Thursday, February 24, 2011

GI: Reading Rainbow

I am beginning to wonder if the people who so forcefully pound the Bible and hold it up as the avatar of their authority actually have ever READ the thing. 

Today's edition of GI examines the sublime assertions of two individuals whose expertise in the art of looking at sentences and parsing meaning out of them is, unfortunately, sadly lacking. As is their historical and liturgical knowledge.  I don't like to generalize, but it's thinkers like this who want to tell everyone else how to use their brains.  That would be like giving a baby a machete and asking him to carve the turkey at Thanksgiving.  Take notes, kids -- there will be a pop quiz and the winner gets a free Kazoo. Onward...
(punctuation original – AD)

“personally, I find the common atheist assertion that "these books were written by man" completely irrational and ahistorical. Who exactly is their author? There's no historical documentation that suggests it, and in many cases, it would require widespread conspiracy to perpetuate the fraud - which also lacks evidence. Yet atheists continue to insist, utterly without any evidence, that there was some phantom author.

“please explain the existence of religious texts and the religious experience of the first generations that experienced those texts”

I am not disputing that spiritual and religious texts may have been inspired by a deity; however…

I presume you know of some fellas named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John?  Paul the Apostle—he wrote a bunch of letters (epistles) to the Corinthians?  Even Jewish scholars acknowledge that the Torah (read: Old Testament to the Gentiles) was written by men, albeit unknown and unnamed.  Solomon? Song of?  I got a million of ‘em.


[re Obama: "We Do Not Consider Ourselves A Christian Nation". Emphasis mine. Here we go again…AD]

“He needs to go back and read the Constitution, and other historical documents that this country was based on.”

Sigh.  "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? "– Matthew, Chapter Seven, Sermon on the Mount—Greatest Hits

The United States Constitution, Article I:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Treaty of Tripoli, 1797, Article 11:  As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.[3]

Declaration of Independence:  When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.  (No mention of Christ here or anywhere in the document.)

You may not like Obama, and you have that right.  However, he was a Professor of United States Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago.  Whether he’s Christian, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, Buddhist, or a worshiper of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, he’s got a better grasp on the wording and content of our founders’ documents than you do. 

Then again, so does the average fifth grader who does a simple search on the internet and actually READS them.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Toomer's Corner: The Memory of Trees

I have never been to Toomer's Corner in Auburn, and I know next to nothing about football.  More to the point, I couldn't care less about football, which to the wonderful fans of Auburn and Alabama is heresy; sorry. I just never saw much of interest in watching a bunch of men in padded suits chasing after a proportionately teeny tiny piece of pigskin.  However, I do realize the impact that the sport has on our national culture, and that it engenders fierce passion and loyalty in people, so much so that it consumes Sunday afternoons and Monday morning coffee.  In Alabama, you cannot be neutral between the two great teams of that state; sides must be picked, and the battle lines distinctly drawn in this rivalry for generations.

That's fine; it gives people a sense of cameraderie and fellowship to collectively root for their team, to gather and celebrate a win--or to commiserate over a loss. It is our modern equivalent of war, but a safer war, where the objective is to simply score a touchdown rather than murder the opponent and take their goods and chattels away.  Everybody walks away at the end—well, some stagger, whether due to injury or inebriation—and leave the fight for another day.

At least, that’s the way it should be.

Fisticuffs have ensued in Alabama over a declaration of nonalignment to either team, but at least a person can defend himself in the scuffle. A tree can’t.  Have you ever seen a branch ball itself up in a fist and swing a mean right hook?  Aside from JK Rowling’s Whomping Willow, I’ve never heard of a tree that fights back against an intrusion.  So a vicious attack against one is hardly the epitome of decency, let alone sportsmanship.

Harvey Updyke Jr. has been charged with injecting a poisonous herbicide into the two 130-year old trees at Toomer’s Corner—a place where Auburn fans come to celebrate and commiserate, and have for decades.  It’s bad enough that this man evidently allowed his zeal and misguided sense of loyalty to take the rivalry to such lengths.  It’s reprehensible that, in his mind, a tree was simply a tool, a method by which he could achieve his objective. Which, to this non-football fan, was as ridiculous as it was malicious and cruel.

I’m sure there are people out there saying, “What’s the big deal? It’s only a tree.”  Yeah, tell me that when you’ve been around for nearly a century and a half.  That tree was part of the Toomer’s Corner history. It was part of the town’s identity.  And it was a living thing.

People, it’s a game. No world issues have ever been solved by a football game, no famines ended by baseball. We haven’t gone to Mars on the morale of the Lakers, and we won’t fix the oil spill by cheering on Manchester United.

