isn’t just a relic of ancient history. While we’re thankfully past the days when scientists could be stoned in the streets or imprisoned by church tribunals, the anti-science spirit is alive and virulent in the world today, waving away facts that disagree with its ideology and seeking to silence or intimidate those who speak inconvenient truths.

We can see this most clearly with one of the most urgent issues confronting the human species, the danger of global climate change. While it’s a matter of uncontroversial fact among scientists that the burning of fossil fuels is changing the Earth’s climate in perilous ways, climate science is far less accepted among the public, driven by fierce resistance from those who have an ideological reason for disbelieving it.

The renowned climate scientist Michael Mann, whose work forms the basis for United Nations climate reports and the famous “hockey stick” graph that illustrates global temperature rises, has been the subject of continual harassment by conservative legislators, including frivolous subpoenas by Ken Cuccinelli, the former right-wing attorney general of Virginia, accusing him of scientific fraud. In other localities, the right-wing response to climate change has reached epic levels of head-in-the-sand denial, such as when the North Carolina legislature passed a lawforbidding science to be used in forecasting future sea-level rise.

Religious groups have joined the banner of climate-change denial as well, calling the environmental movement a pagan religion and arguing that global warming is a nonissue because the Bible says God won’t allow the Earth to change too much. When moderate evangelical Richard Cizik argued that Christians should devote more time to environmental issues, he was pressured and eventually forced to resign his vice-presidential position in the National Association of Evangelicals by religious-right groups who said that talking about global warming would “shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time.”

The theory of evolution is, if anything, even more convincingly established than climate change—if only because it has the benefit of over a hundred years of diligent scientific work in support of it—yet it too runs into roadblocks of resistance from religious conservatives.

A Pew poll from last year found that a majority of Republican voters are creationists, and church-state separation groups routinely hear reports of creationists working as teachers in public schools and preaching their beliefs in the classroom. Just last month, Bill Nye the Science Guy publicly debated Ken Ham, a creationist who believes the universe is only 6,000 years old—which is, for the record, considerably younger than the oldest cities on the planet—and who wants to build a theme park dedicated to the genetically and geologically impossible proposition that every species on the planet is descended from just two individuals who sailed on Noah’s ark.

But while future generations will suffer the consequences of climate change, and rejecting evolution deprives us of a keystone in the scientific understanding of our place in the world, the deadly consequences of the anti-scientific mindset can most clearly be seen in the anti-vaccination movement.

Thanks to the unsubstantiated fear-mongering of celebrities with no medical or scientific credentials, vaccination rates are declining and herd immunity has weakened—with the entirely predictable consequence that highly contagious diseases like measles and whooping cough have reemerged, including in cities and countries that had long been free of them. Vaccination is one of the simplest, safest and most effective medical interventions ever invented, and the diseases it prevents are killers (yes, even chicken pox). There’s no reason whatsoever why people (mostly children) should still suffer and die from them, other than a foolish and tragic lack of trust in scientific knowledge.

These stories go on and on, from antichoice groups pushing the pseudoscientific myth that IUDs and other contraceptive methods cause abortions or spreading falsehoods about the health risks of abortion, to the gun paranoia lobby demanding prohibitions on using public money to study gun violence. But no matter the field or the discovery, the ideologically driven rejection of science diminishes and impoverishes us in ways even beyond the immediate, practical harm it causes.

Science is the most powerful tool ever invented for the expansion of our intellectual horizon, and even besides its concrete benefits, it’s done us the immeasurable service of helping reveal our place in a vast, ancient and wondrous universe. Through following the scientific method, we’ve learned that we are congealed stardust, the heavy elements of our bodies forged in supernovae; we’ve learned that we were shaped by evolution, our DNA reaching back in an unbroken chain of descent to the origin of life on Earth, expanding outward to bind us to every other living organism in a tree of kinship.

These profound revelations ought to have far more power to move and inspire us than any human-centered mythology — and they ought to expand our moral horizons as well, by showing us our fragility and fundamental equality at the genetic and cognitive level. While science can be misused to create tools of terrible destruction, there have been at least as many times when it resolutely refused to confirm popular prejudices, and so it’s no surprise that it’s so often hated by regressive, superstitious, authoritarian world views both religious and political.

