left biblioblography: August 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

GIRLY MEN: OF TRANSITION, TRANSGENDERS, AND TRADITIONAL TRIPE

This has been updated recently:

From the first link -
“Gwen Araujo was beaten and strangled to death in the fall of 2002, not far from her home in Newark, CA. In September 2005, two young men were convicted of her murder.”

Latest news is:
”The man who led police to the body of a transgender Newark teen apologized to the victim's family Friday before being sentenced to 11 years in prison in a case that focused the country's attention on violence against transgender individuals.”

Also, from the same:”In September 2005, the jury in the second trial concluded that Michael Magidson, 25, and Jose Merel, 26, had beaten and strangled Araujo after learning that the person they had had oral and anal sex with was biologically male. The same panel deadlocked in favor of a second-degree murder conviction on Jason Cazares, 26.
In January, Magidson and Merel were sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder in Araujo's killing.”

It made the news in the S.F bay area, mostly because around here, this is GLBT-friendly country. Had it happened, in say, Montana, or some other distant state, we’d not have heard about it.



This sort of shit sickens me to no end. I’ve heard stories similar to this (not involving murder), where young men have had some form of sexual relations with a TV (transvestite), only to become violent when they find out later (granted, it wasn’t a smart move on the TV’s part: most people don’t appreciate deceit). The last time I heard one of these anecdotes, I got livid. The guy who told it thought it particularly amusing.

It’s not funny. I very loudly announced that the idiots who’d had sex with one of these people (and yes, they’re as human as you or I) should make more of an effort to keep their tools in their pants.

15 years to life? And I quote:
” Merel struck Araujo in the head with a vegetable can and skillet, Nabors said. Nabors said he and Cazares had then gone to Cazares' home to get some shovels.
Cazares said, "We're going to get some shovels. They're going to kill that b -- ," according to Nabors.

They used fucking shovels on her, for fuck’s sake.

There’s just so much wrong with their responses. I wish these assholes had gotten the needle.
I have a problem with bozos that go around smacking people who are different. Growing up bullied has made me terribly simpatico with minorities.

Far as I’m concerned, gay-bashers are right up there with pedophiles, Nazis, and other lowbrow ilk.

I’m a peaceable fellow, but the first clown who brags about this in earshot of me will be picking his teeth up from the ground. I’m dead serious.

I have waxed long and angry about this (sub) topic, here (the section about the ‘one man/one woman’ paradigm), so I shan’t belabor the point.

As my friend Frances the Magnificent would say (paraphrased here): We own ourselves. Nobody else does. So it’s nobody’s business WHO sleeps with WHOM. So mind your own damn business.

And if you find GBLT folks threatening?

Let’s just say this: that’s your problem, buddy-me-boyo, so go get some therapy, instead of targeting someone who isn’t ‘one of us’, or whatever elitist bullshit slogan you happen to use to justify the laying-on of hands on another human being.

Because discrimination is pure prejudice, no matter how you spin it.

So do me a favor, willya? Next time you start in on gay marriage, homosexuality, transexuality, or any other caste-type horse manure that involves two (or more) consenting adults, walk over to the nearest mirror, look yourself dead in the eyes, and repeat after me: ”Bigot.”

That’s my nickel’s worth. I’m too disgusted to suggest how anyone should spend it.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

STEPPING THROUGH THE GATES OF ATHEISM: MY PERSONAL JOURNEY PART THE TRES – INGERSOLL AND BARTON.

My last installment concerned Paine and Holding – this one will, as the title suggests, deal with (this is the last time, I promise) one more heretic, and one more theist.

Yes, you may have noticed that I had a trinity war of sorts, three heretics vs. three theists. For those of you with an allegorical bent: this was how it happened. Why three?  My best guesses are, that I was a middle child (right between an older and younger sister – the psychological horror of that dynamic is only lost on those who haven’t experienced anything similar).

Be that as it may: onwards.

Somewhere in the course of things, I stumbled across these two – Ingersoll and Barton – in my frantic search for facts across that deeply spun tapestry of information and disinformation that we call the World Wide Web.

I am unsure as to whom I encountered first, so we’ll go alphabetically:

In the course of my discussions with my BAX buddy (born again xtian), the topic of school prayer was mentioned. Having plenty of time on my hands, I rolled up my sleeves, and set to research this concept, that of religious prayer being banned from the school system. I went to this site, to begin my research.


By this time, I’d already written one letter to David Barton, who is one of the foremost proponents of ‘Original Intent – America was founded on xtian principles’, in which I very politely pointed out that by no means (due to my reading of the actual three pivotal documents) was my country founded on any such thing. I had also written a second letter pointing out some egregious errors he made in misquoting Paine. I then began to plumb the depths of this conception.

It was, to put it mildly, outrageous. Barton, as it turned out, misquoted, used confirmation bias, had written a book called ‘The Myth of Separation of Church and State’ which had numerous bogus quotes from the founding fathers, and – surprise, surprise! – gave a number of examples about school prayer specifically tailored to give the impression of martyrdom and the ‘war against religion’ in the current culture wars. Most of which came apart like Kleenex on a loud hard nose-blow.

In short, Barton was and is an inveterate liar. One needs to but google this ‘myth’, and pick at random any three sites, and these lies are perpetuated. Challenge any of the perpetuators, and you will most likely receive one of two responses:A. Barton is an xtian, and therefore gets the benefit of the doubt, or
B. You’ll be ignored.

As I have stated before: I can’t abide dishonesty. A lie is a lie – no amount of spin doctoring can alter that.

I took each example from his laundry list of ills and woes – items such as ‘If a student prays over his lunch, it is unconstitutional for him to pray aloud. REED v. VAN HOVEN, 1965’ as one example, or ENGEL v. VITALE, 1962; ABINGTON v. SCHEMPP, 1963; COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION v. SCHOOL COMMITTEE OF LEYDEN, 1971 or ‘It is unconstitutional for a war memorial to be erected in the shape of a cross. LOWE v. CITY OF EUGENE, 1969’, a number of such cases, and took them apart piecemeal.

It was staggering: mind-boggling: such deceit in the cooking of facts was…words fail me.

His own testimonial (I paraphrase here) is that gawd came to him in a vision (or a voice, I forget), told him jebus was the one and only, etc, etc, et al. and that he was to go and PROVE that the USA was indeed founded on “Christian principles”.  

I smell agenda here, folks.

Somewhere in this bewildering search for the ‘truth’ (of which most xtians seem to have a distinct lack of understanding), I stumbled across Robert Ingersoll.

A preacher’s son, deeply familiar with the bible, an avowed agnostic, perhaps one of the most powerful rhetoriticians in this or any other century, his words still ring out to us to this day. His complete works are to be found here. Some Mistakes of Moses is, in my humble opinion, a must-read for any infidel. He blows G.K. Chesterton smack out of the water.  

One of his least famous (and it should be counted as a deed of worth) manuevers is tackling the xtian lie that Voltaire and Paine recanted their words on their deathbeds. These lies were being spread about (and still are to this day), and Ingersoll attacked them head-on:

“The old falsehoods about Voltaire, Paine, Hume, Julian, Diderot and hundreds of others, grow green every spring. They are answered; they are demonstrated to be without the slightest foundation; but they rarely die. And when one does die there seems to be a kind of Caesarian operation, so that in each instance although the mother dies the child lives to undergo, if necessary, a like operation, leaving another child, and sometimes two.”

And from here:

“A lecture in San Francisco in the summer of 1877 Col. Ingersoll offered to give $1,000 in gold to any clergyman who would prove that Thomas Paine "died in terror because of religious opinions he had expressed, or that Voltaire did not pass away as serenely as the coming of the dawn." The New York Observer, a Presbyterian paper published in New York, Irenaeus Prime, editor, called upon him to put up the money, characterizing his offer as "infidel buncombe," upon which the following correspondence ensued:”

He also offered this reward to Voltaire’s detractors as well. Sufficient to say, some came forward to claim it, but no one could.

This quote struck me to the core, after having read of the web of deceit spun around these most ignoble of endeavors:

"One by one the instruments of torture have been wrenched from the cruel clutch of the Church, until within the armory of orthodoxy there remains but one weapon -- Slander."

But even Ingersoll (and Darwin) was falsely accused of recantation. There was one lie that Ingersoll’s son had, after growing up in an infidelian (is that even a word?) atmosphere, had been committed to an insane asylum (even though RGI hadn’t ever sired a son!).

