“Don’t blame God for world’s heartaches”

May 7, 2011

Rev. Jeff Barnes of Newsong Fellowship Church has a piece in his local paper with the same title and it’s worth some comments from this peanut gallery.

The question that inevitably surfaces is, “Why doesn’t God keep all these bad things from happening?” Fair question. The answers is connected to human choice.

From the beginning, God gave humans the ability to make choices. However, He made it clear that our choices would have consequences. Ever since Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, there have been negative consequences. Just read the first three chapters of Genesis. There you will discover that a “curse” fell upon this world and upon the human race.

Sigh. This is one of the sadder concepts we’ve lived under thanks to the existence of Genesis and those who continue to believe it’s a true history of how humans came to be.

The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Let me compare this (Gen 2:16-17) with Gen 1:29:

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

Every plant and every tree will be yours for food. Every one of them.

Here’s a question that comes to mind: if this was the first version of this creation story, when did it get superseded by the second? Gen 1 just has God making everything, then a couple people in his image. And then he simply tells them that they have command over everything on earth and they should go forth and multiply.

By Gen 2, God’s suddenly being very specific about where Adam can live and what he can and can’t do there. God even makes the new tree rule before he makes Eve. It’s that important to Him. If this was meant to be an object lesson for humanity, what had humanity done by this point that compelled storytellers to alter and elaborate on the story?

The serpent slithers its way into the story at the start of Gen 3 and asks Eve if she’s familiar with the “Eat what you want unless you want THAT one” rule. Eve quotes the rule:

The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”

We’ll ignore the fact that this presupposes Eve already has a familiarity with the concept of death (how?) and would be actively trying to avoid it. The serpent pooh-poohs that notion and says (3:5)

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Whether you want to argue rebellion on her part (as the Rev. claims), or deception on the serpent’s part, Eve’s “sin” was wanting to be wise (3:6).

Unrelated, but I wonder if it’s ever been argued that Eve cheated, that real knowledge should come from the effort put in to get it and if she and Adam had worked to learn instead of taking the fast track, this mess could have been avoided. Maybe knowledge isn’t what needs to be avoided; impatience (rather than temptation) is where the problem lies.

Back to the Rev., who perpetuates the myth that Eve’s desire to learn cursed the planet.

It is this general curse that causes the earth to produce tornados, hurricanes, drought, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters. They are called “acts of God,” but they should be called “consequences of man.” The Bible reminds in Romans 8 that the whole earth is groaning, waiting to be delivered from the effects of the curse.

Right, because God created the world 6000 years ago and it was fault-free. Blame Eve for every earthquake and volcano ever since. Nice. Isn’t that some of the most ridiculous tripe ever to be published?

The truth, as anyone with sense and awareness of geology knows, the earth is way old and the whole reason we have mountains and volcanoes is because the tectonic plates that float on top of the magma have been rubbing up against each other for aeons. There were droughts, tsunamis and other natural disasters long before the first hominids roamed and no doubt the dinosaurs that preceded humanity found them to be problematic, too. Are we still debating what caused their end? Was it an asteroid or volcanoes or a combination of both?

In the same way, this curse has fallen upon humanity as well. Things like cancer, viruses, birth defects, unnatural sexual urges, mental disorders and the like can be traced back to the distorting effects of the curse.

I would love to see how.

I think this is long enough as is, so I’m going to stop here. I shall disassemble that bit of lunacy in a second post later today.


New bodies await us in heaven? How could Billy Graham know that?

April 28, 2011

Here’s the question this time around:

I’m confused, because on Easter our pastor said that not only will our souls go to be with God, but we’ll also be given new bodies in heaven. Is this in the Bible? Why would we need new bodies there? — C.D.

I had to look this up because it’s an odd concept. What heavenly reason would there to have a corporeal form there? After death, isn’t the soul supposedly all that’s left? Would these bodies have to eat or sleep or anything? How can anyone even state as a fact that we’d get a new one?

A quick Google netted me a list of bible verses somebody put together “proving” this is the case.

Although we do not know exactly what our new bodies will be like, we know that they will be like Jesus. 1 John 3:2-3

Which one, the one on the pizza or the chewing gum?

According to the list, those who believe this bunk can look forward to being incorruptible, glorified, spiritual, eternal and powerful. Is it fair to say these people want to die so they can become gods in their own image?

