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Pat Robertson says Muslims can’t help themselves

It’s genetic:

I have no idea why a fanatical group of fundamentalists of any religion would find it insulting when the authoritarian nutcase leader of another fundamentalist religion calls their prophet a child molester. You see, if you knew your bible, you’d know that the AY-RABS came from the Ishmael side of Abraham’s family tree and he was a hothead.  {{rolling eyes}}  That’s why Mohammed was a pedophile, according to Robertson.

Judeo-Christians aren’t like that, apparently.  Jesus supposedly died a virgin.  But who knows, really?  If Jesus and his band of Occupiers were alive today, they would have been accused of sex in public in the Garden of Gethsemene.  Oh, sure they would.  The Romans would have had a field day with that.  The Romans would have called them rapists and troublemakers and dirty, lice infested, disturbers of the peace. See how that works?  Lucky for the Romans, they didn’t need to engage in too much propaganda.  They just crucified the leader of the Occupiers and set an example.  But just because TRUE Christians haven’t turned out for the modern day version of Occupy, like I’m sure their leader would encourage, doesn’t mean they’re as violent and nutty as batshit crazy Muslims.

On the other hand, there are some pretty hinky parts of the old testament.  And fundamentalists like Pat Robertson loves them some of that old testament religion.  But let’s dig right in and see what beliefs Pat Robertson goes out of his way to protect and defend, shall we? (This list is not exhaustive)

1.) The pastor of Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, David Davis, read this from the pulpit the Sunday after 9/11.  It’s from Psalms:

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

Lovely.  And I’m sure they meant every word.  Don’t let some apologist tell you otherwise.  This Psalm illustrates that when it comes to violence in religious texts, you can’t heap all the blame on Islam.  It has everything to do with religious fanaticism and fundamentalism and no religion is immune.

But what does Davis know?  He’s one of those Presbyterians.  They’re not *serious* Christians, as I have been told on numerous occasions by fundamentalist Christians.

God directed the violence in a couple of other places:

1 Samuel 15: “Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

The book of Joshua is a record of God directed ethnic cleansing by the Israelites against the Canaanites.  God is very specific in his orders to Joshua.  Kill the men, women and children, carry off the gold, silver and livestock because that stuff belongs to God.  Here’s an example of Joshua’s siege of Ai:

24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the wilderness where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. 26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed[a] all who lived in Ai. 27 But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the Lord had instructed Joshua.

If you take out the details about swords and  javelins, you could be reading an account of Srebrenica.  Remember, these are the descendents of Abraham who were NOT from the hot head side of the family.

2.) This one is interesting.  It’s from Deuteronomy 25:11:

“If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, 12then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.”

How very Taliban.

3.) This is how the old Israelites dealt with rape from Deuteronomy 22:28-29:

28 g“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.”

We have no idea how the young woman felt about this but you can bet your boots that the elders showed no pity.

4.) Let’s not even go there with David and Bathsheba and how after David found out he knocked up Bathsheba, he had her husband Uriah killed.  David was Jesus’ ancestor, if you believe all those begets.  So, essentially, Jesus was the descendent of a philandering murderer.  Nothing personal.

5.) David’s son Amnon had the hots for his half sister Tamar and slept with her.  Incest didn’t go over well with Absolam, Tamar’s full brother.  The whole thing didn’t end well.  David’s family sounds like it’s straight out of a Jerry Springer episode.

6.) There’s some question as to whether Sarah and Abraham were related as well.    Genesis 20:12 seems to say that Sarah was Abraham’s half sister by his father.  So, let’s think about this: Abraham + Hagar = Ismael the Hot-head while Abraham + Sarah = Isaac, product of incest.  Just sayin’.

7.) It is Ok to foolishly make deals with God when you’re in a tight spot because what could possibly happen?

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

So, he comes home for shore leave and what comes flying out of his house to meet him but his daughter? Yeah, didn’t see that coming.  But Jephthah was a merciful killer of his own daughter.  He let her have 2 months of fun in the mountains because she was a virgin before he put her to death.  Jeez, my dad used to just bring us gifts from foreign ports.  The Bronze Age was a tough time to be a kid.