I could go on forever about Mr. Ingersoll, but these factoids will do for now.

Let’s encapsulate.

I compared the facts, historicity, and narrative of the bible against reality, and the bible failed. Moreover, I measured three infidels of the past against three major apologists of the present, and even with the technology, the followings, the piles upon piles of written works, they fail miserably in comparison. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that their compiled works aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. What a waste of precious foliage: for while every drop of water on earth still exists in one form or another, the same cannot be said of every tree.

In the meantime, allow me this bit of reverence (and poetic license) -Voltaire, Paine, Ingersoll: these three names are written upon the gates of my atheism, and though the volumes of superstition and the words of mortal men may rail against them, they shall not be erased, though the storm winds attain gale force, I stand firm till the day I die.

I stand on the shoulders of giants: I only hope that someday, that I may be worthy.

Till the next post, then.

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JESUS IS COMING BACK, AND BOY, IS HE PISSED!

I found this via a blog of a blog of a friend (it's especially funny if you've seen the movie, 'Kill Bill 2). Special note - if you're a Christian, you will definitely NOT appreciate this:



Courtesy of the Nogodzone

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

THE RELUCTANT ATHEIST IS NO MORE

As of the 27th of this month, August, my old website will be gone. Truthfully, I plunged into the blogosphere, and I prefer it to having a static site, and I prefer to have any interactions a matter of public record, rather than private emails (not saying I won’t take them, but I’ve seen what happens when two parties have such an exchange: somebody somewhere sometimes gets their panties up in a twist, acrimony is sown, and one or another or both parties end up in a ‘he said/she said’ situation that gets downright ugly: there’s too much chance of one of the parties lying about the other, and no proof who is the injured party). Plus, I left the website un-updated for many, many moons.

And I am changing my handle. I am now the Krystalline Apostate, having broken free of my chrysalis, and I spread my dark leathern wings over the universe, cackling in inhuman glee…

Yeah, right.


When I first adopted the nickname, a great many people mistook my purpose, and my meaning. Most took it to be that I am reluctant to be an atheist, when in actuality I was reluctant to become an atheist. Also, the prefixes RANTING and RAVING were already taken, and besides, who’s got the energy to be pissed off all the time?

Unbeknownst to me, many people tended to abbreviate it to RA, which causes some confusion in atheistic blogging circles: is it the Raving or the Reluctant Atheist? Rest assured, I wasn’t trying to piggyback off of RA (or TRA, as some call him) – it was entirely coincidental.

So over the past few months, I’ve given this some thought. It’s not only because some theists have assumed that it means they have a chance to convince me otherwise, although that is a part of the equation. It’s not only due to the identity confusion – again, a part of the equation. It’s not because some consider me to be a ‘weak’ atheist (I assure you, I am indeed hardcore), again, a portion of the whole.

It’s time to step up a rung on the ladder. Time to move on, move up, a change of pace.

This time, however, I’m fully aware of the implications of my abbreviation KA. So you can call me RA, or you can call me KA, or you can call me Krystal, or Krystalline – hell, you can call me anything you like, I’ve probably been called worse in my day. I’ll still respond to Reluctant, as well.

Just be polite, is all I ask.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

DEATH, HERE IS THY STING! SIX-LEGGED ZOMBIES

For this Sunday sermon, let’s take a look at perhaps one of the bizarre and cruelest of natural phenomenon: the live meal.

I learned of this months ago, and it troubles me sorely. Why? Sure, they’re just bugs. Why then should I care?

Let’s shoot for the shock value here.


Posted by Picasa

“The emerald cockroach wasp (Ampulex compressa, also known as the jewel wasp) is a parasitoid wasp of the family Sphecidae. It is known for its reproductive behavior, which involves using a live cockroach - specifically a Periplaneta americana - as a host for its larva. A number of other venomous animals, which use live food for their larvae paralyze their prey. Unlike them, Ampulex compressa initially leaves the cockroach mobile, but modifies its behavior in a unique way.
As early as the 1940s it was published that wasps of this species sting a roach twice, which modifies the behavior of the prey. A recent study using radioactive labeling proved that the wasp stings precisely into specific ganglia. Ampulex compressa delivers an initial sting to a thoracic ganglion of a cockroach to mildly paralyze the front legs of the insect. This facilitates the second sting at a carefully chosen spot in the cockroach's head ganglia (brain), in the section that controls the escape reflex. This sting injects another type of venom into this section, and the cockroach will not try to escape.
The wasp, which is too small to carry the cockroach, then drives the victim to the wasp's den, by pulling one of the cockroach's antennae in a manner similar to a leash. Once they reach the den, the wasp lays an egg on the cockroach's abdomen and proceeds to fill in the den's entrance with pebbles, more to keep other predators out than to keep the cockroach in.
The cockroach, its escape reflex permanently disabled, will simply rest in the den as the wasp's egg hatches. A hatched larva chews its way into the abdomen of the cockroach and proceeds to live as an endoparasitoid. Over a period of eight days, the wasp larva consumes the cockroach's internal organs in an order which guarantees that the cockroach will stay alive, at least until the larva enters the pupal stage and forms a cocoon inside the cockroach's body. After about four weeks, the fully-grown wasp will emerge from the cockroach's body to begin its adult life.”

Let’s put aside for the nonce that we’re talking about cockroaches. Let’s instead, focus on the inherent ugliness of the act. Here we have one creature, that stings another one, not once but twice in two interlocked but specifically different methods. One to paralyze, another to submit. Then the prey is led to the den, implanted with eggs, and the wasp proceeds to shore up the opening to keep out other predators. Then the insect becomes living food for the larvae.
The part that troubles me? No, they’re just bugs. Anything that kills a roach is all right in my book. That’s why I don’t kill spiders, mosquito hawks, or dragonflies.

No, what bothers me is the intrinsic cruelty of the method. On such a miniature level.

If we were to hypothesize that there is indeed a creator, why would said creator go to such unusual lengths to create a predator with such predilections, this kind of diminutive danse macabre, ending in a zombie feast? Such attention to a negligible minute detail is…well, more than a little obsessive, and more than a little scary.

Not to mention that Lev. 11:20-3 says: “11:23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.”

So let’s review: we have a creator, who can’t even get the details of his own creation straight in his dictation, and yet can micro-manage just about everything else to the finite degree?
That deadbeat deity would’ve been better off separating our reproductive organs from our waste organs, than spending an inordinate time worrying about how some stupid wasp eats, and putting together some grotesque dining ritual for a bug.
Luckily, ain’t no such critter.

One more for the scoreboard that evolution did indeed form the world, as we know it.
That’s my nickel’s worth: save it for a rainy day.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Funniest movie clip ever

Every time I watch the Life of Brian, and I see this scene, I laugh so hard I cry:



It wasn't until many years later, that I realized the part where Brian's mom reveals that his biological father was a centurion ("Promised me the known world, he did!"), that I realized it resembled Celsus' claim that Jesus was the bastard son of one Pandira.

Anyone else ever notice this?

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PLUG AND PLAY: OF PETROLEUM, PANDERING, AND PURE PROPAGANDA


Yeah, I’m terribly pissed off again. I’d forgotten about this.

I recall reading an article about this subject, about 3-4 years ago, in a free weekly (S.F Weekly? The Guardian?). It was so long ago, chances are strong I won’t be able to find a reproduction online, so you’ll just have to take my word (and my increasingly spotty memory) on it.

There was a general assembly in Sacramento, of major car manufacturers, about the electric car. The general consensus among them, was that the electric car was
  1. Far too slow

  2. Too cumbersome to maintain,

  3. Ran out of oomph after X amount of miles
And more similar ‘facts’.

A woman (whose name escapes me for the nonce, sorry) had driven all the way from San Francisco to Sacramento, to defend the electric automobile.

The catch? You guessed it: she drove up there in an electric car.

And, if memory serves (and again paraphrasing here), she was flabbergasted at how much drivel these clowns were spouting. All of which was false.

And I can give you a couple of pointers, as to why we believe this horse manure.


The Simpsons: yep, I’m dinging one of my all time favorite shows here (what’s my motto? Oh yeah: NOBODY GETS A FREE PASS).

Electric Car: "Hello, I'm an electric car. I don't drive very fast or go very far. And if you drive me, people will think you're GAAAY."*** Gay Robots at Efcot Center: "One of US! One of US!"