Trees don’t play football. They don’t play baseball or basketball or cricket or soccer, or even bloody golf, for God’s sake.  Trees don’t argue, don’t yell obscenities, and don’t start fistfights. All they do is grow and bear witness to the passages of time while we humans barely register it. They give us shade, sometimes shelter from the elements, and often food to sate our hunger. In a world where neutrality is frowned—even sneered—upon, trees are the only true arbiters of impartiality and objectivity.

Whether you’re a hugger or not, it has to be admitted that trees have been around a hell of a lot longer than we have. They have been there through our ups and downs, our triumphs and failures, have seen things we will never see. They are our constants in a world that changes so rapidly that we’re running faster to keep pace.

The trees, on the other hand, know how to be still.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

GI: Jesus Loves Me

Gooooood evening, my darlings.  I hope everyone had a great day and that you are all steaming ahead over the crest of the hill, headlong towards Friday.  I, evidently, have managed to catch some kind of stomach bug, and therefore cannot eat my beloved truffles. Which, as I'm sure you're aware, does not bode well for my evening. 

Today's GI is a double-header of Rapturist delight.  Bear in mind that nowhere in either the Bible--specifically, the New Testament--is there any mention of such an event.  The closest the NT ever came to it was in I Thessalonians, when Paul talks about Jesus returning to Earth to gather his saints:

'...and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air."

The actual concept of the Rapture, as it is known today in mainstream Western culture, was the idea of one Cotton Mather and his son, the ingeniously named Increase.  The term 'Rapture' was created by Philip Doddridge and John Gill in 1738 and 1748, respectively, in their New Testament commentaries.  That's where it all started, and other theologians, ministers, and writers developed on the idea. 

What was once a rather lovely idea has become, in my opinion, slightly skeevy when viewed through the perspective of the following:


“I am sitting here right now thinking of the rapture...and just thinking about it makes me cry. My spirit groans within heart aches with wanting to see his face. All I can think about is going home...I hate this world and the thought of living a full 70 years saddens me deeply. I want to go home so bad! I am so tired and weary of this world. Jesus..I only want you. Come soon Jesus....your bride is calling.”

Sometimes these people just creep me out.  

What about ‘life is a gift, meant to be lived’?  I have a hard time believing that God (Allah, Jehovah, Elohim, et al) would be very happy about people wasting time and twiddling their thumbs, moaning about how awful life is and not doing crap to make something meaningful from it. 

And as for the “bride” thing…you get up in arms about the hypothesis that Jesus could have been married while he was alive, but it’s perfectly okay if you claim the title after his death/resurrection/ascension?  Plus, are you the only "bride"?  Is Jesus some kind of polygamous Don Juan? 

If God gives you 70 years to live on this planet, I would do my damndest to learn something from the experience if I were you. Otherwise, if you ask me, that’s like throwing the gift He gave you smack in his face and telling him it’s not good enough.

Damn, if I still drank alcohol....


[In a thread about "If we can eat in heaven, can we also have sex?"  Good to know where the priorities lie.]

1. Jesus ate after receiving His Resurrection body.

2. Marriage "Supper" of the Lamb (Kinda hints at food, doesn't it?)

3. Trees along the River of Life with 12 crops of fruit for us to eat.

We will be able to eat - if we need to is another issue.

1. Sex is for Marriage

2. The only Marriage in Heaven will be Christ and His Bride - now, not to be crass, if we were to have "relations" with each other, wouldn't that be considered adultery if "we" are married to Christ?

There will be no sex for those who have Resurrection bodies. For those still on earth during the Millennium, yes, they will have sex and repopulate the earth.

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m thinking that staying down here is going to be a lot more fun.  -Irish

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GI: Rogues and Peasant Slaves

Happy hump day, friends and neighbors.  Sorry I've been rather lax with the GI missives this week, but things have been busy at work.  I just do this for fun, you know.  In today's episode:  Forget Philip Marlowe. Evidently, Shakespeare had bigger fish to fry, according to this stellar example of research and reasoning --

“You're thinking about the NKJV. This is the one that was commissioned by the king that wanted a divorce I believe. I think it was one of the King Henry's. Crazy kook either got the divorces he wanted or arranged the death and/or imprisonment of his wives so he could re-marry at will. The KJV is the original copy written and translated by Shakespeare, from the ancient greek and hebrew manuscripts. If not this, he may have translated it from an even earlier english translation (which was then translated from the original greek and hebrew) when english barely resembled what it is today. It's one of these two events. This is why it's considered the most accurate, a direct english translation from the originals and the standard for today despite being a relic from the 1300-1500's where fancy poetic language was the common english of those times.”