8.) The whole story of Lot is just nauseating.  He offers his virgin daughters to the men of Sodom so that the men wouldn’t attack some angels who were incognito.  Wasn’t that special?  And after God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his now defiled daughters take for the hills.  What happens next is just weird.  Here’s Julia Sweeney in Letting Go of God telling Lot’s story.  (Pick it up 15 seconds in)

9.) And in the bible, if you make fun of bald men, you shall be eaten by bears (2 Kings 2:23-25):

23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number. 25 And he went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

Maybe this is the secret wish of bald men everywhere. But bears?  Granted, it will teach kids not to be bullies but it seems a little extreme.  You’d think God would have pulled Elisha aside and said, “Are you sure you want to do this?  Aren’t you being a little oversensitive about your hair?  How about I just give them an extra nasty case of chicken pox?”

There are many more delightful stories lurking in the bible.  I love the one where Jezebel gets thrown out of a window and eaten by dogs.  That’ll learn her.  And then there are all of the stonings and fornications and floods and cursings and who doesn’t feel sorry for Job?  We aren’t even talking about the silly laws about when you can and can’t have sex with your wife and what is clean and unclean and how stretch denim jeans are an abomination.  That prohibition is in the same chapter of Deuteronomy (chapter 22) where the punishment for a husband slandering his bride by saying she wasn’t a virgin is a whipping.  But if the sheet isn’t bloody, she gets stoned.

Three thousand years later, we are still holding this book up as some kind of moral guidebook.  Indeed, there are some people, like Pat Robertson, who think that if you don’t believe in this book, you can’t be a moral person.

It’s hard to believe that I just had to explain to a commenter what this post is all about so let me spell it out:

The problem that we are seeing in the world right now, especially in the past couple of days, is that fundamentalism is taking root in many countries, including our own.  This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.  It is partially a result of economic conditions.  The more stressed a population is, the more it turns to religion for salvation.  And authoritarian leaders will seize on the opportunity to use religion to enforce compliance and obedience on the population.  But this can also backfire.  Because fundamentalism does not recognize secular authority.  Fundamentalism only recognizes rule by God.

So, in a way, people like Pat Robertson and his equivalents in the Muslim world are making the situation worse.  And ordinary citizens around the world are caught in the middle in this war between two fundamentalist traditions who are adamant about applying bronze age morality to the present day.  It is time for us to say enough already.  We are constrained by cultural mores to go out of our way to respect religious traditions no matter how destructive they are.  And in the present, the wealthy and powerful, by deliberately damaging economies around the world are making religious fundamentalism more likely to erupt into violence.

If you don’t like that summary because you feel like your religion is under attack, good! The rest of us are sick of assholes like Pat Robertson stirring up the pot with ignorant, insensitive commentary.  And we’re sick of fundamentalists of any religion who are unable to grow up.  It’s time that we stop letting the religious have so much rope that they hang all of us.  No more deference to the religious above everyone else who may have objections.  It’s dangerous.

Update: There’s a story in the NYTimes about the origin of the infamous video that touched this whole thing off.  It’s a bit mysterious.  What I find curious is the timing.  It’s coming at about 7 weeks before the election.  It’s bound to make the fundagelicals and other vulnerable voters nervous.  Not only that but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had an effect on oil prices.  The price of gas is already going up.

The effect of the attacks on the embassy and gas prices may be positive for Republicans.  There are studies (damn, where is that reference??) that show that when voters feel threatened they tend to vote for conservatives.  Then there are the irrational birthers who are convinced that Obama is a secret Muslim.  Yes, it’s crazy and stupid.  If Obama were a good president, it wouldn’t make any difference to me if he were a Muslim, but I’m pretty convinced that the only god Barack Obama worships is Barack Obama.  Nevertheless, it’s going to be interesting to see how Obama deals with this, especially if the attacks provoke a shameful retaliation against Muslims in this country.