(Author’s note: while this may have been a tongue-in-cheek shot, one needs but remember how rumors get started.)

Has anyone seen this episode of ‘Grounded for Life?’

‘The electric car that Eddie drives in "Pay You Back with Interest" is a CVI CommutaCar. The CommutaCar was the most successful electric car ever put in production.’

Brief synopsis here: Eddie (the irresponsible brother, who I usually found the most entertaining) buys an electric car. Much was made of this. A woman he hit on was immediately repulsed by his transport, and he would have to recharge using an extension cord (no, none too convenient, ey?).

I’m sure there are others, but these are the two that spring to mind immediately.

So why aren’t we seeing these bad boys on the street? Simple. The oil companies. Those magnates of mass production, who lie to us to keep their money in their pockets.

There may be something to the notion that there’d be a lot of auto mechanics and/or auto part stores that would be put out of business, but let’s stick to the big boys for now.

This would solve so many problems in this world. We could change our economy, reduce pollution, stop wrecking the environment, and we could leave those nutjobs in the Middle East to their own devices.

And, as a ‘pre-emptive strike’, to those who would argue the technology isn’t evolved enough:

Does anyone recall the first ‘portable’ computer? I had one. It was anything but portable, weighing somewhere in the vicinity of twenty pounds, and was a pain to lug about.

Now we have laptops, notebooks, and PDA’s. I trust the point is not lost here.

How about the first cordless telephone? It was big enough, and bulky enough, to crack walnuts or someone’s skull. Now? We have phones that fit in the palm of our hands (and getting smaller every day).

Please read the supplied link for some interesting facts.

Here’s the main problem: technology improves with use. Between this culture of instant gratification, and the inherent laziness that the collective herd practices, well, once the novely wears off, it either gets shelved (due to lack of foresight, and/or a compilation of media echo chambering), or someone picks up the ball and runs with it.

So it’s about time that we bid farewell to this insane, high-maintenance love affair with the combustion engine – no matter how attached you may be to it, it’s still just a machine, and y’all are just going to have to choose between today’s convenience and your grandchildren wearing Hazmat suits and/or packing their own oxygen as they go out to play.

And, as always – the rational should prevail. So by no means am I advocating to my readers that they should dump their current mode of transport in the lake, and rush right out to purchase an electric car – rather that you and I should take specific steps and put in place mechanisms that won’t wreak havoc on our environment – just ‘cause I’m a tree-hugger, doesn’t mean I have sap-for-brains.

How’s that old ditty go? Oh yeah – “My momma told me – ya gotta shop around!”

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I GOT YOUR RADICAL GAY AGENDA RIGHT HERE!

We constantly hear this nonsense: "It's all part of the Radical Gay Agenda!"
As my post implies, I'm grabbing a portion of my anatomy. You guess what it is.
It's old. It's tired. It smells of the same sort of Nazi propaganda of the late 30's, when they were fishing around for excuses for their agenda.
I think this explanation is just as likely as the 'Radical' one:



In short, discrimination is wrong, whether it's sexually-based, race-based, age-based, or creed-based.
Consenting adults, nobody gets hurt?
Mind your own damn business, then.

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STEPPING THROUGH THE GATES OF ATHEISM: MY PERSONAL JOURNEY PART THE DEUS – HOLDING AND PAINE.

I left off last week’s installment with having read Voltaire (whose works can be found here) – who questioned the validity of specific points of scripture, which I had heretoforward never wondered about. The exclusivity of the author of Matthew’s strange and singular pronouncement of saints arising on the day (morning or afternoon?) of Jesus’ crucifixion. Who questioned the ‘darkness that covered the land’. Who satirized Christianity, and smote it with a tongue of fire – "Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror." Who held that ‘I do not know why they call it common sense, as it is not so common.”

I began to cast my net across the Internet, seeking answers, seeking honesty, and seeking the Truth, no matter how inconvenient it may be.

How I came across Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason escapes me now, but I read it, and yes, I admit it freely, I loved it. Paine was a firebrand: an honest man: one who spoke his piece, and be damned to the consequences! Mind you, I agreed with perhaps eighty percent of it: I, for instance, disagree with Paine’s dictum of studying dead languages. He made some errors, true, but due to the circumstances (the first part was penned in a French prison, where he was under death sentence for objecting to the execution of the King during the infamous French Revolution, the second, when he was terribly ill), I was more than ready to forgive some of the mistakes made.

So I had a new hero.

To my horror, I stumbled across this ‘dissection’ of Paine. It had been originally titled: “Paine: an inept picking his nose.”


I read this horrible treatise, wherein the author of this tripe took huge liberties of attacking Paine’s character, calling him all sorts of names, from ‘bigot’ to ‘anti-semite’ to…well, it was so wrong on so many levels, it beggars the imagination. I embarked on a vigorous cross sectioning of fisking said document (which I’ve never finished, or published), showing the ridiculousness of the criticisms.

Then Holding put forth on the concept of agape (just a snippet here: read it for yourself) –

“In such a scenario, not only is it right and proper, for the sake of agape, to confront and confront boldly; it may be the only responsible thing to do to keep the "disease" or error from spreading and afflicting more souls! (In the ancient world, and even today, insults and polemics were a way to shame and discredit an opponent; see here.)
So agape does include verbally attacking and discrediting one's opponents, or confronting other believers, when they are in the wrong. Jesus speaks to these men not as his enemies, but as enemies of the truth. There is no indication that he speaks to them as personal enemies, for all of his comments reflect their deception of others; the personal relationship between the parties does not even come into the picture. They were enemies for the sake of the Kingdom of God.”

And pardon me for taking this out of context (if indeed I am), but I read this, as giving Christians a free pass to ridicule, denounce, and otherwise slander at will, anyone who disagrees with them. These people aren’t Jesus – they’re representatives, and poor ones at that. It fairly turned my stomach, it did: it reeked of hypocrisy. The reader is invited to look up the definition of agape – I see nothing indicative of what Holding says, save that this is cherry-picking at its worst. And to this day, this ugly meme raises its lopsided head and spews venom.

And I, trying to be fair, looked elsewhere. And all I saw was: dishonesty, slander, and pathetic excuses. I mean, everywhere. I was trying my utmost to keep an open mind, but I can’t abide dishonesty, in myself as well as others. Seeking some sort of symmetry, I started researching the history of Christianity, with this romantic ideal that I’d held in my mind for so long, that somehow Christians (or any religious folks) were the standard bearers of a higher ideal.

Pallbearers would be a better word. I’d already known of the Inquisition (from having read the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, which is actually a compendium of the Inquisition’s history and the torture of ‘witches’): but I was aghast when I realized that indeed, Christianity was in many cases, the sole provocateur in so many scenarios, that it had cost so many lives, that so much bloodshed bathed the feet of this metaphorical monolith, that it was by no means the group of people I wanted to be associated with.

I recall reading (this actually belongs in installment one: sorry) McDowell’s justification for the genocide of the Canaanites – they were very amorous, they had sex with anyone they encountered. At first, I shrugged: then I realized – that’s a lousy excuse for wholesale slaughter.

In the meantime, my born-again buddy and I started getting into it – I told him bluntly, “You’ve joined up with the wrong crowd.” Our phone conversations trailed off…when I was on the verge of conversion, he called twice a week: now? I hear from him once a month, maybe longer. One of the last conversations we had, I brought up the fact there was no evidence that the Exodus had occurred: he was fairly shocked that I would even say such a thing, and there was much semantic shuffling so as not to hear what I could offer to support my position. (Note: this could be that he’s a lot busier these days – not just the atheism.)

And, hey, he is a good Christian. He’s a kind, loving person. I’ve never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He’s good-natured; we talk about the show the Family Guy (one of his favorites, despite the blasphemy), or the Simpsons. He’s very humble: he actually walks the talk – and I can say this with candor. Sure, he’s a Rapture believer (we haven’t quite gone over that one yet), a historicist (all loose ends will be tied up in the end), and an inerrantist, but he by no means tries to force his belief on me. We’re still friends – and he has an old friend, a lady, who’s a puppeteer and a New Age psychic type. The three of us get together – we have a great time. Why? Mutual respect.

Back on topic: sorry.
So, like any critically thinking adult, I began to measure the arguments for as opposed to the arguments against. I started reading critical commentaries of prominent critics on both sides of the fence.