We should earnestly desire to be clothed in our heavenly bodies. 2 Co 5:1-5

We should be confident and walk by faith not by sight, knowing that while we are at home in this body, we are absent from the Lord. 2 Co 5:6-7

Therefore, we should make it our goal to please God. 2 Co 5:6-11

We should eagerly wait with perseverance for the redemption of our bodies, even though we cannot see them now. Ro 8:23-25

We should seek insight and desire to lead others to God so that they, too, can be partake in God’s righteousness. Dan 12:2-3

We should keep our focus on the better resurrection – even to the point of receiving torture. Heb 11:35

We should be ready to suffer for Christ. Ro 8:16-20

The last three are the most alarming and troubling. I think these people are working under a delusion and encouraging more people to buy into it with them will cause nothing but trouble.

Graham’s response to this letter is to remind people that Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan into being sinful and punished them with death. It’s worth pointing out, however, that Adam supposedly lived to the ripe old age of 930 (Genesis 5:5) so God must have really punished him with life. Since all we are supposed to want is death and resurrection by his side forever, making Adam wait so long for that “gift” was particularly cruel and very much in line with the vengeful behaviour of the Old Testament God in general. Assuming those early Hebrews actually thought that was the life that awaited them after death. Did they? I know they had the concept of Sheol, a world of the dead, but their early idea of heaven doesn’t look like it has anything to do with the way Christians later defined it as a reward for service.

According to Graham, we have to have bodies in heaven to better serve Jesus (Revelation 22:3). What, I ask you, would we have to serve Jesus, a cookie? A volleyball? What possible needs would he have? He walked (Lk 24:15-16) so he can get up off his ass and get his own damn cookie.

So much explaining winds up going into these stories of the afterlife, but what’s the motivation to having them in the first place, to impress? To reassure? To make people who’ve never had a good life feel more relieved that it’s finally over? What about all the people who already lived a life of servitude and learn more of that is their reward for it? Thanks for all the good work, now do more and be happy to do it? Living to serve sounds bad enough, but now you don’t even get a break when you’re dead.

Craziness.


Billy Graham and the one-sided view of spirituality

February 18, 2011

Yeah, it’s that (impossible to predict) time again, where I find a letter to Billy Graham and share my thoughts about his so-called advice.

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Someone loaned me a book that says that if you strongly believe something good is going to happen to you, then it will. Do you agree with this? The book seems very spiritual and even quotes the Bible some, although the author doesn’t really say anything about Jesus. — E.G.

Ask and ye shall receive… a diatribe on the stupidity that was The Secret. Rhonda Byrne hit the jackpot with that video and resulting book deal. She wasn’t even original. She nicked the whole idea from an earlier positive thinking manual called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Personally, I doubt the universe owes us any favours nor is capable of caring about the fact that we might think it does. The universe is what it is and we are merely beings within it.

Spirituality is an interesting notion, though, and I recall the vocal atheist, Sam Harris, has given a nod to spirituality in the past. It’s not the sole property of one faith or belief system. It can be the state achieved by a very relaxed mind in some cases, if one should decide to call that feeling a spiritual one. Not everyone would.

Onto Graham:

DEAR E.G.: Although you don’t mention the book’s title, I hope you won’t be misled by what it seems to be teaching. Nowhere in the Bible does God promise to give us anything we want, if we’ll just believe strongly enough.

You 100% sure about that? Hmm…

Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

(see more of those)

What we want may not be God’s will for us, and God’s will is always best.

Be on your guard also against any teaching that sounds good on the surface but leaves Jesus out of the picture. Why do some authors omit him? I don’t know the reason in this case, but often it’s because they deny that our most basic problem is our sin and believe instead that we have the power within ourselves to solve our problems.

I think it’s actually because most of us do figure out ways to solve our own problems, and at a very early age. We cry until someone does what we want. We learn to move so we can get around obstacles in our way. We learn to speak so we can ask for things we need instead of crying for them. We go to school and learn more ways to think and solve problems. We approach our jobs and our lives with a skill set we’ve developed since birth and I’d hope that most of us find enough success with problem solving to continue working and living until we can work and live no more.

Sin is such a generic term and it winds up being used to define anything or any behaviour individuals don’t like, and for such a wide variety of reasons. It also tends to be heavily subjective (even when many agree to call the same things “sinful”) and not always useful as an idea that will encourage growth or change.

