left biblioblography: July 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Up Or Down? Choose, And Make Your Reservations Now!

You have a 75% chance of going to hell!

The Hell Quiz

It's pretty much official, You're going to HELL! If you don't make some big changes in your life, you'll have your very soul ripped from you. Don't let the evil consume you! (Unless you want it to)


So, did you want to go to heaven? Act now, and this site will guarantee no waiting in the queue at the pearly gates! (Funniest part at the bottom reads:

Less than 0.000001% of our travelers have had problems making it to Heaven through this unique, exclusive program.

Hmmm…wonder if I can get frequent flier miles? Oh wait – that’s only if I reincarnate, right?

And for the people you utterly loathe – get them a free ticket to ride…downstairs!

And find out if you’re headed downstairs via the Hell Quiz.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Allegories Gone Wild – The Hand Writing In The Stars (Are They Sirius?)

Cross posted @ God is 4 Suckers!

“We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking to the stars” – Oscar Wilde

Man is the creature who gazes upwards. We view the expansive sky with wonder as well as trepidation. When Nature flails upon us, we flinch. When the sun shines upon us, we smile. When the sun sets, small motes of light fill that grand expanse, and all of these elements combined with pareidolia inspired (or frightened) our ancestors into wild tales.

And sadly, we have not yet outgrown this as a species.

I stumbled upon the phrase ‘Astrotheology’ recently at a discussion over at Pharyngula, and dipped briefly in the well. It proves to be a drink of various divers’ woo.

From the FAQ:

Does Jordan believe in God?

(Presuppositional spoiler alert! You guess it!)

Yes, most certainly!   Jordan has always believed in the presence of God.  But he is also well-aware, through years of study, that man-made religions are the product of "The Powers That Be."   Jordan sees no problem whatsoever with the words and teachings attributed to Jesus in the Bible's New Testament.  

I heard ominous foreshadowing music at the ‘Powers That Be’™ phrase – did you?

Jordan believes that the Bible -- both Old and New Testaments -- is a profoundly important work of benefit to mankind.   This is especially true of the New Testament story of Jesus.   Jordan believes that the New Testament is a brilliantly conceived story which is in fact an encoded metaphor.   The correct understanding of the metaphor in the New Testament story have been purposely concealed by the Church throughout the ages. 

‘An encoded metaphor’? Where have we heard that term before?

In Jordan's view, the entire belief system we call Christianity, in all of its various forms and denominations (not the Bible) as it exists in the world today, is a fraud foisted on the unsuspecting peoples of the world.  Overall, the Church is a world-wide money-grubbing criminal conspiracy, owned behind the scenes by "The Powers That Be." In Jordan's view, it is time for the Christian Establishment world-wide to be seen for what it really is: an enemy of both God and factual Truth.

(Points finger to head, rotates finger, whistles)

Jordan further feels that the entire Christian church in the world today is a creation of the same "Powers That Be" who have given us the corrupt world that we live in.   It is time for the Christian Church to be exposed for the profound evil that it represents in this world.  It is also time for the encoded metaphor, hidden for years, to be brought to light for the benefit of those who recognize that there is nothing of any redeemable value in the Christian church today, and who wish to worship God "in Spirit and in Truth."   In the very near future, Jordan will be presenting the encoded metaphor for the first time here on his website.

“And for only 19.95, I’ll throw in a set of Ginsu knives!” Really, they call it a ‘messianic complex’ for a reason.

In conclusion, Jordan has the highest of respect for the Divine Presence in the universe that men have called "God," and believes that the New Testament is a profound and brilliantly-written metaphor which needs to be explained to those who are sincerely longing and searching for the truth of our existence.   Explaining for the first time the encoded metaphor in the New Testament is surely now "an idea whose time has come."  This hidden encoded story will be presented by Jordan Maxwell on this website very soon.

Because of course, in the 50-odd years of this alleged ‘research’, Maxwell didn’t stop and think that instead of saying ‘god is’, he should’ve asked the question, ‘is god’? An entirely different meaning is acquired via the juxtaposition of this question. (Of course, I don’t know offhand if he has any ‘demons’ – but that should be enough wordplay for one post.)

And of course, Maxwell’s not the only person with this crazy idea in his head – the link leads to yet another preacher who claims to have ‘an amazing message’ cloaked in allegory and dressed up in eyesore fonts and colors.

The video provided is fairly intriguing but has a few major errors in it (crucifixion predates the Romans, for one) – and as such, should not be considered a final say in the matter.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Because Bible Study Makes Men Docile – Or, Maybe Not!