Other than my perception of science as a tool in and of itself, a glorious point.

On a personal note, I recall when my family moved from a bad part of Union City into the pretty suburbs of Pleasanton. Thinking, “oh, but this place has got to be different”, I proceeded to show off the intellect I had had to go to great lengths to hide in my prior environment.

Boy, was I wrong. It resulted in some boyish bruises and more lessons hard learned.

My somewhat anecdotal point is this: tribalism has outlived its usefulness. Perhaps at some point in the collective gestalt/conscience of our species will rise past these inept, insane, unnecessary defense mechanisms. How many other children in the world have been harassed, bullied, horrendously mistreated, for the innocent crime of being smart? It’s a pre-programmed response in this country now, that dates back to whom knows when.

And that’s a whole lotta work for those of us who understand that – because if the bleat goes on, so does the struggle. And educating others can be exhausting sometimes.

Till the next post, then.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Accomodationists Across The Pond

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

Theocracy‘A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything’ – Nietzsche

In a world where the faithful are rewarded for their willful ignorance, this is unsurprising news:

Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs

Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.

Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.

The documents, which would be recognized by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs.

Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognize only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.

Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society, said the guidance would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.

  And if that wasn’t sufficient to cause a sputter of outrage, likely this will:

Christian beliefs should be 'accommodated' under law – top judge

Christians with traditional beliefs about issues such as homosexuality should be given “reasonable accommodation” in law, Britain’s most senior woman judge has said.

Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said the UK is “less respectful” towards people with religious views than other countries, despite its long Christian traditions.

She questioned whether the current “hard line” approach to discrimination claims, based on EU law, could be sustained in the long term.

Her comments, in a lecture at Yale law School in the US, follow a series of cases in which British Christians claimed to be suffering religious discrimination but lost their cases.

They include Shirley Chaplin, a nurse from Exeter, who was banned from wearing a cross at work as well as Gary McFarlane, a former Relate counsellor, and Lillian Ladele, a marriage registrar, who both lost their jobs after resisted performing tasks they said went against their religious beliefs.

Belief is no commodity: its very ubiquity renders it meaningless. Yet its inflated value has been drummed into us from birth, another legacy of saturation. Should we then respect Aztec worshippers rights to sacrifice virgins? Why give preferential treatment then?

‘That’s the way it is’, by the way, should not be considered a sufficient answer.

As atheist, all I ask for, is that everyone be treated equally. Which dictates something of an ‘in for a penny in for pound’ dictum.

And since it is too much to ask for, apparently we’ll have to fight all the harder for it.

Till the next post, then.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fractured Fairy Tales – Keeping An Even Keel

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisnoahs-gunboat

“And why does this same God tell me how to raise my children when he had to drown his?”
― Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses

Let me go on the record (for the nth time), that it’s ridiculous that all these idiots are getting puffed up over specific renditions of a fucking fairy tale:

Darren Aronofsky's Noah faces ban in Muslim countries

Darren Aronofksy's Noah could be banned across large swaths of the Middle East and parts of north Africa for contravening Islamic rules on the depiction of prophets, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The fantasy epic, which stars Russell Crowe as the biblical patriarch, has already been refused a licence by censors in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Egypt could well follow suit, with Jordan and Kuwait also expected to outlaw the film on religious grounds.

"Al-Azhar renews its rejection to [sic] the screening of any production that characterises Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [Muhammad]," said one of Egypt's leading Sunni Muslim institutes in a statement. "Therefore, al-Azhar announces the prohibition of the upcoming film about Allah's messenger Noah – peace be upon him." The institute, which is influential but does not have the final say on censorship, added that the movie "contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers ... and antagonises the faithful".

Noah is currently due to open in Egypt on 26 March, two days ahead of its US debut. The film has already caused controversy amid reports that US fundamentalist Christian groups were dismayed at Aronofksy's decision to produce a loose adaptation of the Bible story rather than a literal retelling. Studio Paramount, which is desperate to court religious filmgoers, last week issued a statement making clear that the movie is not intended as a direct translation.