And, I’m sorry, but the pro-religion advocates, well, to put it succinctly: they sucked. They would take the slightest clue towards slander: they would skirt the fringe of being sued: character attacks seemed to be the main thrust of their apologia. And the logic? It was just plain awful.

You see, I’d chosen the wrong method for conversion: instead of believing first, I decided to do research. The research part is supposed to come afterwards.

This concludes part two. Next week’s third and final installment: STEPPING THROUGH THE GATES OF ATHEISM: MY PERSONAL JOURNEY PART THE TRES – INGERSOLL AND BARTON.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

CRY RACIST!

This particular maimed meme is being trotted out lately, and to be blunt, not only is it stupid, it’s infuriating.

Courtesy of God4suckers.net via Pharyngula, from the Raw Story:”New Christian broadcasting TV special featuring Ann Coulter blames Darwin for Hitler”
(SNIP)"Author and Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy connects the dots between Charles Darwin and Adolf Hitler in Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, a groundbreaking inquiry into Darwin’s chilling social impact," announces a press release issued by Florida's Coral Ridge Ministries. "The new television documentary airs nationwide on August 26 and 27 on The Coral Ridge Hour."(SNIP END)

Now both these worthies have covered this, but prior to this, I got into it with a bozo at the NGB, here prior to reading these posts (the clown was posing by the monicker of ‘question’: talk about hubris! People posturing as a philosophical concept? Puh-LEASE!), and truth be told, I laid into him pretty hard. He brought up the Scopes trial (GROAN – not that old chestnut!), claiming several experts had been called to the stand (I buggered him on that one). I also pulled a reversal on him with this – of course, being a theist, he was NEVER wrong.

But it prompted me to pick up a copy of the ‘atheist bible’ (that’s actually what this idiot called it). A very old, second-hand copy of DARWIN SELECTED AND EDITED by NORTON CRITICAL EDITIONS (circa 1970).
Honestly, it’s a hard read: there are a few humorous commentaries on drunken monkeys in the Descent of Man. I scanned the index: a few references to Negroes (four in all), a lot of supplementary commentary surrounding the main works. I haven’t quite finished it.

Not content with my lot (am I ever?), I started googling around. Came across this:


“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

Note the emphais: apparently this John West only reads selectively. First off, everything I’ve read to date from the two theses gives me the distinct impression that these are observations only. Second off, the sharp-eyed reader may note the passage at the end, where it is qualified as ‘excepting in the case of man himself’.
Third off, from the article:” [See Darwin, Descent (1871), vol. I, pp.109-110, 160, 201, 216.] In the same book, Darwin disparaged blacks and observed that the break in evolutionary history between apes and humans fell "between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla," indicating that he considered blacks the humans that were the most ape-like.”

Here is the passage in its entirety:
“The great break in the organic chain between man and his nearest allies, which cannot be bridged over by any extinct or living species, has often been advanced as a grave objection to the belief that man is descended from some lower form; but this objection will not appear of much weight to those who, from general reasons, believe in the general principle of evolution. Breaks often occur in all parts of the series, some being wide, sharp and defined, others less so in various degrees; as between the orang and its nearest allies- between the Tarsius and the other Lemuridae- between the elephant, and in a more striking manner between the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna, and all other mammals. But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

So as you can see, Darwin was in no way equivocating black people with apes. True, he was a 19th CE Englishman, and he did indeed have a Eurocentric viewpoint, but past that, he hardly qualified for membership in the KKK. He wrote quite eloquently upon the mistreatment of slaves: he was against slavery: and was an abolitionist. Would he have married a woman of another color? Chances are pretty strong he wouldn’t have. Hardly pegs the man as a white-hood wearing white trash wackinoid riding on the hood of a car in Memphis. He was nowhere near being as enlightened as we are in this modern age in regards to race. I might turn the creationists’ view to this little footnote:
“Some men of that time (such as Louis Agassiz, a staunch creationist) went so far as to say they were a different species.”

And this website, that touts itself as ‘Evolution News’ is sponsored by…three guesses. Yep, got it in one: the Discovery Institute! (Note: you have to poke around to discover this).

So, in a nutshell:Was Darwin a racist? Most probably. Was he a White Power Supremacist? Obviously not. He was a product of his time and age: were you or I raised in the 19th CE, we’d probably have the same backward idiosyncrasies. Am I an apologist for this? No. I am pointing out the facts of the matter. Was he correct in this? NO. Did Hitler ever mention Darwin’s alleged ‘influence’ on him? NEVER. Does this impact the multiple fields that have evolutionary at their core?

Don’t make me laugh.

This is one (of many) problems I have with creationism. Never mind they’ve contributed absolutely nothing to the scientific community. Never mind that if you were to strip these folks of the evolutionary theory attack, they’d topple over at the first light breeze. Let’s skip the fact that they use sophistry and semantic gymnastics to cobble together a vicious meme:

They’re dishonest.

And I can’t stand liars. “Half a truth mixed with half a lie is oftentimes the blackest lie of all.”

/Autorant off

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THE OTHER RELUCTANT ATHEIST

Yes, there’s another one. No, it’s not me, nor is it my evil twin. (The sighs of relief are audible, even from here).

There’s this Catholic lady named Jen, at http://et-tu.blogspot.com/, who apparently has the same monicker. We’re both white people: that’s about where the similarity ends. She claims she’s been an atheist, until recently (approximately the same month I started my website, wouldn’t ya know?), where she had an epiphany while at the doctor’s. She started at the http://thereluctantatheist.blogspot.com, but has moved to the former link.

Nice enough, but mostly, the blogs aren’t much more than mutual admiration meeting places; they do a vanilla bit of criticizing atheists, no real hot topics. Kinda ho-hum, no spirited discussions.

I dropped in, said a hello of sorts, shot off my mouth a bit, and was studiously ignored. Man, am I heart-broken! Hehehehe. I played the troll, I suppose, but I think I was polite.

For my regular readers, a monicker change is in the offing: I will announce it in a post, and list my rationale for doing so.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

MEMES CAN ONLY BE DILUTED, NOT PURGED

“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.” - V is for Vendetta.

I have given this some serious thought: can we simply expunge this virulent meme, a wart on Humanity’s face?

Obviously not. The moral ramifications of doing so should be readily apparent, even to the most militant atheist. We cannot change the human heart at gunpoint. We cannot force obeisance from the foolhardy, nor can they force it from us. Centuries of tradition and humanity’s inherent dislike of change (that paradox that has haunted us from the time when Man first formed identity to this day) makes for a Sisyphean task.

While I agree in principle with the lyrics from Lennon’s Imagine:

”Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... “

I believe that this utopia is still resting far out of our reach.

I will illustrate my point, with three examples, two from the real world, one from the blogosphere.

From here:
[Recently, in central Burma, riots broke out between Muslims and Buddhists because of the rumours that a group of Muslim men raped a Buddhist woman. The military junta deliberately allowed the riots to blow out of control - their aim is to divert people’s attention from the economic problems and worsening conditions of health care and education.

And here:
“The religious passion and political potential of Iraq's long- suppressed Shiite majority erupted Tuesday as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims chanted, prayed, whipped their backs and even drew their own blood in an ancient ritual that held profound implications for modern-day Iraq.”

I will not link to the third – mostly because
  1. This is analogy only, not a criticism, and

  2. The fellow in question is someone I do NOT wish to have visiting.

“In 11th grade I "progressed." That was the year I was kicked of the football team for calling some kids "niggers." I had been introduced to "white pride" and loved the power. No one could tell me what to do. The Mexican and black kids wore Malcolm X shirts and brown pride shirts, so I made a shirt that read: "white pride." The school officials couldn't make me take it off since I said I would sue and make the other kids take theirs off. The officials couldn't really do anything. I hated people of color. I remember once, during Desert Storm, that I put an exacto knife blade to an Iraqi girl at our school. She told her mom and the state department came to talk to me. They tried to scare me. But when I had emerged from the office, unpunished, I had gained even more respect from the students. I loved to hate.I can remember making fun of the kids in special Ed. Oh; I would get a laugh from all the popular kids. They thought I was so cool and funny! I would make one autistic kid so mad that he would scream and hit himself in the middle of the halls. He wanted to be liked so I would use him. I would act nice and tell him to ask our P.E. coach what a sphincter was. All of us would laugh when we would hide and listen to him ask Coach C. "what's a sphincter?" Then we would bust a gut when Coach rolled his eyes and said in his gruff voice, "It's a muscle, Chris." But I didn't only pick on the special Ed kids. I would punch anyone for a buck. My friends knew it and so if they didn't like someone they would give me a dollar and I'd just walk up and hit them. There was another girl, who was very awkward. A friend and I would follow her down the halls, pointing our fingers at her, and scream at her like in the movie "The Invasion of The Body Snatchers." Wasn't I cool?”