So, I don’t know who decided to broadcast the inflammatory Mohammed video, and I definitely do not condone the overreaction no matter how insulting, but I smell a rat on the right.

 

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40 Responses

  1. Really? With what’s going on in the world you post this today?

    • The problem is fundamentalism. It doesn’t matter which religion. Fundamentalism is very dangerous. The rest of us who are reasonable people and don’t believe in the literal interpretation of any bronze age or dark age text are being held hostage by the threat of fundamentalism. That’s what’s going on in the world today in Libya, Egypt and Yemen.
      People like Pat Robertson are fueling the flames. This is a war between two religious fundamentalist traditions that have nothing to do with us. It is time that we stopped catering to these people and going out of our way to tiptoe around their beliefs in order to not seem disrespectful.

      • Fundamentalism is a problem, but obscure people like Robertson or the pastor in Florida don’t command alot of mainstream attention…unless something like this goes on and then the media is all over it…both parties are responsible for the incitement. Our free speech allows us to vocalize our opinions and beliefs and there is sometimes a fine line as to contributing to a frenzy…again, the media is always helpful there as well. We do believe in religious freedom and with that is implied respect…as long as you aren’t trying to rape and murder my daughter for not being a fundamentalist in whatever religious hype you’re pushing, then I have no problem with granting respect. As always, respect is earned…when you go around burning down churches and arresting children for blasphemy, then the respect gets a little harder to give. Personally, I’m sick to death of everyone’s itty bitty hurt feelings – muslim, christian, mormon, whatever. Trying to broker some kind of treaty in the middle east is pointless.

        As to the bible, technically the New Testament and Jesus came along to present a whole new set of rules and guidelines to live by. The Old Testament for most christians, is a historical record. However, I have never been the type of christian who accepted every single syallable…too many “guys” back in history rewriting and throwing out what they thought was appropriate.

        • BULLSHIT. Pat Robertson is not obscure. He has his own network and people listen to him and a lot of people like him, like the Van Impes.
          As for the New Testament, Jesus actual contributions to the gospels is something like 18%. The rest is pure fabrication and it’s obvious if the gospels are read side by side. You can actually see where the authors made changes and embellished.
          But even more than that, fundamentalists give equal weight to the old and new testament. They take every word as the literal word of god. It is all true according to them. Let’s not pretend that this isn’t the case. And both testaments are full of misogynism. If you are a fundamentalist and you believe in taking the bible literally, then you also see the sexes as unequal. There’s no getting around that.
          You are kidding yourself if you don’t think Robertson is relevant. People like him are still very relevant. But it’s not just Robertson, it’s also fundmentalists of other religious traditions like the Mormons who put a lot of money into an anti gay marriage proposition that passed in California in 2008.
          Obama caters to the these people only slightly less than Romney does. He also doesn’t stick up for women but because he has a D after his name, he gets a lot of credit for doing pretty much nothing while kissing up to the religious on the sly.
          The older fundamentalists are dying but as long as this book remains revered and protected and its followers elevated because of their “morality”, it will always be a threat to this country.
          The europeans finally grew up and stopped going to church. They’ve got their own problems with crazy nationalists but in general, they evolved. It’s time we did as well.

          • The Bible is not the problem. People like Robertson and the guy in Florida would find some other reason to be assholes if there were no Bible.

            Even fundamentalists elevate the NT over the OT although, unlike dm, I have known those who believe that every “a” and “the” in the Bible is “God-breathed”.

            Mohammed did enter into a betrothal with a 6- or 7-year-old girl, apparently for political reasons. The marriage was consummated when she was nine or ten. I try not to engage in “my religion is better than your religion” dicussions but there is no indication and certainly no historical record that Jesus had sex with ten-year-old girls (or boys, for that matter).

            While I absolutely agree that we need to speak out against religions whose leaders’ teachings and/or behavior lead to harm to innocents, in fact, four innocents have paid the ultimate price because some shadowy man, possibly an Egyptian with ties to Coptic Christians, made a film that was designed to inflame ignorant, violent and fundamentalist Muslims. It’s one thing to speak out against bigotry and discrimination. It’s something else when innocents die as a result of what was another’s actions which were clearly designed not to educate but to incite violence.