Yahweh’s grandson had a bit of a temper tantrum…

Cops: Screaming He Was "Son Of Jesus," Man Beat Children, Men With 2-by-4

MANCHESTER — - A local man, who police said spent a portion of his morning reading the Bible before running into the street screaming he was "the son of Jesus" and beating several people with a 2-by-4, is to be arraigned this morning in Superior Court in Manchester.
Police suspect Ruben Vasquez Jr., 24, was "on something" [Editor’s note: YA THINK?!?] as he allegedly assaulted two men and two children, age 1 and 3, and a police officer.
Police were called at 7:10 a.m. Tuesday to the area of 55 Holl St. for the reported assault. The caller told police that a man was running down the street, screaming he was the son of Jesus, and hitting people with the 2-by-4. Those who Vasquez allegedly struck were treated and released at Manchester Memorial Hospital, said Manchester police Lt. Chris Davis. All suffered bruises.
Police chased Vasquez, and he fought with them as they tried to arrest him, they said.
Vasquez, of 47 Holl St., was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor, four counts of second-degree assault, assault on a police officer, criminal trespass, third-degree criminal mischief, interfering with police, disorderly conduct and attempted first-degree assault.

I’m betting it was Matthew 10:14 – unless someone out there can cite a better verse?


Monday, July 20, 2009

Forty Years Ago Today, Men Walked On The Moon – And Yes, The Moon Hoaxers Are Just Crazy People

Today marks the 40th anniversary of America landing on the moon. A tremendous feat and a testimony to Man’s will and curiosity about the stars.

And for every triumph of Man, there’s at least a dozen crazy people who insist that

  1. It never happened, or
  2. it happened, only they have the REAL details.

Case in point - Bart Sibrel:

Bart Winfield Sibrel is a Nashville, Tennessee-based filmmaker who claims that the six Apollo moon landings between 1969 and 1972 were hoaxes. He has made two films putting forward his claims A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon and Astronauts Gone Wild.


Dealings with Apollo astronauts

Most astronauts have refused to grant him interviews due to his questionable tactics used in attempts to obtain footage of them as he challenges them that the moon landings were a hoax. He approaches all three astronauts of Apollo 11 at different times and also interviews Eugene Cernan, Alan Bean, Alfred Worden and John Young. In each case, the astronauts are dismayed at the nature of the interview and each ends the interview shortly after Sibrel challenges them about the authenticity of the NASA footage. Where some interviews are in the astronauts homes, others are at public appearances and in the case of Michael Collins, the setting is outside of a supermarket.

The most infamous incident involved Apollo 11 crew member Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. According to Aldrin, he was lured to a Beverly Hills hotel under the pretext of an interview on space for a Japanese children's television show. When he arrived, Aldrin claims Sibrel was there demanding that he swear on a Bible that he had walked on the moon. When Aldrin refused, Sibrel called him a "coward and a liar and a thief." Aldrin punched Sibrel in the jaw and the incident was captured on video. Sibrel later attempted to use the tape to convince police and prosecutors that he was the victim of an assault. However, it was decided that Aldrin had been provoked, and did not actually injure Sibrel, and so no charges were filed but the incident was covered in the media.

Pretty solid right hook for a 78 year old man. Go Buzz! (C’mon, admit it, there are times where some of us ARE tempted to pop the loonies in the mouth.)

Anyways, to paraphrase Harlan Ellison, “my species, we ain’t so goddamned dumb after all!”


Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Politics Of Framing And How It Costs Lives…

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!tomtomorrowmedicine

It’s no secret that I’m a capitalist, despite accusations of Neo-Marxism, and all that crap: I’ve talked to real communists before in China, and they tend to agree that a meritocracy needs to be in place, otherwise an even sharing of the wealth would result in an uneven distribution, as some people work harder than others. Or, to quote myself:

“Communism would be a great idea, if people knew how to share.”

I’ve heard a great many folks (some of them are atheists) who despise and carry on about ‘socialized medicine’. The nutshell version is that they don’t want to pay extra out of their wallet to benefit some lazy asshole who can’t pay their bills.

There’s just so much that’s wrong with that on so many levels, I have a hard time choosing where to start ranting and raving exactly.

First, some operational definitions prior to sallying forth:

Socialism refers to any one of various theories of economic organization advocating public or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equal opportunities/means for all individuals with a more egalitarian method of compensation. Modern socialism originated in the late 18th-century intellectual and working class political movement that criticized the effects of industrialization and private ownership on society. Karl Marx posited that socialism would be achieved via class struggle and a proletarian revolution and become the transitional stage from capitalism to communism.

Of course, idiots like Rush Bimbo are foursquare against it, and the term ‘socialist’ has replaced ‘liberal’ in the latest polarization (non) issues. Because of course, socialized medicine isn’t quite the boogeyman the ReichWingNuts claim that it is:

Socialized medicine is a term used primarily in the United States to refer to certain kinds of publicly-funded health care. The term is used most frequently, and often pejoratively, in the U.S. political debate concerning health care.

Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina, maintains that the term does not mean anything at all. Exact definitions vary, but the term can refer to any system of medical care that is publicly financed, government administered, or both.