The first two examples make me wonder: where would these people be, if they had no higher power to answer to? More often than not (myself included), most atheists tend to have this unrealistic utopian POV, where once everyone is released from the constraints of an invisible sky jockey, they’ll simply figure out that the shackles of fear, the manacles of monolithic authority, were all illusion, and simply settle down. Alas, I fear not. Bear with me, gentle reader, and let me explain:

For the most part, the majority (as I see it) are just regular folks. Most people are basically good. But due to our innate ferity, we are all vulnerable to moments of ferocity that shake us, and those around us, to the core. For instance, in the second example – we see hundreds of thousands flagellating themselves and striking their heads with daggers, in an orgy of religious fervor – can you or I imagine what these people would be doing if they weren’t religious? If they slipped the shackles of authority, imaginary or otherwise?

For the third example – those of you who are active in the blogosphere, you perhaps recognize the snippet provided. For those of you who don’t – here is an individual who by his own account was a violent, unrestrained individual. Who would, for the slight beep of a horn, jump out of his car and thrash the honker. Who started street fights in Tijuana just for the fun of it, brutalized other people in what can only be categorized as sociopathic glee, who by anyone’s yardstick, was so disconnected from his fellow human beings, that by all rights he should be on an episode of Cops, or perhaps waiting on Death Row.

He is the sort of person that makes me glad he found religion. Otherwise, he’d still be reaching out to share his pain with the rest of us. Instead, he found a shift in focus, a more constructive channel for his energies.

Mind you, his debate style is a kata of cognitive dissonance to make the eyes blink and the knees wobbly (when I peruse his blog, I oscillate between hilarity and headache), which makes his conversion narrative all the more believable. But I’m perversely glad that he’s not out wrecking other people.

But I digress. Take this fellow, or even example number two: multiply him in accordance with the latest prison stats, or the unsolved brutalities of the world, or a combination of both, and you have a virtual tidal wave of feral ferocity that, without religion, would sweep unchecked across our literal landscape, a subtraction of empathy and a multiplication of madness that would, as the Bard worded it, ‘blow the horrid deed in every eye, that tears might drown the wind.’
So there you have it: religion is still a necessity, in our world, until every man, woman and child can estabish that connectivity we call empathy with one another, these chains will persist until our collective consciousness evolves past this primitive immature need of invisible, unprovable authority.

It is well said, that “Neurotics build castles in the sky: psychotics go live in them.”

And we are all lunatics, to the core of us: but some of us are gentle, yet others gripped by fierce berserkgang.

I leave you with this salient song:

”The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic is in the hall
the lunatics are in the hall

the paper holds their folded faces to the floor
and every day the paper boy brings more
And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
and if there is no room upon the hill
and if your head explodes with dark forebodings too I
'll see you on the dark side of the moon

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head

you raise the blade, you make the change
you rearrange me ' till I'm sane
you lock the door and throw away the key
there's someone in my head but it's not me
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
you shout and no one seems to hear
and if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon”
– Pink Floyd, Brain Damage

Till the next post, then.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

STEPPING THROUGH THE GATES OF ATHEISM: MY PERSONAL JOURNEY PART THE ONE- MCDOWELL

More often than not, I am riddled with queries about how I ‘became’ an atheist. As it is a long, involved tale, I am going to break it down into installments, for those of you interested.

Many years prior to my change-of-heart, I was a possessor of a baroque meritocracy, having dabbled in Wicca, the occult, and Kaballah (upon which I will expound later). Fact is, my mind was so open, I may very well have slipped on metaphorical gray matter and landed on my ass in a field of similes on more than one occasion. Short version: I believed just about everything I ever read. And I read a lot.

So approximately 2-5 years prior to my acceptance of the limited label of atheist, I distinctly recall saying: “Of course, the US is a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles.” A week (or a month?) later, it occurred to me that I should perhaps check that factoid, that maybe I was blowing smoke out of my ass.

Sure enough, after reading the three pivotal documents, I discovered that indeed, I was actually blowing smoke rings. Hey, I wasn’t married to the idea, I shrugged, went on with my life.


Fast forward in time: I had lost my girlfriend to a Christian cult (her ex-hubbie suicided, she went rushing back to them, despite their horrendous treatment of her during the divorce, another story), and my boss, a devout Christian who I trusted implicitly revealed to me that he’d been covertly plotting to get rid of me, fired me from my job of four years.

(At this point, I can hear the theists cry “Ah-HA! See! I knew you suffered at the hands of ‘false xtians’!” El toro poopoo: onwards).

So here I was: jobless, a six-year relationship gone down the tubes.

My close friend, who’d been born again, and I, began to have long, involved theological discussions via the phone. I was casting about, looking for some sort of anchor in my life, a beam of hope, some driftwood to cling to in the ocean of the world. I’d already had a pretty strong foundation in re: the bible. (Hell, at one point in my life many years prior I’d actually invited some Jehovah’s Witnesses in for a chat, and completely blew them away with my working knowledge of it. So much so, they never came back.) I even had some long discussions with him about the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, and he answered the questions so well, I stopped referring to it to this day (albeit, now I have a different slant on the whole thing).

I was all set. Praying, researching, I was prepared to give myself up.

The fateful moment occurred thusly: he offered to send me a bible (I asked for the KJV, because I love the language in it: yeah, I know, it’s not a great translation). He also offered to throw in a book, which he told me: “You’ll love this book. Since you’re so analytical, and like to dissect things, this one’s going to be a favorite.” (That’s not verbatim – a paraphrase).

This, then, was the pivotal work: McDowell’s ETDAV. When it arrived, I read it. Twice, in fact.

There were so many problems with it, most of which I couldn’t put my finger on. JM came out swinging on alternate POV’s, for one. He called Voltaire ‘an infidel’. The sections on Zen Buddhism (zeroing in not on the philosophy, which I was well-versed in, but Suzuki’s work), post-modernism, existentialism in short, JM bad-mouthed so many other world-views, I was sort of flabbergasted. I’d never even heard the term ad hominem, or petitio principii (I learned the latter from JM).

I began seeing the innate problems with the logic JM used. Even without having a degree, or any sort of educational background, I could tell there were holes in the logic. Big gaping ones. Having programmed computers over the last decade or so, I had some background in Boolean logic, so that helped tremendously.

My buddy, a Christian still, to this day regrets having sent that book. Had he but sent the KJV, you and I wouldn’t be having this natter.

So I began to do research. I looked at both sides of the coin. I began familiarizing myself with what I term the ‘Baskin-Robbins’ 1001 flavors of this club that I fancied joining.

And I started really reading Voltaire. My favorite Frenchman. That suave master of satire, whose pen and tongue even royalty feared. Short version: what a hoot!

That’s part the one. Next week’s installment: STEPPING THROUGH THE GATES OF ATHEISM: MY PERSONAL JOURNEY PART THE DEUS – HOLDING AND PAINE.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

“I’M A LITTLE TEAPOT, SHORT AND STOUT…”

Thanks to Mark for emailing me this link.

Sometimes, in the frantic debate between theist and atheist, we forget who shoulders the burden of proof.

Or, to paraphrase John Donne: “Ask not for whom the burden of proof tolls: it tolls for thee.”

This of course is in reference to Russell’s Teapot:

Russell's teapot was an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell, to refute the idea that the onus lies somehow upon the sceptic to disprove the unfalsifiable claims of religion. In an article entitled Is There a God?, commissioned (but never published) by Illustrated magazine in 1952, Russell said the following:
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time. “

So always, always remember, boys and girls: no proof? No can do. Presuppositionalism is always a rhetorical trap.

Now, how many lumps do you take in your tea? One, or two?

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Monday, August 14, 2006

JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM!

A friend turned me on to this video recently.

Sadly, for an episode titled the ‘Naked Truth’ it contained so many errors, I couldn’t finish it.

A perfect example of how NOT to debunk xtianity.