But sin cuts us off from God, and it also weakens us and makes us unable to change our lives. Only Christ can take away our sins and change our hearts, and he will, as we humble ourselves and turn our lives over to him. The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I guess he’s not contradicting me completely, but I disagree with his suggestions. I’d never suggest religion as a necessary step to avoid human error and bad judgment. Religions tend to permit dubious behaviours that would never get a pass in any other arena. I could pick on Catholic priests here, or Muslim extremists, or Christian fundamentalists or any other group that can justify cruelty as a holy means to an end. We can’t change that belief/thought pattern/behaviour because it’s traditional and it’s in an old book we can quote verbatim and because God said so and nyer nyer nyer…

Don’t be misled by those who claim you can have spiritual power apart from God or Christ. Instead, by faith turn to Jesus Christ and commit your life to him. Then begin following him, and not those who urge you to take a different path.

I’m actually surprised Graham doesn’t end this by urging E.G. to cajole and witness to the friend who passed the unnamed book over and make that person into a Jesus-lover, too. I think it’s odd to see the man admit to the reality of other paths at all.

I say be Buddhist if you want. Be Hindu. Be a pagan. Be atheist if it suits you. Be Christian if you think that’s your best bet (but don’t be thinking Pascal’s Wager is the way to prove it). Be whatever will give you the best life you can get.


I like this headline: “Caught between God and Gomorrah”

January 12, 2011

It’s out of the National Post regarding a court case in Saskatchewan that involves religious marriage commissioners and whether or not they can use that excuse to refuse to perform gay marriages. Short answer, they can’t.

Gay rights always trump religious rights when the two come into conflict. In the case of Toronto printer Scott Brockie, for instance, Mr. Brockie refused a print job from a gay and lesbian organization. In a 1999 ruling, the province’s human rights commission concluded and a federal court concurred that while Mr. Brockie was “free to hold his religious beliefs and to practise them in his home, and in his Christian community,” but no Charter right protected his actions in business or in the public square.

Earlier in the case of the Saskatchewan marriage commissioners, that province’s human rights commission ruled the provincial government was under no obligation to accommodate commissioners’ religious beliefs. Less well reported, though, was a suggestion by the Saskatchewan court that the provincial government devise a system that accommodates both sides. The justices recommended that couples seeking civil ceremonies be required to seek a commissioner through the provincial government, rather than approaching an individual commissioner directly.

Part of me wants to gripe and say these people should have to do their job regardless of their personal thoughts on the morality of the relationship but the article goes on to add the court’s suggestion — taking a provincial route to find an available commissioner would ensure the couple gets one that won’t quote Leviticus at them. Sounds like a win-win idea to me.

The trouble for commissioners is that they are not religious officials; their role is legally defined as strictly nonreligious. One should not have to be ordained to have his religious freedoms protected. However, if someone signs on to perform a secular function under authority granted solely by the state, he or she should not be entirely surprised if the state’s objectives end up conflicting with his or her own.

There is no religious aspect to the commissioner’s licence, which is why the court’s reasonable accommodation suggestion is, well, reasonable. Let’s hope the Saskatchewan government has the good sense to act on it.

I bold that bit because I think that’s what’s important to remember here. People want to run around thinking marriage is somehow god’s property and can only exist the way they think their god wants it when it’s really a government-approved contract. Isn’t that why people sign marriage certificates, to make the partnership legally binding?

One other thing:

Homosexuality can not be called one of the sins of Sodom, Gomorrah or Gilbeah since it is not in any of the lists of their sins given in the O.T. Ezekiel 16:48-50 lists the specific sins of Sodom as pride, plenty, laziness, uncaring for needy, haughty and worshipping idols – which was an abomination – not homosexuality.

I quote from this site. The full list of sins attributed to Sodom can be found here.


Gay Mormons have it rough

October 25, 2010

..um.. maybe I should rethink that title. That winds up sounding kinkier than I intended. But I’m sure it got your attention, which is a good thing because an article I read focused on the fact that gays are treated very unfairly by the Mormon belief system. Elder Boyd K. Packer, one of the top dogs, had said a lot of dismal things about homosexuality in a sermon on Oct. 3, near the time all those boys committed suicide on account of bullying.

Utah’s gay rights activists, some with roots in Mormonism, were quick to draw a connection to their own situation. They say the painful isolation that some gays and lesbian experience can lead to suicide. Anecdotes about the suicides of gay Mormons from Affirmation’s website, posts on the PrideinUtah blog and other sites seem to support the contention.

“It’s an enormous problem, especially in Utah,”said Eric Ethington, who runs the PrideinUtah blog.