          • I disagree that the bible is not the problem. Scriptures in general ARE the problem. It doesn’t matter what religion they belong to. They have never had a rewrite. No one dares to touch them because they’re “sacred”. Religion and big pharma are two areas where new and improved is looked on with deep suspicion. Therefore, all those proscriptions against idolatry and defamation are still in those texts and they are taken very seriously.
            I don’t know which fundamentalists you hang out with but the ones I know put equal weight on the old testament as well as the new. In fact, fundamentalist sects like the Jehovah’s Witnesses are obsessed with the old testament and Revelations and barely touch on the new testament at all. It’s because Jesus used examples and metaphors to teach and fundamentalists feel very uncomfortable doing their own thinking. They prefer to have the rules spelled out to them. Rule, infraction, punishment. And the old testament is chock full of those. The new testament asks people to do justice in non-standard circumstances. It’s too squishy.
            Do you see the problem? When politicians start pandering to the religious, they let the genie out of the bottle. We need to become more secular, not eliminating religion but enforcing strict separation between church and state. It would also be very helpful if we improved our economy and eliminated income inequality. When we do that, there will be less need to turn to religion for answers and a more rigid form of justice. We can’t stop people from believing in god. If that’s what frosts their crockies, let them knock themselves out. But we can make the impact of old scriptures of any religion less relevant and we really need to do this. It CAN be done because that is the way EUrope is trending.

          • JW’s are live in a different world than everyday evangelicals. They’re considered a cult, little different than Mormons. It’s true that Evangelicals look mostly to the OT when they want to exclude a group such as gays but, in eight years of attending evangelical churches, 90% of the sermons/teachings I heard were grounded in the NT.

            It’s also not true that Scriptures haven’t changed over the years. There are a dozen new translations which reference the original language of the Scriptures and the historical context in which they were written. Those are the Scriptures referenced by most liberal Christians so that information is available to Evangelicals. That’s why Jim Wallis, an Evangelical leader, is an Obama supporter (although he diagrees with Obama on abortion).

          • JWs are the epitome of evangelicalism. In fact, when I was a kid, their ideas were considered so weird that it was embarrassing. Now, most evangelical sects have bought into most of their theology. Shocking but true.
            Yes, it is a cult. But the theology is now mainstream. Work your mind around that.
            You know the expression, “you can’t put lipstick on a pig?”. Well, you can update the translation of the scriptures but you can’t change the CONTENT. Nor can you change the fact that they were stories, myths and rule books written by bronze aged people who today would be indistinguishable from the Taliban.
            I’m sorry, but there is no way you can make that good.
            The morality is based on a world that no longer exists and yet people who insist on believing in these writings cling to them like their lives depended on them.
            These were brutally patriarchal people. They were warlike, plunderers, ethnic cleansers and sheep herders. They traded women like property and stoned them for minor infractions. They listened to people who for all we know might have been schizophrenics or tripping on mushrooms. The god is wrathful, capricious, cruel, jealous, bloody, and selfish.
            That’s what’s in those books. Not only that but they are derived in part from much older Mesopotamian texts. The god of the old testament is actually *two* separate gods, a Canaanite one and a god copped from some wandering tribes in the Sinai. The flood myth came from Iraq and is probably 1600 years older that the Noah story.
            And while Jesus probably existed, there’s no proof that Moses, David, or Solomon ever did. Biblical archaeologists say that the Exodus never happened. In fact, the whole story of the birth of Israel is a complete fabrication. The real history of the middle east is much more interesting but except for some hints in Judges, you won’t find it in the bible anywhere.
            There are a few books that are worth saving, like ecclesiastes, song of Solomon and job. But the rest of it? It has no more validity or wisdom than any work of fantasy and there is plenty of questionable worth that fundamentalists follow blindly, especially the misogynism that runs throughout both testaments.
            Not only that but most seminarians know what a fraud the bible is. But they can’t tell their parishioners because the entire religious industry is built on these myths and lies.
            You can not save this book. As more people discover the truth, they’re going to be disillusioned and angry at how they’ve been had. They’re going to wonder why we still follow the rules when there are much better ones available.
            And the people who still insist that these are sacred, meaningful texts are going to look like ignorant fools who are as backward as the Taliban in Afghanistan. It wouldn’t be hard to find parallels between the two groups.
            We need NEW scriptures and a more compassionate, just set of rules and wisdom. The real god, if there is one, does not want you to use those books. She wants a major rewrite.