No. Just no.  This is wrong on so many levels I can barely sputter out a response. 

Shakespeare? Really? William Shakespeare? There is no evidence to suggest that the Bard had anything to do with the translation of the KJV, which was actually drafted from 1604 to 1611, commissioned by King James I (hence the name—geddit?).  King Henry did indeed want a divorce from Katharine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn, but that was waaay before King James.  (James did give Shakespeare a royal patent after Queen Elizabeth I’s death.) James wanted to have a new translation written simply to correct perceived errors in earlier translations.  The KJV was the third official translation of the Christian bible into English.  Which, incidentally, begins with a capital “E”.  

I’m not even getting into the “fancy poetic language” bit.  No, wait--yes I will: It's called iambic pentameter, you miscreant, and no, people did not talk that way.

Would it kill people to look this stuff up? --Irish

Thursday, February 10, 2011

GI: The Log In Your Eye

...AAAAnnnnd How was everybody's Thursday? Good? Good.  Rest yourselves a bit, prop your feet up, and feast your eyes on the day's Genius Idiocy hors d'oeuvre.  If awards were given out for hypocrisy--or obliviousness, this individual would surely take at least one of the top prizes.  Deep breath, everyone, and into the breech...


“I have a Catholic neighbor that is stubborn like a mule. He is a good man as far as sinners go, (That’s big of you) but he is religious without truth. I have witnessed to him on numerous occasions, but he prides himself in sticking to the teachings that his grandparents and parents taught him.(Shiny Mirror Alert!)

“He is idolatrous and smiles with arrogance when he tells me that he follows the Catholic Church over the Bible.” (Shiny Mirror Alert! My eyes! It burns!!)

“He's about 50-years old. One day he will split Hell wide open and find out that God's Word is true and the Catholic Church lied to him. He is going to die in his sins without Christ. He adamantly believes that he is going to Heaven because of his faith AND GOOD WORKS. Adding anything to faith alone in Jesus is a false gospel and a guaranteed road to hellfire (Ephesians 2:8-9)." (GASP! How DARE he? Incidentally, James 2:17: "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.")

I am saddened that he is going to Hell. He rejoices and drinks beer like water.” (Errr, to be fair, back in the day, Jesus and the disciples probably drank beer the same way; water wasn’t as safe back then as it is now, given the lack of filtration in large cities.  They also drank wine. Granted, it was fermented grape juice, so not exactly fancy stuff, but still.)

“He is living it up, like he's never going to die.” (Sounds like a guy who lives life rather than waiting to die, but that’s just me.)

“I am praying for his salvation and won't give up on him, but he has given up on himself. He's a key figure in his parish, St. Jude.” (Oh, well, there you go. The patron saint of lost causes. You were outmatched from the start.)

“I love Catholics as people; but I hate the cult of Catholicism!”

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?  -Irish

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

GI: Than Are Dreamt of in Your Philosophy

Gooooooood Evening, y'all.  Welcome once again to your daily nugget of mental nourishment that is Genius Idiocy.  In this edition, we explore the concept of thinking and using one's brain.  And thinking before opening one's mouth.

Or not...

Thinking for ourselves is quite dangerous..Would it not, rather, be prudent to seek the Lord and Live?”

In this case I agree with you.  Someone like you thinking for yourself could get us all killed.


“Newly-wed Roman Catholic couples are being encouraged to say a special prayer together before having sex.

The specially-composed Prayer Before Making Love is aimed at 'purifying their intentions' so the act is not about selfishness or hedonism.”

You’re right. God must have made a mistake by designing sex between consenting adults to be actually enjoyable. Good thing the Vatican came along to clear up the erratum


[From a pro-abstinence blog]

“When you play with fire, there is a 50/50 chance something will go wrong, and nine times out of ten it does.”

And I thought I was bad at math.


[Pope releases album for Christmas, litanies and chants in honor of the Virgin Mary.]

“What, pray tell, does MARY have to do with CHRISTmas??? They may as well just change the name to ‘MARYMAS’.”

Well, come on. You know the story. She had something to do with it.


Bonus Round!

“But to be fair, I think that in Atheism, you always have to rule out intelligent design and Creator. So, if you are an atheist looking at Mt. Rushmore, you must presume that the Presidents faces appeared as a result of purely natural causes.

While I think there are indeed very tough questions that we as Christians cannot answer, I think Atheism too has it's questions.”

Okay, gimme a minute here to pick myself up off the floor and catch my breath.  I want to try and say this with a straight face. 