The original meaning was confined to systems in which the government operates health care facilities and employs health care professionals.This narrower usage would apply to the British National Health Service hospital trusts and health systems that operate in other countries as diverse as Finland, Spain, Israel, and Cuba. The United States' Veterans Health Administration, and the medical departments of the US Army, Navy, and Air Force would also fall under this narrow definition. When used in this way, the narrow definition permits a clear distinction from single payer health insurance systems, in which the government finances health care but is not involved in care delivery.

More recently, a few have used the term more broadly to any publicly funded system. Canada's Medicare system, most of the UK's NHS general practitioner and dental services, which are all systems where health care is delivered by private business with partial or total government funding, fit this broader definition, as do the health care systems of most of Western Europe. In the United States, Medicare, Medicaid, and the US military's TRICARE fall under this definition.

Most industrialized countries, and many developing countries, operate some form of publicly-funded health care with universal coverage as the goal. According to the Institute of Medicine and others, the United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care.

The term is often used in the U.S to create an understanding that the health care system would be run by the government, thereby associating it with socialism, which has negative connotations in American political culture. As such its usage is controversial.

Tom Tomorrow’s comic actually provides a succinct view of the Right Wingers’ weirdo viewpoints.

Of course, we all use some form of socialism in our daily lives. Everyone has the right to walk down a sidewalk – because all of our taxes paid for it, no? We certainly don’t eject homeless people from the sidewalk (unless of course, they’re breaking some kind of law/social contract) – and the chances are good that the hypothetical homeless is likely not paying taxes. And – wait a minute, is that a library card in your wallet? So my taxes are paying for your ability to borrow a free book, as well as mine?

And who are the lackwits who oppose and/or opposed it?

When the term "socialized medicine" first appeared in the United States in the early 1900s, it bore no negative connotations. Otto P. Geier, chairman of the Preventive Medicine Section of the American Medical Association (AMA), was quoted in The New York Times in 1917, praising socialized medicine as a way to "discover disease in its incipiency," help end "venereal diseases, alcoholism, tuberculosis," and "make a fundamental contribution to social welfare." However, by the 1930s, the term socialized medicine was routinely used negatively by conservative opponents of publicly-funded health care. Universal health care and national health insurance were first proposed by U.S President Theodore Roosevelt. President Franklin D. Roosevelt later championed it, as did Harry S. Truman as part of his Fair Deal and many others.

However, at around this time it was ardently opposed by the AMA which distributed posters to doctors with slogans such as "Socialized medicine ... will undermine the democratic form of government." Ronald Reagan once recorded a disc exhorting its audience to abhor the "dangers" which socialized medicine could bring. Other pressure groups began to extend the definition from state managed health care to any form of state finance in health care. In more recent times the term came up again in 2008 U.S presidential election by the Republicans and in particular in a July 2007 campaign speech, when Rudy Giuliani made a direct connection between socialized medicine and socialism. Giuliani claimed that he had a better chance of surviving prostate cancer in the U.S than he would have had in England. The tactic backfired as according to cancer experts cited in fact check articles by the Annenberg Public Policy Center's FactCheck.org, the St. Petersburg Times and its PolitiFact.com, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times and others criticized Giuliani's use of statistics as "false" and very "misleading" for drawing conclusions that were complete "nonsense".

Health care professionals have tended to avoid the term because of its pejorative nature, but if they do use it they do not include publicly funded private medical schemes such as Medicaid. Opponents of state involvement in health care tend to use the looser definition.

The term is widely used by the American media and pressure groups. Some have even stretched use of the term to cover any regulation of health care, whether publicly financed or not.The term is often used to criticize publicly provided health care outside the US, but rarely to describe similar health care programs in the US, such as the Veterans Administration clinics and hospitals, military health care nor the single payer programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. The term is almost always used to evoke negative sentiment toward health care reform that would involve increasing government involvement in the U.S health care system.

Medical staff, academics and most professionals in the field and international bodies such as the WHO tend to avoid use of the term. Outside the US, the terms most commonly used are universal health care or public health care.[citation needed] According to health economist Uwe Reinhardt, "strictly speaking, the term 'socialized medicine' should be reserved for health systems in which the government operates the production of health care and provides its financing".Still others say the term has no meaning at all.

I for one would be happy to pay more taxes for this. Because while the thought of the government bureaucracy and the red tape resultant is daunting, the fact of the matter is, people’s lives are dramatically affected by medical costs. It is true that we have the best and most exhaustive medical care, those costs can prove to be ruinous if a citizen is horribly hurt, or becomes terribly ill.

On a personal note, I find it ridiculous that proper medical treatment should be based on pay scale: it is a travesty to those of us who care about our fellow man (or woman); it is a horrendous mindset to say that certain specific rights should be based on the pocket book; and it is indicative of a deep disconnect that people afflicted with poverty should watch their children die, while the rich need not worry about such things.