          • We need NEW scriptures and a more compassionate, just set of rules and wisdom. The real god, if there is one, does not want you to use those books. She wants a major rewrite.

            The basic meme has been out there since 1965, RD. Someone just needs to pick it up and run with it.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Catholic_Bible

          • I’d prefer it if we didn’t use the world Catholic or Bible.
            Too many negative connotations. Btw, isn’t they the book from Dune?

          • Exactly, it is the book from Dune, but the book itself (aside from a few quoted phrases, such as “thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a thinking mind”) does not yet exist It’s time someone brought it into existence. If Christians, Jews and Muslims don’t like the term “Orange Catholic Bible”, they are free to use one of these alternative names for it: Koranjiyana Zenchristian Scriptures, The Accumulated Book, or Zenchristian Navakoran.

            The important thing is to get the ball rolling.

  2. Yeah, it’s sadly obvious that the inerrantists are mistaken. God did NOT actually tell people what to write in the Bible, or those nasty and backward rules would not have been written in there.

    Unfortunately, if a Being exists beyond human comprehension, then all human attempts to understand such a being are doomed to be misunderstandings, to one degree or another–accounting for the silly and worse-than-silly parts. Infallibility of scriptures or church leaders is thus revealed as an absurd notion.

    Hence, those of us who try to follow the God of the Abrahamic faiths have to use our own reason and conscience to pick out which parts of Scripture and doctrine truly reflect the nature of God, and which are errant.

    • “Remember, there’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over.”–Frank Zappa ;)

    • “I think every good Christian should kick Falwell right in the ass.”–Barry Goldwater (that notorious liberal)

      Feel free to substitute Pat Robertson. :twisted:

    • Or, people like Hamfast Ruddyneck could become inspired and write a NEW New Testament making the Old Testament and significant chunks of the New Testament obsolete.
      At this point in time, I see absolutely no reason to follow any texts that were written by Bronze age or dark age “prophets”. There are other religious traditions and ones that have not been discovered yet.
      You can’t separate the good from the bad in the bible. If you are a Judeo-Christian, these are your texts, the sacred and the profane. As long as these texts are considered authoritative to the followers, we will always have to live with the threat of fundamentalists taking these books literally.
      So, I respectfully ask that YOU write the scriptures for God v2.0 and stop asking me to cut the bible a break.

      • Either the whole thing is sacred, or else the whole thing is worthless?

        Amusingly, that’s what the fundies believe as well; they just take the opposite side from you. :mrgreen:

        • I think you missed my point. Fundamentalism thrives on absolutes. There are too many absolutes in the bible and very little encouragement to think through a problem to see justice. Jesus was an exception but his message got corrupted by his followers who needed to figure out a way of keeping the movement growing.
          As long as the texts are respectfully treated as authoritative, there will be some group of people who will take them literally. And throughout both testaments, there is a strong tradition of misogyny. As far as I’m concerned, women should reject the entire thing except for a small sliver of sayings that can be attributed to Jesus. That would pretty much exclude everything but the parables and the sermon on the mount and a few other books like Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. The rest should be pitched.
          No, I am not kidding. There’s no wisdom in the rest of the bible that hasn’t been said in other religious or ethical traditions and there is plenty of really bad stuff that will just make many peoples’ lives miserable. Get rid of it and do a re-write. I command thee!