Mormon church officials take issue with the characterizations made by gay rights activists.

“It is disappointing when some try to use an emotional issue such as suicide to misrepresent the role of the church in the lives of its members,” said Mormon church spokesperson Kim Farah, in response to Ethington.

But when you have leaders of your church vocally condemning the gay lifestyle, it’s hardly a misrepresentation of your faith to say your faith has problems accepting gays. If your faith can’t do it, then a lot of the followers aren’t going to do it. Even if they would never in their lifetimes physically assault or mentally abuse people they know (or suspect) are gay, they aren’t speaking up and supporting gay rights, either, are they?

In decades past, church leaders had preached that homosexual feelings were a sin and sometimes ordered up prescriptions of vigilant prayer, marriage or reparative therapy to resist or reverse those feelings.

The rhetoric has softened since the 1990s, although the church has remained politically active in campaigns to prevent legalizing gay marriage in California and elsewhere. The church now differentiates between feelings and actions, with disciplinary action or excommunication limited to those engaging in homosexual relationships.

Celibate gays can remain active in church callings and retain full membership, including performing sacred Mormon rites in church temples. Church leaders have counselled the faithful followers to reach out to gay Mormons with compassion and love.

“Their struggle is our struggle,” said Otterson.

But you only want them if they promise never to do anything gay. How is that even remotely considered to be compassionate and loving? It beats the hell out of me why gays would even want to remain with a church, let alone this one.


Have you missed Billy Graham? Me neither..

September 11, 2010

Still, I felt compelled to see what tripe he replied to lately because I’m craving a desire to mock something.

If Jesus rose from the dead (which I gather Christians believe happened), then where is he now? Could he be living in some far corner of the world, and someday he’ll reveal himself again? I don’t have a church background, but I’ve always been curious about this. — D.N.

Never thought to check Wikipedia, did you?

In Christianity the Resurrection of Jesus refers to the return to bodily life of Jesus three days after his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology. The Resurrection of Jesus is not to be confused with the Ascension of Jesus into heaven forty days after the resurrection.

Clicking the link provided in the quote, you learn that Christ supposedly resides in heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father, but the Epistle to the Ephesians puts him even higher than that. The forty day thing is debatable, too, if one reads the Gospel of Luke literally, as he provides no information regarding how much time passed between the empty tomb prank and Christ buggering off. It could have been the same day as far as Luke is concerned. As a feast, Ascension Day has been a bit of a party since the 300s.

When I see Ascension Day written down or talked about anywhere, I just think of the Mayor of Sunnydale, myself. That was no party.

But anyway, onto Billy Graham’s answer.

DEAR D.N.: No event in human history was as important as what took place during the final days of Jesus’ public ministry: his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.

Oh, I can think of a lot of more important things – discovery of fire, invention of the television (thank you Science, and what has the Vatican done for you lately?), the toaster, tape. Tape should actually be first, given the nature of my job and how many things can be fixed with it. Indoor plumbing, discovery of the wheel, invention of Wheel of Fortune…

Why is this? The reason is because these two events — Jesus’ death and resurrection — were God’s way of bringing salvation to the human race. By nature we are lost and separated from God because of our sin, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t cleanse ourselves of our sins or make ourselves pure in God’s sight.

What really bothers me about this kind of thinking is how people bring this kind of thinking into the lives of their children and what kind of guilt they must ultimately be creating in the hearts and minds of their children. Kids have a hard enough time staying on the right side of what parents want as it is without their folks bringing some invisible force with an eternal doom for disobeying into the mix on top of it. Telling kids on a daily basis that they’ll always be sinners, never be pure, never be good enough unless they perform all the right bloody rituals to please an apathetic deity.. there’s a reason people like Richard Dawkins liken indoctrination to child abuse.

But God loves us in spite of our sin, and on the cross all our sins were placed on Jesus — the sinless son of God — and he took upon himself the judgment we deserve. And by his resurrection he conquered sin and death and hell, and opened heaven’s doors for us. His disciples could say with boldness that “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact” (Acts 2:32).

If Jesus really conquered sin, why the hell do people continue to worry and fret over it? Why do they pray to avoid sin? Why insist people have priests and pastors on hand for death bed conversions? Why keep making people feel guilty about being people? IT starts to look like whatever Christianity might claim now was Christ’s reason for getting hung up in the first place, it wasn’t enough of a sacrifice.