Because whether we call it ‘socialized medicine’ or ‘universal healthcare’, a nation is only as strong as its healthiest members. And trust me, brothers and sisters, a weak body assails the brain, weakening that in return, and those that survive the trial may not prove hail of heart or of mind. Small wonder the poor run to religion: the doors of education are closed, and likewise the doors of proper health maintenance.

Till the next post then.


Friday, July 17, 2009

How ‘Abstinence Now’ Actually Works…

Abstinence-only sex education is a form of sex education that emphasizes abstinence from sex to the exclusion of all other types of sexual and reproductive health education, particularly regarding birth control and safe sex. This type of sex education promotes sexual abstinence until marriage and either completely avoids any discussion about the use of contraceptives, or only reveals failure rates associated with such use.

Proponents of abstinence-only sex education argue that this approach is superior to comprehensive sex education for several reasons. They say that sex education should emphasize teaching a morality that limits sex to that within the bounds of marriage and that sex outside marriage and at a young age has heavy physical and emotional costs. They claim that comprehensive sex education encourages teen premarital sexual activity, which should be discouraged in an era when HIV and other incurable sexually transmitted infections are widespread and when teen pregnancy is an ongoing concern.

Opponents and critics, which include prominent professional associations in the fields of medicine, public health, adolescent health, and psychology, argue that such programs fail to provide adequate information to protect the health of young people. Some critics also argue that such programs verge on religious interference in secular education. Opponents of abstinence-only education dispute the claim that comprehensive sex education encourages teens to have premarital sex. The idea that sexual intercourse should only occur within marriage also has serious implications for people for whom marriage is not valued or desired, or is unavailable as an option, particularly homosexuals living in places where same-sex marriage is not legal or socially acceptable.

Abstinence-only sex education became more prominent in the U.S. over the last decade stimulated by over $1 billion in federal funding. However, few long-term, rigorous studies have been done on these programs, and their effectiveness remains a matter of question. While abstinence-only sex education is a controversial subject, the fact that complete abstinence itself (even within marriage) is the most effective preventative measure against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases has never been in dispute. What is in dispute is whether abstinence-only sex education actually succeeds in increasing abstinence.

Christlation: “Actual information will give the children ideas! Oh noes! Think of the children!” Usually the clarion call of the willfully ignorant.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Who Helps Those Who Help Themselves? Looks Like ‘Self Help’ Is An Oxymoron, After All

Self-help 'makes you feel worse'

Bridget Jones is not alone in turning to self-help mantras to boost her spirits, but a study warns they may have the opposite effect.

Canadian researchers found those with low self-esteem actually felt worse after repeating positive statements about themselves.

They said phrases such as "I am a lovable person" only helped people with high self-esteem.

The study appears in the journal Psychological Science.

A UK psychologist said people based their feelings about themselves on real evidence from their lives.

The suggestion people should "help themselves" to feel better was first mooted by Victorian Samuel Smiles 150 years ago.

His book, called simply Self Help, sold a quarter of a million copies and included guidance such as: "Heaven helps those who help themselves."

(Small interruption here: the original phrase was ‘The Gods help those who help themselves”, and is attributable to Aesop)

Self-help is now a multi-billion pound global industry.

'Contradictory thoughts'

The researchers, from the University of Waterloo and the University of New Brunswick, asked people with high and low self-esteem to say "I am a lovable person."

They then measured the participants' moods and their feelings about themselves.

In the low self-esteem group, those who repeated the mantra felt worse afterwards compared with others who did not.

However people with high self-esteem felt better after repeating the positive self-statement - but only slightly.

The psychologists then asked the study participants to list negative and positive thoughts about themselves.

They found that, paradoxically, those with low self-esteem were in a better mood when they were allowed to have negative thoughts than when they were asked to focus exclusively on affirmative thoughts.

Writing in the journal, the researchers suggest that, like overly positive praise, unreasonably positive self-statements, such as "I accept myself completely," can provoke contradictory thoughts in individuals with low self-esteem.

Such negative thoughts can overwhelm the positive thoughts.

If people are instructed to focus exclusively on positive thoughts, negative thoughts might be especially discouraging.

Real life

The researchers, led by psychologist Joanne Wood, said: "Repeating positive self-statements may benefit certain people, such as individuals with high self-esteem, but backfire for the very people who need them the most."

However, they say positive thinking can help when it is part of a broader programme of therapy.

Simon Gelsthorpe, a psychologist with Bradford District Care Trust and spokesman for the British Psychological Society, said self-esteem was based on a range of real life factors, and that counselling to build confidence - rather than telling yourself things are better than they are - was the solution.

"These are things like, do you have close family relationships, a wide network of friends, employment and appearance.

"If you're not close to your parents, don't have many friends, are unemployed and are unhappy with your appearance, it might be hard to have high self-esteem.