          • ”exclude everything but the parables and the sermon on the mount”

            I shifted from the arduous discipline of observing the Sabbath with attendance in church when my single mother “offerings” didn’t meet the expectations of the pastor who forgot Jesus’s commendation of the poor woman who gave her last .02 cents. I told my daughter to go to church when she needed to be around a community of prayers, singers, and hearts uplifted as a tonic for her flagging will to overcome adversity. Myself: I now go to see John Lennon smiling back at me in the hymnals where so many slurred notes look like grinning, sparkling happy faces if you look just right at them. Nevertheless, I had a real need to meditate a “push back” when Father Vince sermoned about the five foolish virgins who carried as much oil as they thought they’d need while the fools (or so they thought) who didn’t know to travel light to greet the Bridegroom had enough oil for their lamps to see themselves into the hall. The now proven “foolish” virgins got shut out. See; as a card-carrying GIRL, I would only take in my bag for the wedding feast, enough cash to get home in a cab, lipstick, some gum and maybe a tiny perfume vial. The Bridegroom was delayed, and those “Virgins” unschooled in the schedule-ignoring caprice of bridegrooms, awaiting the bouquet toss from the Bride should have been served a drink while they awaited the revelers in the limo; not sent to a 7-Eleven to get a back-up sterno!

          • The recent behavior of the male atheist community in response to women standing up for their rights has convinced me that any group in which men and women associate breaks down to patriarchy at some point.

          • You haven’t listened to as many atheist podcasts as I have probably. There is a problem in the atheist community. But they are grappling with it, which I find very refreshing. And not all atheist women see the problem in the same way. You might be interested in the podcast Ask An Atheist from Seattle-Tacoma. It has one of the most intelligent, non-dogmatic set of panelists in the New Atheism movement. And one of the spokespersons is a woman who is very critical of some of the “feminists” in her cohort. She thinks they are not thinking critically enough about what they want from men and are actually making the problem worse.
            But I am not going to deny that there isn’t a problem. Only that atheists are more likely to rely on studies and observations of human behavior to solve it because they do not have a scriptural tradition. They at least know that misogynism is not divinely ordained but is the result of conditioning which may be hard to break. But that isn’t going to stop them from trying.

          • True about too many absolutes. While there is some criticism of human authorities in the Bible, ultimately, the authorities could have omitted anything too critical of them. They did leave out some books which some factions of the early churches regarded as valid.

            You put the beginning of the corruption earlier than I do. I’ve been thinking the problem started when the church became the official religion of the Roman Empire, giving the church vested interests in the maintenance of an unjust social order.

            There’s also what JL says below, that any organization containing men tends to become patriarchal over time. The references to female church leaders in the New T suggest that the earliest churches were more egalitarian than the corrupt and repressive institution which evolved (or should I say DEvolved) from the early churches.

            Even if the texts were re-written, would not human nature ultimately turn those re-written texts into excuses for authoritarianism and hierarchy and institutionalized exploitation as well? From what I can see of human nature, if we had never developed the ideas of gods and religions, we’d still have found plenty of other excuses to rob, hurt, and kill each other. (Witness the record of the Communist states.) That seems to be what we talking apes do, unless some superior force deters us–because in the amoral biosphere in which we evolved, such behaviors sometimes promoted survival and/or perpetuation of DNA. :(

          • There is a big problem with that book. Let’s just face it and try to diminish its impact. This is not an intractable problem. We know that other countries have made the transition and haven’t suffered. Yes, people will still do bad things by glomming onto something else but the Bible gives way too many people an excuse to treat others badly and then do nothing to alleviate suffering because they are waiting for a new life to come. The Bible has been particularly hard on women. Half of the population is subject to stupid, anachronistic, harsh laws based on that book. It has to stop and be put in the proper context: it is a book of stories written by Bronze age Taliban. Is that the way we want to live??
            BTW, while altruism and compassion may be hardwired, I don’t think a belief in god is. I’ve certainly never had it. I was told the stories and went to the masses and meetings and I never believed any of it. If there is a god, he most certainly is not the irrational, petty, bipolar, capricious, wrathful control freak portrayed in the Judeo-Christian bible and I certainly don’t want to go to his concept of heaven.