Aronofsky famously gave up final cut on Noah in return for a $160m budget. But he nevertheless appears to have convinced executives to show his version of the film in cinemas, rather than the reported half a dozen alternative cuts put together by the studio in an attempt to keep churchgoers happy.

"The controversy is all about the unknown and about the fear of people trying to exploit a Bible story," Aronofsky told Variety this week. "It will all disappear as soon as people start seeing the film."

The director of Black Swan and The Wrestler hinted he was likely to return to smaller, more intimate movies after the travails he has faced bringing Noah to cinemas.

"I love big movies and small movies and television," said the film-maker. "I love storytelling, but I'm not going to make another [nine-figure-budget film] tomorrow. I need a break."

Oh wow. So let’s get this straight: religious idiots are carrying on about details and accuracy in a demonstrably unproven fairy tale? There is absolutely no evidence that the ‘great deluge’ ever occurred (a few stories in different cultures doesn’t count – it only proves that interesting stories travel, and/or that our ancestors didn’t know how to interpret fossils), let alone any proof that all the animals across the world inexorably marched to the Middle East, nor that any of the people involved in this ‘event’ actually existed. In fact, I find the show ‘Gilligan’s Island’ to be far more accurate and realistic than any campfire stories told by some Israelite shepherds centuries ago.

It’s well past time our species outgrew these kindergarten nonsenses. Religion is Man’s effort to force his own shadow upon the universe.

Till the next post, then.

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Sunday, March 09, 2014

More On The Madness Of Muslims: More Comic Book Nonsense

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

jesusandmodepicition“Man, you straight outta a comic book” – Jim Kelly, Enter The Dragon

  This is more pathetically hysterical than irritating:

Malaysia censors Ultraman comic for 'irresponsible use of the word Allah'

Malaysia has banned a translation of an Ultraman comic book after it referred to the popular Japanese superhero as "Allah", authorities said.

The home ministry, which is in charge of domestic security and censorship, said the Malay-language edition of Ultraman, The Ultra Power contains elements that can undermine public order and morals.

In a statement, it said Ultraman was idolised by many children and equating him with Allah would "confuse Muslim youth and damage their faith".

It further warned that irresponsible use of the word could provoke Muslims and threaten public safety.

The Malaysian government is embroiled in an intense court battle with the Catholic church over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims, in a case that has raised religious tensions in the majority Muslim country.

Ultraman is a fictional Japanese superhero who fights skyscraper-sized "Kaiju" (monsters), and first appeared on television in the 1960s. The comic gained popularity worldwide, including in Malaysia, where versions dubbed in Malay were screened on TV and comic books translated into the national language.

The home ministry said other Ultraman comic books were unaffected and that only this edition was banned.

The decision has led to widespread ridicule among Malaysian Facebook and Twitter users – including from the youth and sports minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, who asked: "Apa salah Ultraman? (What wrong did Ultraman do?)"

The controversial line can be seen in an image available on social media that describes Ultraman: "He is considered, and respected, as Allah or the Elder to all Ultra heroes."

The ban is enforced under the Printing Presses and Publications Act, a much-criticised law that gives authorities wide-ranging powers over printed material, which was also used to bar the Catholic church from using "Allah" in its publications.

The home ministry in 2007 threatened to revoke the publishing permit of the Herald, the Catholic church's newspaper, for using the word in its Malay edition, leading to a seven-year legal battle that has raised religious tensions.

The church is seeking leave from the nation's highest court to challenge a lower court's ruling last October that sides with the government.

The tussle has led to a wider struggle over whether the word can be used by non-Muslims in their translated scripture or other practices of worship.

Seriously? A comic book? Undermining the moral fabric of society? Where have we heard this hoary old chestnut before?

This is more of a head-shaker than a knee-slapper, though. If your kids are that easily influenced by a comic book, a song, or a movie, then you’re obviously not doing that great a job as a parent. Another by-product of overpopulation coupled with religious nonsense: too many people in the world leads to piss-poor parenting.

The only question left is: will this item become a collectible? Should we go out and buy a bunch of these bad boys, in hopes of making bank a decade later?

Likely not. But one can hope.

Till the next post, then.

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