"But if your experience is the reverse of that it would be much easier to say 'I'm OK' and believe that."

I wonder if the Dunning-Kruger effect was factored into the equation?

Ah, humanity – a self-contradictory species indeed.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Allegories Gone Wild – The Theology That Boasts Of Emptiness

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!


Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin'
If you wanna be with me
Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin'
If you wanna be with me – Billy Preston, Nothing From Nothing

Apparently, there’s a new rage in religious quarters. It’s called kenotic theology. Kenosis

is a Greek word for emptiness, which is used as a theological term. The ancient Greek word κένωσις kénōsis means an "emptying", from κενός kenós "empty". The word is mainly used, however, in a Christian theological context, for example Philippians 2:7, "Jesus made himself nothing (ἐκένωσε ekénōse) ..." (NIV) or "...he emptied himself..." (NRSV), using the verb form κενόω kenóō "to empty". See also Strong's G2758.

In Christian theology, Kenosis is the concept of the 'self-emptying' of one's own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and his perfect will. It is used both as an explanation of the Incarnation, and an indication of the nature of God's activity and condescension. Mystical theologian John of the Cross' work "Dark Night of the Soul" is a particularly lucid explanation of God's process of transforming the believer into the icon or "likeness of Christ".

Yes, it does sound like some form of a Zen koan, does it not? I’ve heard this in some variety or form over the last few decades: the ‘emptying’ of oneself, to become some sort of vessel for mystic forces, or in the Eastern tradition, that act of emptiness in order to achieve/receive some kind of spiritual insight.

In fact, it’s very much like the concept of zazen, or ‘opening the hand of thought’. However, the differential is that in Western thought, the act of ‘opening’ is the process of inviting something in, whereas in Eastern modalities, it’s the simple act of release.

On our side of the ocean, the act of actual quietude, that silencing of the internal dialogue, is viewed (usually) with some degree of doubt and/or horror, as if silence as well as stillness is indicative of non-existence or identity loss (which is quite silly: a quasar very active, perhaps noisy, while a growing tree is neither). As a Westerner, it provides a degree of difficulty for myself – the martial art I engage in seeks stillness in motion, a paradox not a contradiction. There are countless studies showing that meditation itself, that ‘emptying of the self’ is a huge reliever of stress (that holdover of the fight/flight impulse we’ve been struggling with for years), so I shan’t belabor that point.

But the Occidental mind always seems to need a prime mover, a direction – aghast at the concept of free-floating in freefall, even if only for a few minutes each day.  Ergo, insert Father Figure (this is some sort of weird reverse Oedipal Rex complex), who ‘fills’ the ‘vessel’.

What brings us to this? Why, evolutionary Christology. Basically, this is an effort to synchronize religion with evolution.  This excerpt is from The Examined Life On-Line Journal:

Did the pre-existent God come down from Heaven and become man in the person of Jesus, or did Jesus the man achieve divinity? This question emerges as a consequence of the work of a number of Catholic theologians, although most of them would probably reject the question in that form.

Personally, I reject the question in its entirety.

God-Man Unity

In his “The Theandric Nature of Christ”, David Coffey sets out “to concentrate on the unity of Christ without thereby devaluing his humanity over against his divinity.” His study “transfers the focus of his unity from the divinity to the humanity, so that the former is clearly seen to be actualised in the latter.” Coffey argues that the theandric, or divine-human character “of Christ’s human nature emerges from a critical study of Karl Rahner’s Christology that deepens our understanding of human nature itself.” (1999,405) He notes that in a 1958 essay Rahner had argued that human nature has “when assumed by God as his reality, simply arrived at the point to which it strives by virtue of its essence.” (1999, 411-12)  This view proposes a deeper understanding of human nature - that human nature is essentially oriented towards its own divinisation, while Coffey maintains that Christ’s divinity is actualised within his human nature.

Theandric? So…is there a Homo Theanderthal in the works somewhere?


So from Hulsbosch, Schillebeecks, Schoonenberg and North we have agreement that latent possibilities, which are somehow contained within matter itself, evolve to reveal Jesus the God-man. From Rahner we have human nature striving towards divinisation by virtue of its essence. If human nature strives towards divinisation “by virtue of its essence” and if Jesus represents “an unfolding of possibilities which were somehow latent within matter itself”, we must try to understand those processes through which this occurs. We need to find how human nature strives towards its divinisation and how the possibilities that are latent in matter are realised. We have to ask:

A) How do the latent possibilities within matter come to be realised, and in particular, what form of evolutionary process might realise these possibilities?

The answer here, is almost Zen in and of itself: there were no latent possibilities, and the matter realized itself.

(B) Within an evolutionary process, how might humanity achieve the divinisation that it pursues by virtue of its essence? What evolutionary process could humanity utilise in its striving towards divinisation?