It begins with the usual: how religion has proven itself to be violent and savage, even up to the present climes. No argument. It spends a small amount of time pointing out how we use the pyramid, the cornerstone of said pyramid being the top, Yesu Christo claiming himself the ‘cornerstone’ of the faith, etc. However, upon looking up the word ‘cornerstone’, answers.com gives us this: “Ceremonial building block, dated or otherwise inscribed, usually placed in an outer wall of a building to commemorate its dedication. Often the stone is hollowed out to contain newspapers, photographs, or other documents reflecting current customs, with a view to their historical use when the building is remodeled or demolished. Originally placed at a corner, the stone may today be placed elsewhere on the facade.” Hmmm…said video claimed the cornerstone was the apex of the pyramid. Incorrect.



Then the video gives a very poor translation of the word ‘Dalai Lama’, claiming of all things, that Lama is some sort of transposition of the word ‘sheep’, when nothing could be farther from the truth. (Confusing a Lhama with a sheep, when it is in fact a closer cousin of the camel, shows a complete lack of biological acumen).
“Dalai" means "ocean" in Mongolian, and "Lama" (bla ma) is the Tibetan equivalent of the Sanskrit word "guru", and so may mean "teacher" or "monk." Incorrect again.

It also claims that the ‘waters of chaos’ constitutes the ‘Argha-noa’, thereby providing the ‘ark of Noah’ with some historical background. Alas, this is incorrect as well: my google search only came up with ten (or so) hits, all of these in direct relation to this film. Again, no citations.

It then shifts focus to a now-debunked book (which it doesn’t cite, but which I recognized the content of), one The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors, of which the Wiki entry states:” The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors, or Christianity Before Christ was an 1875 book written by 19th century lecturer and sceptic Kersey Graves. It alleges that Jesus was a mythical figure, largely based on earlier tales of saviours who had been crucified.
Much of the mythology in the book contradicts established facts about various mythologies mentioned, and several of the beliefs alleged to coincide with Christianity post-date Christianity's advent.
It has been noted that Graves derived "many of the most important facts collated in this work" from the comprehensive 1833 work, the Anacalypsis, by Sir Godfrey Higgins.”

Now, while I’m a big proponent of the parallelization of Eastern mythologies and texts with the Judeo-xtian literature, I’m also a big fan of research, facts, and the truth, naked or clothed. There’s no doubt in my mind that the ancient Israelites did indeed do copious borrowing from surrounding cultures, but by no means does that give us artistic license to go about cobbling up pet theories based on the slimmest of clues. For instance: my longtime research into Buddhism has never revealed the ‘story’ of him being born of a virgin, any more than my reading of the Bhagavad-gita has led to the discovery of Krishna being born of one, either.

(Here’s an item that bears mentioning: I recall coming across this statement some years ago, which I found interesting, in the Upanishads – Man does not live by breath alone, but by him in whom is the power of breath.” – Written some centuries precedent to the alleged ‘blessed event’.)

While there is no doubt in my mind, that the concept of the Immaculate Deception was borrowed from Hellenistic traditions, the ancient Hebrews used their own inhibitions to give it a unique spin.

It was, however, the change of focus from the community to the individual (Hellenistic) that gave rise to the ‘personalized’ Messiah as opposed to the communal one. Ergo, some convenient retrofitting had to be done, and quickly too. But that subject is outside the scope of this analysis.

Facts, people, facts! Let’s not give the theists more ammo than they already have.

Or, as Friday on Dragnet used to say: “Just the facts, ma’am.”

That’s my nickel’s worth, anyways.

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MORE FANATICS WITH GOVERNMENTAL TIES


“Creatures of the candle on a night-light-ride.
Dipping and weaving --- flutter through the golden needle's eye in our haystack madness.
Butterfly-stroking on a Spring-tide high.
Life's too long (as the Lemming said) as the candle burned and the Moths were wed.
And we'll all burn together as the wick grows higher --- before the candle's dead.
The leaded window opened to move the dancing candle flame.
And the first moths of summer suicidal came”
-Moths, Jethro Tull


More depressing news: these wack-a-doofs are getting heard:
Posted August 8, 2006 -



“Over the past months, the White House has convened a series of off-the-record meetings about its policies in the Middle East with leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a newly formed political organization that tells its members that supporting Israel's expansionist policies is "a biblical imperative." CUFI's Washington lobbyist, David Brog, told me that during the meetings, CUFI representatives pressed White House officials to adopt a more confrontational posture toward Iran, refuse aid to the Palestinians and give Israel a free hand as it ramped up its military conflict with Hezbollah.
The White House instructed Brog not to reveal the names of officials he met with, Brog said.
CUFI's advice to the Bush Administration reflects the Armageddon-based foreign-policy views of its founder, John Hagee. Hagee is a fire-and-brimstone preacher from San Antonio who commands the nearly 18,000-member Cornerstone Church and hosts a major TV ministry where he explains to millions of viewers how the end times will unfold. He is also the author of numerous bestselling pulp-prophecy books, like his recent Jerusalem Countdown, in which he cites various unnamed Israeli intelligence sources to claim that Iran is producing nuclear "suitcase bombs." The only way to defeat the Iranian evildoers, he says, is a full-scale military assault.”

More info on Brog’s puppet master:

“Dr. Hagee is the author of 10 major books published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. BEGINNING OF THE END was a run-away best-seller on the New York Times Best Seller List, and the #1 book in America in 1996 in the CBA non-fiction division. DAY OF DECEPTION was also on the New York Times Best Seller List. FINAL DAWN OVER JERUSALEM, released in February 1998 was listed as the #1 book on the Best Seller List. Other books include: HIS GLORY REVEALED; FROM DANIEL TO DOOMSDAY; GOD'S TWO-MINUTE WARNING; followed by the release of his major prophetic book entitled THE REVELATION OF TRUTH. Then, in March of 2001, BATTLE FOR JERUSALEM was released and an updated version entitled, ATTACK ON AMERICA, which examined several reasons for the 9/11 terrorist attack was released in the fall of 2001. Dr. Hagee’s first fictional novel DEVIL’S ISLAND was released in September 2001, with his second in the series AVENGER OF BLOOD released the following fall. In 2004 the LIFE PLAN STUDY BIBLE, with Dr. Hagee as the General Editor was released with a follow-on daily Devotional entitle Life Lessons to Live By in the summer of 2005.”

As if it’s not bad enough we have these wild men pronouncing the End of Days (which our very own third president, Thomas Jefferson, who said of Revelation: “It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it [the Apocalypse], and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.” -Thomas Jefferson, letter to General Alexander Smyth, Jan. 17, 1825), but that they have an inside track on our government is cause for terror.

For folks who claim that their ‘kingdom is not of this earth’, they sure have their fingers in the pie, don’t they?

What do their Beatitudes say? Oh, yeah:

5Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
They apparently cherry-pick their political agendas from that book of fables – they are not beholden to their own words: rather than await the prophesies, they instead seek to escalate the timeline, and my own humble opinion, is that somewhere, in the deepest recesses of that which passes for their collective/respective brains, they fear the prophesies will not come true – the fact is that none of the hallucinations of those that went before ever bore the slightest resemblance to reality, nor were they fulfilled in any way shape or form – and so thus, they must mold reality in their own askew world-view, retrofit the political landscape in a shape most pleasing to their cognitive dissonance.

I would respect these people if they held to their own ideals: put aside convenience for principle: allowed events to play themselves out, rather than become the potter for political clay: in short, if they played by their own damn rules rather than enforce them on others (free will, alas, only applies to choosing between up and down, and naught else).

Rather, with blood on their hands, they rely on some poorly compiled anecdotal unhistorical trash, written by nationalistic Iron Age savages, based on some feral mythology that would strip civilization to the bone, and ram the savage ideology down our throats.

And all for naught: all for nothing. The universe cares not that we exist. There is no figure that stands ‘tween us and the void – no celestial father who gazes down with love upon us. The sun’s fiery eye is simply the light of a star. The cosmos bears not our imprint: we cast no shadows outwards.

We are all dust – shall we hasten our plunge to become such? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust: I will be that soon enough. Less reason, then, for this moth to dive into the flame.