Where is Jesus now? Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus was taken up into heaven, and now he sits at the right hand of God (i.e., in the place of authority and favor). And someday he will return to destroy all evil and establish his kingdom. But Jesus also resides in the heart of every believer, by his spirit.

I don’t mind that people want to believe the spirit thing. If it makes them feel cherished and loved in a dark and dirty world, who am I to call them deluded? Everyone has a coping mechanism and embracing faith is one of the easiest ways to do so. Everyone needs hopes and dreams, too, and if they find peace in the idea that someday Christ will come back and sort the world out properly, I guess that’s fine, too.

What’s not fine is how evil winds up being defined, as everyone who isn’t the Chosen Few. Evil is also every thought or act that doesn’t mesh with what authorities within that faith have told the Chosen Few are the only thoughts or acts permitted. And sure, the Chosen Few claim they want to save everyone, but do they really? Could they possibly? I’ve seen the stupid stats kept by the Joshua Project. It’s ridiculous to think they could change the hearts and minds of an entire world and ludicrous to think they have the right to push their religion into countries and cultures that have done well enough without it. By and large, they need food more than they need a different faith.

How to end this.. believe what you want, but leave room in your head somewhere for the very real probability that your beliefs aren’t any more right than somebody else’s, no matter how good and just and worthy they happen to make you feel.


Natural disasters are the fault of humans? Sinful humans!

August 17, 2010

To be fair, some disasters would result in lesser devastation if thousands of people weren’t crammed onto islands prone to flooding, but never you mind. Sin is the problem and God is taking it out on the Philippines because we’re such horrible human beings.

Millions of people in the devoutly Catholic Philippines believe God is punishing humans for their evil deeds by inflicting environmental catastrophes on them, a survey published Monday showed.

Twenty one percent of people believe God is unleashing his wrath with landslides, typhoons and other disasters that regularly hit the country, according to the survey carried out by polling group Pulse Asia.

More than 80 percent of the nation’s 92 million people are Catholic, a legacy of its Spanish colonial past.

But the number of people attributing the disasters to God’s wrath is declining, from 23 percent in a similar survey carried out two years ago, amid a growing sense that humans themselves are directly to blame.

Yeah, humans probably are to blame for some global warming issue stuff, but didn’t I see an article somewhere that claimed Mars was in the middle of a heat wave, as well? Well, 2007 isn’t quite recent, but it’ll do.

In 2005 data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide “ice caps” near Mars’s south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.

Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.

“The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars,” he said.

Not much a surprise to these eyes. I’ve always tended to assume much of what goes on with the earth is supposed to be going on. It’s just that we’re finally in a position as a species to take notice of periods of climate upheaval because we’ve been capable of tracking such things for a while now, albeit not as quickly or easily in the past as we currently manage.

I think if there are things human beings can do to reduce whatever additional effect we’re having, we should be doing them. But I also think it’s faulty to assume it’s all our fault, whether we think there’s a god around to punish us for our “sins” or not.


Why would temptation be a sin?

July 23, 2010

I’ve wound up answering Billy Graham’s mail again, but only because this question is such a good one. I’m not even going to quote what Graham said in response to it, as a matter of fact. His “Blame the Devil!” answer to this question is fucking moronic.

Dear Rev. Graham: I gave my life to Jesus at a summer church camp two years ago, but why do I still have temptations? I thought those would go away when I accepted Jesus, but they haven’t. — P.D.

Dear P.D., I’m trying to think of the easiest way to explain this. Jesus is not the last meal you’ll ever need to eat. He’s not your last breath. He’s not your last drink of water. He’s not your last good roll in the hay. He’s certainly not your last good spliff afterward. The Jesus you think you know today isn’t even the one people think existed. The Jesus you think you know today is a product of a very weird and corrupted, religiously inspired, but politically motivated reorganization of an earlier civilization that once held sway over the known world — the Romans.

I don’t want to get into Constantine and all those old boys, actually. I want to write about Jesus and the Gospels. Those four books attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were assembled years after the man died, and contain only the stories of Jesus that people thought were important enough to write down. Why else are whole swaths of the man’s life missing from them? He’s born, and then suddenly he’s in his 30s, pissing off teachers and tax people.

If he truly lived, what else did he do with his life? Nobody knows. Nobody will ever know. All we’ve got is what people saw fit to remember about him. And each book “remembers” it differently, besides. This is because the stories changed over the years with the telling – either bits were added, or let go, or rearranged to make an old prophecy fit, or made up all together to make the man look mystical and otherworldly. The books evolved as the nature of Christianity evolved. If you really go through and compare the Gospels, it’s a wonder anyone has any clear idea about that man at all.