Well, ZERO comes to mind, as there is no ‘divine’  -  this is presupposition liberally mixed with psychobabble.

(C) As Jesus has achieved the divinisation that humanity pursues by virtue of its essence, what is the nature of the process that produced Jesus?

Again, presupposes Jay-bus even existed. Even if he did, was his birth a result of parthenogenesis (the virgin birth)? Is there some way to analyze the DNA? Oh, that’s right: they can’t even find the tomb, so how would this apply at all?

The ultimate divinisation, or deification, of man is Christian teaching, but how this might happen has always been obscure. This problem is highlighted by E.L. Mascall, who says: “The vision of God, union with God, assimilation to God – in such terms Christianity, basing itself on the Bible itself, has consistently described man’s end and beatitude. Yet it is by no means easy to see how such a destiny is consistent with the radical distinction between God and the creature. To be a creature is to exist with a derived existence; to exist with an underived existence is to be God; there can be no half-way house. How then can a creature be deified? – for this is the term which Christian theology has dared to use.” (1949,184) He contrasts the rational conviction of the “absolute distinction between God and creatures” to the equally firm faith conviction “that we can literally become ‘partakers of the divine nature.’ (2 Pet. I,4)” (1949,185)

This is all really too much. Until they can find ‘deity’, capture it, analyze it, and sell it along with Estee Lauder products, this is all a bunch of metaphysical rubbish.

And at this point, the author screws the pooch:

I argue that Mascall proposes a false dichotomy between a derived and an underived existence when he argues that there can be “no half-way house” between underived being and derived being.  Once evolution is understood as a process that involves both self-organisation and self-creation, we can postulate an intermediate position between a derived and an underived existence. This intermediate position, as the product of a process of self-creation, can be closer to the underived existence of God than to the derived existence of a creature. In my dissertation on “The Process of the Cosmos” I develop a Natural Theology, based on contemporary Cosmology, which identifies the role of human moral-cultural self-creation in the overall process of the Cosmos.

So, this runs fairly contrary to all expectations of the ‘religious evolutionists’. By the very operational definitions of ‘self-organisation’ and ‘self-creation’, it relegates their deity to near-nothingness, a bystander instead of a proactive ‘creator’.  If something ‘organizes’ itself, then no external participants need apply. The same goes for the ‘creation’ part.

The author attempts to back pedal here:

The natural theology of “The Process of the Cosmos” is not significantly affected by Biefeldt’s conclusion, indeed it argues for an understanding of God who does not intervene, or who intervenes minimally, and who certainly does not intervene in the normal life of the world. In “The Process of the Cosmos” I argued that God initiated each new Emergent stage. I now resile from all intervention by God in the process of the cosmos, once the process has been initiated, except for the initiation of life, which would seem to have been associated with a transfer of information and energy. The initiation of the cosmos, the first Emergent, is clearly associated with a transfer of information and energy. It is not affected by Biefeldt’s argument.

But this is Aquinas’ ‘Uncaused First Cause’ argument revisited, not a demonstrative proof of any sort.

The rest is a grab bag of analogical arguments, some copy/paste from different ‘philosophers’, and in general, an entertaining read.  Mind you, subtract ‘gawd’ from the equation, and the house of cards crumbles, but it’s interesting to see the thought processes of those who are at least making the effort to acknowledge evolution, but unwilling to forgo their superstitions.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Recent Israeli Demographics

More signs that Israel’s not the big fucking boogeyman the Left wing guano bats claim it is:

Study: 51% of Israelis secular

Three months after indicating only 20% of Israelis are secular, Israel Democracy Institute reports new data stating 50% of Israelis are secular, 30% are traditional and 19% Orthodox or haredi

Its previous study caused bonafide uproar. Religious Jews rejoiced, secular Jews were offended, and even Yair Lapid was called in to assure secular Jews that “they are not vanishing just yet”. Now, however, it appears that this was truly much ado about nothing.

Three months ago, the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) released its annual Democracy Index, which revealed a marked decline in the number of Israelis that define themselves as secular, and had indicated that only 20% of the Israeli population can be regarded as secular in its religious beliefs.

Research study conducted by Israel Democracy Institute reveals percentage of seculars has dropped by 50% in past 30 years. Ashkenazi academics less observant than others; there are hardly any Sephardim who define themselves 'secular.' And how does religious affiliation affect political opinions?

This represented a new “low” for Israel’s secular population, which had seemingly declined from 41% in 1973 to 20% in 2007.

On Sunday, however, the IDI’s Guttman Institute released new survey data revealing very different figures, and indicating that Israel’s secular Jews constitute roughly half of the country’s population. The discrepancy between the two studies, researchers maintained, was due in large part to a misinterpretation of earlier survey data.

A message on the IDI’s website stated that “The 2008 Israel Democracy Index uncovered the following breakdown of Israel’s population: 51% of Israelis are secular, 30% traditional, 10% Orthodox, and 9% haredi. We are sorry for any misunderstanding stemming from earlier data which might have conveyed the wrong impression.”