Till the next post, then.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

ALLEGORIES GONE WILD: THE DEVIL WEARS VEDAS

“I put a spell on you
'Cause you're mine”
- (1949) Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Slotkin

“I'm all out of hope
One more bad dream could bring a fall
When I'm far from home
Don't call me on the phone
To tell me you're alone
It's easy to deceive
It's easy to tease
But hard to get release
- Billy Idol, Eyes Without A Face
I came across this site a few years back, in the days of my baroque meritocracies (which reminds me: I will have to lay a few metaphorical wreaths at the symbolic grave sometime soon), and at the time was struck by the novelty of it.

So for today’s Sunday sermon, let’s take a whack at this wackadoolery, shall we?


The title of this web page announces in big, bold letters: Jesus = Lucifer = THE Devil.

And the byline says, “That the Christian bible is the composition of Lucifer, the fallen rebel archangel and devil supreme, is scientifically proved in these volumes.”

Pretty wild assertion, whether you’re an atheist or a theist, ain’t it?

A perceptional canvas at once enormous and unique for its envelopment of time in all fullness and for its sweep of the East and West and of rest of mankind has been starkly unfolded by those concepts and findings. From that vantage point, it is indeed possible, almost automatic with the aid of impeccable logic, to externalise and integrate experience in its totality and comprehend the whole of existence, in all of its range and depth, in a totally integrative and indissolubly wholesome manner.”

Well, first off, you need to prove the existence of either gawd or the devil. This is just presuppositionalism otherwise. Second, as I see it, there’s really no ‘impeccable logic’ inherent in religion at all. Third, ‘externalise and integrate experience in its totality’ sounds like data overload to make the head explode.

Let’s take a gander, shall we?

The Ancient Mother – I
The Key to the bible
The christian bible, according to authors Leo Panakal and Vinodh Kumar, is nothing less than a malignant fraud that went undetected for two thousand years.”

Can’t dispute that.

The bible comprises the self-expression of Lucifer, the fallen rebel archangel and devil supreme, who affects himself in it as the christian god, a conscious parody of Easwara of the Sanskrit scriptures.”

Easwara? Who? ” Easwara has yet another name: Yogasikha. The sky is His blue form. The directions (Dik) are His garment. Hence He is known as Digambara. He is also known as Panchaanana - the Five-headed One. The five are: Earth, water, fire and aakaasa (space). His five heads represent the five basic elements (panchabhuthas). Siva is also described as Bhuthanaatha - the Lord of all created beings. Bhutha refers to creation. Easwara is the Lord of every creature in the universe. Hence, the entire cosmos is reflected as an image in the Lord. Siva is known as Subhankara- the one who is ever good (Subham).”

Hmmm…

By analytically assessing the actual worth of the bible book, the authors free mankind from the fetters of guilt, or sin, instituted by christianity.”

Hey, gee, thanks guys! Luckily, I’m already free.

From the autonomic thrust of his very entity as undifferentiated rebel against the reality of his gravitational fall from goodness, Lucifer is compulsively bound to reality, and hence bound also to delineate himself - rebelliously, unabashedly, totally, uniquely, and once and for all - in terms of a non-dual rebellion against goodness. A book recording that kind of delineation will, by its very nature, singularly carry the self-expression of his TOTAL beinghood as rebel against goodness, THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE BEING THE SOLE, EXHAUSTIVE, FULL, CONCRETE EXEMPLIFICATION OF THAT EXERCISE.”

I think the Fixx said it best:
”Do what you say,
Say what you mean,
Because one thing leads to a-nuh-uh-other.”
There’s more, of course:
Chapter – II
Systems and Positions
The fundamental christian constituent being posited as rebellion, it presupposes the prior existence of a reality against which it is so constituted, since rebellion cannot come to be in absence of such a reality. Comprehensively, the entire christian position is based upon, and structured from, ban on knowledge under phobia of racial extinction, and a redeemer from the consequences of violation of the ban. Since our postulate should hold under all conditions, including the above posited basic constituent, it would be necessary and sufficient to prove the rebellion internally as a cyclical rebellion that envelops even the self-vindicative basic constituent. That christianity is such a rebellion is proved from the original rebellion against the ban on knowledge from its being specified as "knowledge of good and bad" - exudative of the foundational notion of original sin - which is itself reduced by its certified commentators back to the original rebellion against knowledge as such.
Lucifer has generated the different versions and spread out the capsuled variants that conceal, and/or rebelliously envelop, the identity in such design, the design itself being mandatorily dictated by the conscious id of his personality as cyclical rebel, that independently none of them, barring one lone exception, (See Knox bible, p.3) would yield data sufficient by itself to finally wrap up the exposition of the luciferian identity, whereas all of them together (and put together positvely by man) reveals the same in a conclusive manner that not only individually explains logically, interrelatedly and wholesomely, all the various links present but also binds them all together with a single thread, which is nothing but the same identity.”

So did you get all that? Yeah, it’s a tough read, all righty. So the way I figure this, it’s a vast, interwoven tapestry of multiple layers, entirely constructed to bring humanity into the pit (choose the allegorical abysm of your preference).

Chapter – III
Phenomenon of Man & The Brick in the wall

The word good is only derived from the Sanskrit root "gadh." This would demonstrate, once again, that the concept of goodness originates and subsists independently of the bible book and christianity.

Oh, so the actual original language of Man is Sanskrit. Phew, what a relief! Waitaminnit – doesn’t everyone claim their language came first?
Good is actually - [Middle English, from Old English gōd.]. I’m fairly sure that Sanskrit didn’t have that big an impact on Ye Olde Angles.

Further, the charts drawn in the bible book of the original condition prior to the "original sin" are an orchestration of this reality. The account issues all the same from the original sin of the subterranean narrator himself and a preponderant drive to collocate it to man by infusing an imaginary guilt into his consciousness through Cain - which is simultaneously turned into sin by mutual genetic inversion in other versions of the same text of Cain's words purportedly spoken to Lucifer. (See Knox bible). As to the professions of the christian original condition, they are contradicted by acknowledgement of the existence and activity of the serpent in that very condition and the admission at the end of the whole book that the same serpent had been right there all the way from the "primal age."(See Knox bible, p.274).

Oh, goody, talking snakes again.

("Spirit" is defined as "an often malevolent being that is bodiless but can become visible." - Merriam Webster. The three attributes are accurately discerned in the being that got itself invited at noontime to Abraham's dwelling, there to malevolently effectuate fornication of his aged wife with suggestions that contrive to summon up her memories. The being is designated at one moment as "they," in plural ["They asked, Where is thy wife Sara?" (sic) - genesis 18:9, Knox bible]; in the next moment, the same apparently distinct beings objectify as "he," in the singular ["I will come back said he who was speaking to him" - ibid., 18:10], demonstrating it bodiless in both instances. The other symptom, of his visiblity, is attested by the narrative, where it says that Abraham "looked up and saw three men standing near him," ibid., 18:2; the same spectacle is elsewhere further represented as "a vision of the lord.")

So wait – we’re skipping from Cain to Abraham? Anyways, -YAWN-.

Chapter – IV
The Substratum
Again the substratum exposes the true nature of the "mystical body" as a composite of pseudo-God and pseudo-Man. Jesus is neither Man nor God. Man is the "one who reflects," and God is the "perfection of goodness." But jesus, as revealed by the biblical substratum of his real identity, is a malevolent spirit possessing a motivation to usurp the realm of reason and of truth, and hence of salvation.
The whole endeavor of christianity as indubitably announced by its champion is the "overturning" of reasoning directed toward the correct identification of its source-being as Lucifer. Taking his cue from the latter, Paul accurately articulates the received word in postmariological time. Boldly now he narrows it down to reasoning per se. Boldly again but meticulously he announces that "we are overturning reasonings."
Since reasoning is the line that demarcates man from animal, christianity is seen to be a system for degeneration of man through retroversion of this demarcation.

Biblical substratum? In the words of Desi Arnaz reading Jabberwocky: “Who talks like this?”

Chapter V
Origination of Evil and Doom of Sin
The words are uttered by, and occur solely and exclusively in, the consciousness of jehovah. And therefore, there has not been at all any origin nor movement of sin heretofore in any consciousness other than this one.
The alleged disobedience charged by Paul will not make any kind of sin since the primary condition of disobedience, expressed refusal to obey, is not satisfied, pre-cast as Adam is in a muted role as of then in Lucifer's consciousness. As for the aspect of disobedience, viz.,neglect, the charge is disproved under "discovery," the same protagonist having withheld by malidentification the pertinent data of the existence of the serpent.
The genes of murder, war-making, adultery and theft are all genes latterly interpolated into consciousness and then deliberately brought within the sphere of the attributed acts of man described in the book - attributed to man by rebellious commandments proffered after the event, turning the human psyche in the process into a battlefield between the genes thus implanted therein with all their automotive drives and the commandments subsequently planted against the selfsame genes, both being done by the same being, viz., jehovah, alias jesus, whom Moses in his goodness, as man takes to be "God," the perfection of goodness, as continuedly professed by that being in execution of his rebellion.