          • I quite agree that the Deity is not the irrational, wrathful control freak which S/He was misunderstood to be by the irrational, wrathful control freaks who wrote the bad parts of the Bible. I had to leave my faith for about nine years (roughly ages 15-24) to work out the contradictions between the nasty parts of scripture and doctrine, and the central message that God loves us. While my sect downplays the nasty parts, I could read the Bible and find the nasty parts for myself. I was only able to return once I quit taking some parts literally, realizing that either they were metaphorical or just mistaken.

            As for the hard-wiring for belief in a god or gods, or else the lack of same, your suggestion that no such hard-wiring exists is a strong possibility.

            However, the human species as a whole is hard-wired to eat plenty of food when plenty is available–but some individual humans are quite content to eat only enough food to stay healthy, even in environments of perpetual abundance.

            Likewise, the human species as a whole is hard-wired to be horny, especially in adolescence and early adulthood. However, some healthy young adults are content to live without sexual activity, even without fapping–naturally content, that is, rather than “content” because they’ve been brainwashed to think sexuality is foul or sinful or similar rubbish.

            So, it seems possible that the human species as a whole could be hard-wired to believe in a god or gods–but a large minority of individual humans, of which you would be one, could live contentedly without the idea.

            Though, as we’ve noted before, had I been raised in kooky fundamentalism rather than fuddy-duddy Methodism, I might be as disgusted with religion as you are. (“Fuddy-duddiness” can be a positive trait sometimes.)

        • yes, you must throw the baby out with the bathwater. All the fundamentalists say so.

      • Write new scriptures, and hence found a new religion, or at least a new sect?

        That would be work, RD, and work is the foulest of all four-letter words. ;)

        • On the contrary. Work is divine. I love it and I always feel better after I have worked and used my mind. Getting started is hard, I will admit. But you seem to be a kind and gentle person, much more kindly and gentle than I am, so you have to write it.

  3. Meanwhile, Joe Cannon is posting good stuff about the probable spook involvement in the video that started this whole foofaraw.

    cannonfire.blogspot.com

  4. Pat Robertson says Muslims can

  5. Hillary Clinton
    “…It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage.”

    Great religion? N*ggah Pleez
    just sayin

    • It appears that you have missed the point of this post.

    • Clinton is a diplomat and part of her responsiblility is to avoid unnecessarily pissing off people in other countries. Do you think that she wouldn’t say that or more to avoid having more of her people killed by angry mobs in countries with fragile governmental systems? What does it benefit America to dsimiss the religion of ONE BILLION other people in the world? Would Hillary’s scorn of Islam lead to those billion people rejecting the religion that is all that they know and have ever known?

      Movement leaders and diplomats are not the same thing. Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schinkdler told thousands of lies to save Jews during WW II. Hillary’s in the business of saving American lives.

  6. RE: absolutes vs. absolutes – in the late 1980′s there was a widely reported case of a Catholic priest arrested in a Muslim country for drinking wine, as priests will, as part of one of their sacred rituals.

    The Catholic Church backed terrorist organization Right To Life was just getting going in this country. I found the Church’s outrage and appeals to international law over the arrest of its priest highly amusing.

  7. The timing is interesting. F*ck. I am tired of where my country is right now. I wish there was a place on earth who loved Americans. There used to be. JFK’s Peace Corps. You know? I watched this because in FB somebody from Pakistan became my “friend” but? A friend of his put a video response up we should all look at, today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqSNlFhtWGE&feature=share I did.

    • I hear you. There was a time when we were the good guys.
      Then the fundies and wealthy started feeling their Cheerios and now it’s guilt by association.

      • RD. I just looked at a house in Kansas for $500. Not kidding. One wonders about the whole middle. Yeah, we were loved. We gave and gave and gave. A lot of us are now asking why? Why did we buy into that.

  8. I think I’ve posted this one on TC before, but it parodies the authoritarian kind of religious worldview well. :P

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