The Guttman institute also maintained that its newly released data is virtually identical to survey data obtained from the Central Bureau of Statistics, which indicated that 44% of Israelis are secular, 25% are traditional but not religious, 14% are traditional and religious, 10% are Orthodox and 7% are haredi.

I find that interesting, as Iran has had an Islamic hardcore component in its government since the Shaw got booted.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Michael Jackson’s Ghost Doesn’t Stand A Shadow Of A Chance

Some people will stoop to any low for ratings.

When I first watched this video online, I’ll admit, it gave me some goosebumps.  I did a few stops on the player, telling myself, “Oh, wait, that’s a shadow!” by the third frame.  The embedded video confirms: – it’s just a shadow. But the pan back and horror movie music are both major contributors to the illusion.

Of course now, there are Michael Jackson sightings. Does this sound familiar? Singer, name starts with an ‘E’, ends with a ‘Y’?

Really, people are just way too open to suggestion. It’s almost beyond belief.



Saturday, July 04, 2009

Allegories Gone Wild – TEOTWAWKI And The Informercial

Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!TEOTWAWKI_____Doomsday___by_Hideyoshi

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine. – R.E.M, It’s The End Of The World

I came home this morning, and found a pamphlet tucked into my doorsill, and that pamphlet was from the Jehovah’s Witless, trumpeting about the End Of The World. It’s not enough that these anachronisms fantasize about the EOTW, but they feel bound and obliged to share it with the rest of us.

That little nugget comes from Ezekiel 3:18-19
18 If I say to the wicked person: (A) You will surely die, but you do not warn him—you don't speak out to warn him about his wicked way in order to save his life—that wicked person will die for his iniquity. Yet I will hold you responsible for his blood. 19 But if you warn a wicked person and he does not turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.

Thanks, Zeke. You helped make life a little more difficult, as if it wasn’t enough already. The bible – enabling crazy and delusional people since the 10th century BCE.

So today’s rant pretty much targets another End-Day-er, and sure enough, if you read the sentences, and then close your eyes, you can actually see in your mind’s eye, an infomercial.

Christians: “Finally Understand Bible Prophecy (Including What Event To Expect Next) Thanks To A Prophetic Timeline Breakthrough Based On Two Overlooked Keys in the Words of Jesus

So, does anyone here wonder why I have a problem with allegory? Some clown finds two or three alternate wordings in a ‘sacred text’, and voila! Time to restructure the epistemology!

New Update!
Iran In Prophecy

My latest research shows where Iran's devastation is in Bible prophecy. Ahmadinejad's plan to wipe Israel off the map with nuclear weapons will backfire and cause his own people to flee Iran. It's the next prophecy to be fulfilled and will affect everyone who depends on the flow of Middle East / Strait of Hormuz oil.

Quick! Notify the Pentagon! This stuff is gold! Let me guess….somewhere in 2012, right? So – somewhere in the bibble, it says the missiles will turn back on the launchers, right?

Congratulations, you're about to discover surprising Bible secrets that few have the chance to hear. My name is Tim McHyde (like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And yes, in case you're wondering, I did get teased a lot for my name when I was a kid :-) For over 20 years now, I have had an absolute passion for understanding the mysteries of the Bible, especially what Bible prophecy reveals will really happen in the future.

Because hobbies in the real world don’t enable your delusions, no doubt.

As a result of that curiosity and persistence, I've made unbelievable progress in turning the Book of Revelation from a frustrating codebook into a understandable playbook that anyone, including you, can readily understand and use to your benefit in the troubled times ahead. Given the nature of the challenges that are coming, this information can literally save your life.

The problems here are manifold: A. McHyde presupposes a deity, B. presupposes the wholly bibble is accurate, and C. presupposes that the book in question isn’t topical (which internal markers actually show that it is).

First, judging from all the emails I have received to my Bible prophecy websites since 2000...

More people with no hobbies?

Guess What Hard Question People Want To Know Most From Me These Days?

I'll give you a clue. It directly relates to this string of tragedies that have recently happened:

  1. 9-11 World Trade Center Attack
  2. The Earthquake and Tsunami at Sumatra
  3. Hurricane Katrina's castastrophic flooding of the city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast states
  4. ...and also to these doomsday scenarios in the news (some of which only receive coverage on the Internet):
  5. Global warming and other drastic climate change
  6. Iran's nuclear bomb and Islamic apocalypse aspirations (which can also create oil crises) bringing war to the Middle East
  7. Terrorist dirty nukes on American soil (in response to an Iran invasion)
  8. Hubbard's peak oil crisis
  9. Potential impacts from near earth objects (comets, asteroids, meteors)
  10. China invading Taiwan (who America is avowed to defend)
  11. Conflict with North Korea over her nuclear missiles capable of striking California
  12. World War III
  13. Avian flu virus pandemic
  14. Overpopulation
  15. More killer hurricanes
  16. The Next 9-11 Attack
  17. More killer earthquakes (California is considered overdue for a Big One)

Can you guess now?