Notice how they capitalize Adam, Moses and God, but leave xtianity and jesus in lower case. Is everyone keeping up here, or are we drowsing off a bit? So rebelliousness was pre-programmed into our genes via the Demiurge – excuse me, Lucifer.

Chapter – VI
Sin = Guilt
The authentic firsthand citations and observations of Mary of Agreda, which are autonomous to christianity, on the one hand place the origination of sin at a site earlier and different from the so-called garden, and on the other appropriately identify the original sinner differently from man in Adam, as scriptural christianity claims - as "the prince of that (same) assembly."
On account of its complexion, as original, the sin above is integral with, and inseparable from, its originator. Therefore, the being and the consciousness that carries the underived gene of sin at genesis 4:7, and exerts itself verbally to discharge it upon man, is the same "prince of sin" as above.
The reader may note the first entry under sin in the bible book, where the sin issues alone from the consciousness of jehovah, in words avowedly spoken by him to Cain. Here below is the passage in full:
A) "If you had done the right thing, you would be smiling; but because you have done evil, sin is crouching at your door. It wants to rule you, but you must overcome it."- Good news bible, p.7.
However the same verse in the importantly attested Knox bible goes as follows:
B) "If thy actions are good, canst thou doubt they will be rewarded? If not, canst thou doubt that guilt, thenceforward, will lie at thy door? Meanwhile he (Abel) is at thy mercy, and thou canst have thy way with him." - p.3.
The entire bible book being underived and the text titled and couched as "genesis" being the bottommost compartment of the same aspect, "sin" and "guilt" in A & B above are interchangeable. Secondly, they are expressly personified by the speaker. Thirdly, they lie in a crouching state of inertia when and until so personified.
Unless acted upon by an external force, they would interminably so remain in inertia in, with, and alone with, its first and only spokesman above. The statement, "it wants to rule you," is how he elementally personifies sin/guilt - specifically too, by naming them "it" - so that he can apply on it with the force he needs to start it on motion, "it" embracing the sense of a person in lexicographic definition. By the expression "wants" he acts on the personified guilt/sin and puts it in motion.

Yeesh, these guys would drive C.S Lewis to drink. For those of you unfamiliar with Mary of Agreda, here is the Catholic forum reference and here are her works. Citing a 16th CE nun?

Chapter – VII
Assassination of Abel:The Site Configuration & Jesus' Conviction
The Corpus
The christian old testament of the bible book, particularly its most typological part named as genesis, is the transcribed embodiment of the consciousness of the classical Lucifer. It is in this sense that we call it the exclusive medium of the self-expression of Lucifer. The soliloquies, characters, and incidents featuring in it are emanations of this consciousness - the first at its indivisible primary level, the next at the fundamental operational level, and the third at the secondary operational level. It is at this third level that the consciousness of the devil supreme infiltrates generally into that of a particular community of people accomplishedly centered around Moses.
The fourth and final stage of the bible book named as new testament embodies the historical delineation of the same consciousness, now extrinsically transformed by paisacha vivaham (Fornication by the Devil) with the female Mary of the same community.
The House of Abel:
Considerations of sinistralism apart, the clinching text as far as jesus' culpablity is concerned, is Luke 11:51. Unlike Matthew 23:35, the paternity of Zacharias is altogether unrecited in Luke. In Matthew, the paternity is specified as Barachias. But Zacharias born of him did not die from violence, as dishonestly affirmed by jesus.
The omission of Zacharias' paternity in Luke and its inclusion in Matthew together with the other data in it that is factually dishonest when applied to the one or the other Zacharias, as sought by jesus in his criminality, and the quick breakdown of the whole patter ("the jargon of criminals" - Merriam Webster, p.834) when applied as the camouflaged clue to detection of Abel's true assassinator, and only when so applied, are the factors in jesus' conviction.

These fellas are just all OVER the place, they are.
I’m going to put it in a nutshell for y’all:
Lucifer rebelled, thrown down. Pissed off, Old Scratch decided to lure Adam into rebellion, got Cain to do Abel, and covered the world with a book he wrote. Oh, and he managed to do this all genetically. Not to mention Old Nick used a rewritten version of the Vedas to work that old ‘black magic’.
So, when Mr. mythical went to fast for forty days, and forty nights, he tempted himself?
This stuff is so far out in left field, it defies rationality.

Retro me, Satanas!
Oh, and while I’m at it: Retro me, Jehovah! And Brahma, and Buddha, and Zeus, and Odin, and…you get the idea.

My dream is this: that someday, our species will finally lay to rest these abject, foolish childhood nightmares, banish the ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties back to the dim corridors of primal memory, so we can walk upwards, to the light that beckons us, that light at the end of the tunnel, that sweet scent of freedom.

Be free. Of religion, of the torment of imagined sin, of the shackles of the ancient slavemasters. The ghostly memes shall haunt us no longer – and the dreams of an afterlife that never was will no long fracture this world into shards – break the mirror, and be free!
Till the next post, then.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

HOW MORAL AM I?

You'd be surprised (my thanks to Beep! beep! It's Me!).

"Results
You scored 40.5 out of a total of 44.
Audience's Scores
1 % 1 % 32 % 66 %

0-11 12-22 23-33 34-44
My Results
Your score puts you in the highest category of social reasoning. You will see ethical and moral values as important to the needs of society and will appeal to basic rights or values. You might say "Honesty is a standard which everyone should accept" or "Life is sacred."
Conformity to ethical norms is important to you, in terms of a responsibility, obligation or commitment for all individuals, although you may be willing to consider exceptions in some particular circumstances. You are likely to suggest that with entitlement or privilege comes responsibility.


You will appeal to considerations of responsible character or integrity in others, preferring a consistent or standard practice of behaviour in order to avoid damage to social institutions such as the legal system.
However, you will want to see an adjusted case-by-case application of standards for the sake of fairness to all people. Lastly, you are very likely to appeal to standards of individual or personal conscience, as well as of honour, dignity or integrity.
Background
Scores on the questionnaire form a scale that tracks the development of reasoning from childhood through to adulthood about social, ethical and moral issues. The original research using this questionnaire was conducted in the United States by Kohlberg and was followed up by John Gibbs, Karen Basinger and Dick Fuller.
Most children make decisions based on the influence of power and authority figures, progressing through an emphasis upon exchange relationships with others, then on to mutual and social expectations.
Some people progress to a level where they base their moral reasoning on universal values. Others become fixed at earlier stages depending upon circumstances. But recent research has suggested that it is possible to change the way you reason about your social responsibilities."

So I looked up Kohlberg's 3 moral stages as another test:

Moral Stage #4
50% morality
You are a person that is firmly placed within the "Law & Order" stage. This means that you care a LOT about laws, and almost let your life be ruled by following the laws. You have a decent amount of fear that if certain laws were to be taken away, then chaos would ensue. You can differentiate between what's wrong and right and obey because you think it's RIGHT. You internalize this and don't have to be disciplined much. You think more about what others SHOULD do rather than what YOU should do. This stage is alright, but keep this in mind: Laws are ever-changing. Laws are purely contextual to the cultural state of the nation they exist in. Do you really want to live your life by the law?


My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 55% on morality
Link: The 6 Moral Stages Test written by Weasilpie84 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


Crap. Still in stage two.

Here's one query I thought unfair, though:
"You're in a grocery store. You've come upon the produce section, and you've been told by friends that they have no security cameras in this section of the store. You're really hungry but only have a dollar on you. What would you do?"
The multiple choices had none of the decisions I'd choose: I'd either
  1. Go hungry, or
  2. Buy something for a dollar, or less.
Because as my dear, long-departed daddy always told me: "It doesn't matter if it's a nickel, or five dollars, stealing is stealing!"

Guess I should cherry-pick whichever test strokes my ego the best, ey? ;) Isn't that what most people do?

Anyways, test yourselves, lemmee know how you do (and if you test TOO low, expect a stern lecture! Hehehehe).

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