So, let’s get back to this temptation idea. Why would anyone assume taking Christ into their lives would suddenly expunge a very real human need to..well, need?

We need things. We’re always going to need things. Sustenance. People. Love. Dreams. Ambition. Wisdom. Patience. Kindness. Loyalty. Pick a virtue, any virtue – we’re going to need it at some point. Temptation isn’t always about wanting what you can’t or shouldn’t have, after all. There’s nothing wrong with wanting these things, and wanting to encompass these things for the benefit of other people.

Switching gears now, I want to make a point about the Garden of Eden story, since Graham felt it necessary to bring the devil into this in the first place.

It’s cruel that those early story tellers (and people today) blame Eve for the fruit when God is the one who put it there, and God is the one who sent the snake who suggested it. If God truly knew everything, then everything that came to pass had to happen just as it’s told. That mythical eviction from Eden had to happen so humanity could grow up and become wise. We should not be ignorant children for all of time, because clearly the God of the Old Testament didn’t want that for His children. And we should not want to be children anymore, no matter how big a comfort it may be to let others make our decisions for us. We can’t grow to become all we can and should be if we never take the opportunity to learn.

This quest for knowledge and the drive to understand everything and the need to be curious about everything else as yet not understood is so vital to human development. It’s a real shame that people want to treat it like a sin. You should not want to know so don’t be tempted to question the world around you.

When was that ever good advice? Why was it advice at all? What good can that kind of lesson be for a people? Take what I tell you as the absolute truth and do as I say, always. That’s next door to slavery, to my mind. No, I’ll rephrase. That’s slavery. That’s domination over people, control of mind and heart and body without allowing for freedom of ideas and innovation to change them in any way.

Why would anyone desire that kind of life, let alone pray for it to be that way for others?

Also, there’s a big difference between deciding to say no to temptation and being told the only answer available is no. Religions want to take the concept of choice away entirely because many religions apparently don’t trust their followers to decide the “right” answer on their own.

I wonder if it’s because they know that they’re not always right; if they take the choice away to question things, it’s easier for them to retain that misguided and deluded view of the world as it stands today — a world they seldom make welcome.

If they truly came out and admitted they were flawed institutions based on other flawed ideas and assumptions..well, it probably wouldn’t change anything, sadly. People will still believe what they want to be believe.

But maybe they’d earn a little respect in the process, though. Yeah, we’re as fucked up as anyone else and have no right to be leading the world, let alone be demanding that you join us, but if you still want to hang out with us, thanks in advance, love the Holy See…

Too much to hope for, I suppose.


Madonna is “a stain on humanity and offensive to God”

December 11, 2008

But please, Cardinal. Tell us what you really think.

Madonna performed in Santiago on the Latin American leg of her Sticky and Sweet Tour to promote her album “Hard Candy.”

“The atmosphere in our city is pretty agitated because this woman is visiting and with incredibly shameful behavior provokes a wild and lustful enthusiasm,” Cardinal Jorge Medina told the congregation.

“Thoughts of lust, impure thoughts, impure acts, are an offense to God and a dirty stain on our heart,”

Those poor Catholics. I’m sure Madonna puts on a very entertaining show for everyone else who won’t have to confess sins of the mind and penis later.

I don’t care for her overly hyper-sexed displays, myself. I think they’re tacky. Same goes for the Pussycat Dolls. When women have real talent, they shouldn’t be thinking they have to slut themselves on stage to get noticed and appreciated. Don’t assume I mean the Pussycat Dolls have talent. All they’ve got are tits, asses, and moronic lyrics nobody actually pays attention to because they’re just there to watch the girls gyrate and shake their shit. I wish women didn’t believe that was the only way to advertise themselves, that’s all.

At least Madonna puts semi-naked men to work on stage sometimes. Equal rights for sexism and all that. Way to go, girlfriend.

I get amused by rumours of how prudish she is with regards to her daughter, Lourdes. She banned her from dating, apparently, and doesn’t want her acting either.