First of all, yes: I completely agree with you that there are indeed tough questions that Christianity, Atheism, and many other religions cannot answer right now.  If you had said that at the beginning and simply shut up, you’d have been ahead of the game.


Sigh.  Gutzon Borglum, American artist and sculptor. Created Mount Rushmore by taking dynamite and blasting the hell out of the Black Hills over the course of fourteen years and inciting the ire of the Lakota Sioux in the process, to whom the government had originally ceded the land in perpetuity.   He was neither a God nor imaginary. 

And just FYI, none of the heads on Mount Rushmore can talk, either. --Irish

Friday, February 04, 2011

GI: Wuv and Mawiage

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Friday edition of Genius Idiocy, where your humble hostess (that's me) takes a big Ibuprofen and a cup of double espresso and heaves a ginormous sigh of relief. 

In today's story, an individual of questionable rhetoric and execrable knowledge of history postulates on both the meanings of "marriage" and "tolerance".  Maybe the Amazons had the right idea.

“I'm sorry, but the words marriage belong to the Christian religions, as do the words husband (a male) and a wife (a woman), and gay marriage is an infringement of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“Need more info on how the words marriage, husband and wife belong to the Christian religions, just send me an IM and I'll be happy to answer you.

“I stand for freedom of speech, and tolerance is a two-way street.”

Right. Okay. The Constitution, First Amendment:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Secondly, I do not think the word “word” means what you think it means. 

Marriage:  From the Latin Maritatus, in common use centuries before the Christian era. Also see Princess Bride,”mawaige”—just ‘cause it’s a fun movie.

Husband:  from the Norse "hus bondi" meaning head of the household. Chauvanistic, maybe. Etymologically sound, yes.

Wife: from the old High German "wib" or possibly Norse "vif". Found in various forms in pagan Europe (ie, before Christianity)

That's it for this week, kids. I'm gonna get an ice pack and lie down. I'm out.  --Irish

Thursday, February 03, 2011

GI: Tidbits of Terror

Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to today's edition of Genius Idiocy, where there are no points and no one gets a prize.  First up, a debate. On one side, an idiot. On the other, someone with more than two brain cells in his or her cranial cavity:

“Joaquin, ‘Allahu’ has to mean ‘Allah’, not God. The Muslim chant, which is what this is from, is to Allah, not God. “

["Andy, the word "Allahu" means in Arab "God". It comes from: Al-lâh. "Al" means "the" and "ilah" means "god""]

“Joaquin, I have an open mind about this, but Muslims chant to ‘Allahu’ and they're not chanting to ‘God’, but to ‘Allah’.”

Lather, rinse, repeat.


“Given that atheistic evolutionary thinking has engendered social Darwinism and given that the proponents of atheism have no rational basis for morality in their ideology, the immoral views that atheists often hold and the low per capita giving of American atheists is not unpredictable.”

I’ll take ‘incomprehensible’ for 1000, Alex.

And finally,

“It is very clever the way Twilight is sneeking into our children. Like the HP books where the parents sacrificed their children to the god of education (importance of reading).”

Yeah. It’d be a shame if they learned how to spell words like “sneaking”.  


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

GI: King of the Hill

Hi, everyone. Happy Tuesday, and welcome back to a fun-filled four days of Genius Idiocy.  Glad to have you along for the ride. 

Re: the Islam On Capitol Hill prayer event.  Enjoy.

“This makes me sick to my stomach that this will be happening. I wish thousands of Christians would come out that day and surround them. That would be awesome if that would happen. We need people to go there and pray to the real God! “

Well, it’s the same God, you know.  Yawheh, Allah, God…it’s the same guy.  Or girl.

“Even though America allows freedom of worship, this event should not be happening in this country! “

…Even though America allows freedom of worship. Right. Continue.

“This event is a desecration of our founding forefathers ideals and beliefs about America. God is not going to be pleased with this!”

See, there’s that thing again. Our founding fathers did not jumpstart America with the power cables of deism.  As for God, well…I’d guess He’s probably happy people talk to Him, wherever they may be.

“To those who think we should allow this because of religious you really think God would want us to appease them just because it's their right? “


“I say NO! God would not want us to compromise our faith! God was at the center of the creation of our country. This is an abomination to America. “

Once again: No.  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  The Constitution. Article I.

“Let the Islamics worship in their own mosques...not at the Capitol!!!”

Islamics?! They’re Muslims. If you’re going to insult someone, at least get the denomination right. And as for the rest of it, if someone said the same thing about banning your religion from a prayer event at the Capitol, you’d be screeching “discrimination”. 

But I will concede: such services should be held in an actual house of worship, not in a government building. 

That way, everyone can get pissed off about it. --Irish