Ah, hello? Number 12 hasn’t happened yet?

The question I'm asked most is driven by a growing suspicion that our best days may already be behind us and a day is coming to mark "the end of the world as we know it" (TEOTWAWKI). This is the dreaded day when the good times of prosperity, freedom, stability and security that we enjoy and downright expect today are over. This generation has never seen a Great Depression, Holocaust or World War but realizes evil and danger have multiplied in the world since those days making it unreasonable to expect that history will not repeat itself.

This has been an ongoing non-discussion for the past 2000 years. Arguably, the ‘world as we know it’ ends on a regular basis because the ‘status quo’ is constantly in flux.

So, the question everyone seems to want to know from me is if Bible prophecy tell us what really will cause the world to unravel and more importantly, when will this happen and what do we do about it?

Simple answer(s): no, no such thing as ‘prophecy’, so not gonna happen.

The answer is "yes" the Bible tells us what will happen and enough clues to know when to expect it and, thankfully, also how to "escape all these things" as Jesus himself put it.

There are better hobbies to be had than sitting around playing witless guessing games.

Now, I'll admit it right here: this concept of TEOTWAWKI coming can be a major downer that nobody would want to believe or think about. It makes you feel hopeless to hear that the world will only get worse. If you naturally believe that there is nothing you can do about it, of course you'd rather just immediately put it out of your mind, ignore it, or go watch TV or play a video game to help you feel good about life again.

Thanks, Dr. Phil.

But there is hope and a better approach than just ignoring the signs of the times and the handwriting on the wall, so to speak.

Does this cat know that the book of Daniel is pretty much a joke?

The Solution: Follow God's Survival Plan For You

Well, as you know... Even though many people have a computer, few have the knowledge and training they need in order to harness its full potential to make life easier.

That exact same principle holds true about your understanding of Bible prophecy.

Uh, no, it’s firmly established that biblical prophecy is codswallop. Also, the analogy is so brittle it collapses, as one cannot compare a 20th century technological tool to a set of anachronistic musty old rules put together by a fiercely nomadic and insular society from the Iron Age.

Just as it takes advanced knowledge to get the most from your computer, understanding any part of the Bible takes more than just knowing how to read. There's actually a prophetic roadmap found in the Bible that must be understood first in order to properly interpret the Biblical prophecies, and eventually unlock their full meaning so you can anticipate future events just as God intended.

Exempting of course, lottery numbers, horse races, actual economic forecasts, and anything vaguely resembling reality.

Unfortunately, most people (including you) probably aren't even aware of this "prophetic roadmap" much less the fact that you can actually use it to improve your life!

Much of it goes on in this vein – including (I kid you not) a money back guarantee!

But somehow, this will be exempted from consideration as fraud, because it’s religious.

Or, as David Hannum put it, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

A joyful Fourth to you and yours. This is the Apostate, signing off.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

From Beyond – Avoid At All Costs! A Movie Review

I’ve been casting about for a decent movie based on H. P. Lovecraft’s stories, and well, it’s been slim pickings.

So I watched From Beyond yesterday, and most of my reactions were “Oh, you’re kidding me!” and wild laughter. The crew at MST3K would’ve had a field day with this thing.

After inventing a way for creatures from the fourth dimension to come into his own world, Dr. Edward Pretorious (Ted Sorel) suffers a gruesome decapitation at the hands of those he brought "from beyond." But authorities suspect his assistant (Jeffrey Combs) is to blame. Barbara Crampton co-stars as a beautiful psychiatrist brought in to help police solve the case in this classic 1980s thriller based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft.

Yeah, when I read that blurb, I thought, “I…dunno.” Not a big fan of what I term ‘over-modernization’ (you know what I mean – they bring the characters up to date with the current time, including cutesy little commentary, all that idiocy).

Half an hour into the film, it began spiraling out control. Whoever re-fitted this movie was obviously on a steady diet of cocaine and late night horror movies. Absolutely hysterical insertions include:

  1. A monster design that obviously was rejected from the ‘Lost In Space’ movie debacle
  2. The lady psychiatrist dressing up as a dominatrix while under  the influence of the Resonator
  3. Crawford Tillingford actually (seriously!) developing a taste for human brains (a moment of high hilarity ensues when he attacks the bitchy doctor in the hospital: he pushes her up against the wall, begins sucking on her face, turns, spits out an eyeball, and begins to slurp out her gray matter).
  4. Crawford gets eaten by his former mentor, but manages to battle his way out of the digestive tract to save the damsel in distress

Utter and thorough dreck. Good for a few laughs, though, if you like awful movies.