I think I can actually commend her for that. I don’t think kids have to start dating when they’re fourteen either and if Madonna doesn’t want to see her child ruined by the stress of Hollywood fame, I don’t blame her. Lourdes has enough trouble dealing with the fallout from her mother’s life. She’s also embarrassed by mom’s sweatshirt collection, funnily enough, but as one commenter remarks,

Lourdes should be glad that she wasn’t her 11 or 12 yr old daughter back in the early 1990s, when Madonna would parade around at parties, awards shows, and performances in that John Galliano cone-shaped bra she made so famous…among her other leather creations from that era. (Now THAT is embarassing, imho, more so than designer yoga pants & tees.)

Maybe Madonna would like to see her daughter do something else with her life rather than spend it in front of an audience. It’s nice to see a parent put her foot down for a change, frankly. Look how damaged Lindsay Lohan wound up because Dina probably wanted the fame and flashing lights more than Lindsay did and now she’s riding the wave of her other daughter’s budding film career.

Anyway, back to Cardinal Stickypants and religious righteousness. I think overtly sexualized performances don’t add anything useful to advertising or entertainment but by no means am I going to applaud the Cardinal’s carnal sin angle. There’s nothing wrong with sex and sexuality. It’s all natural — except those people who want sex with children and horses. What the fuck is up with that?

It’s too bad the Church is so insistent on being pure of body and soul. Maybe if they let their priests get married and let them fuck like bunnies, there wouldn’t be so many secrets for church leaders to conceal. Or, do more screening for sexual predators before giving them cassocks loose enough to hide inappropriate erections. The Pope claims to be ashamed of what goes on, but who knows what he’d been doing before he got elected and how many priests he helped move to avoid scandals.

I think a lot of mental anguish comes out of misguided beliefs about what sex and sexuality are. Having people you respect telling you it’s sinful to even think about it, let alone do it? They encourage and support lies about masterbation and original sin and other fuckwittery about natural human urges to eat and hoard and brag. Why do they do that? So they can have more reasons to punish ordinary human beings for doing what ordinary human beings will naturally want to do? The standards of holy perfection are beyond humanity’s grasp and they know that. It’s set that high for a reason – because it can never be achieved. And the more people try and fail, the more they can blame themselves for inadequacy and sinful behaviours and beg for forgiveness. Let them hope for it but never allow them achieve it.

And people wonder why church attendance is down.


Christian copper canned

December 9, 2008

Once again someone’s claiming that his faith gives him the right to be homophobic.

The Christian policeman sacked after a row over gay rights has told how his dismissal after 15 years in the force has ‘devastated’ his family.

As The Mail on Sunday revealed in the summer, Graham Cogman objected to being ‘bombarded’ at work by emails and posters promoting events such as Gay History Month.

He responded to the ‘politically correct’ campaign by sending emails to colleagues quoting Biblical texts suggesting that homosexual sex was sinful.

A better approach might just have been to ask people not to send him anything unrelated to work. But, no. He had to take a bigoted stance instead and now he’s whining about unfair treatment?

He admitted he had ‘stupidly’ breached a ban by using the internal communications system to post a link to an American Christian organisation, but said the force’s decision to sack him was ‘harsh and disproportionate’.

Mr Cogman, 50, accused the police service of becoming so sensitive to the rights of gays that Christians could no longer safely express their views.

Well gee. What to say to that. Your views are fucked, that’s what to say to that. We need to promote equality and freedoms and human rights and gays have the right to protest and picket and love and live and have sex with their partners just like everyone else can.

Speaking at his home in Sea Palling, Norfolk, which he shares with his wife Elaine, 46, and his two children, Mr Cogman said: ‘In the service in general there is a feeling of fear. There is a definite bias against faith – any faith – if it takes a critical view of homosexual sex.

‘The easy option for me would have been to keep quiet but when there is such prejudice towards one point of view, how can that be right? That doesn’t sound like equality and diversity to me.

If they were threatening to sack every Christian just for being Christian, I’d agree with him. But he was proselytizing on the job. Work is not the place to be doing that. If he didn’t want to wear a ribbon or rainbow to support gay rights, he had the right to skip doing it. There’s no law saying a person must wear a ribbon when the occasion calls for it. He could have explained why he wouldn’t wear them but he had no right at all to start preaching about sin and damnation. You can be a practicing Christian without pushing it into people’s faces and insisting they all think like you do. That’s not promoting equality or diversity either.

At the misconduct hearing, overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, a panel found that Mr Cogman had ignored an order banning him from using the police computer system and had failed to treat a colleague with politeness and respect.

Mr Cogman said: ‘I felt physically sick when I heard the ruling. If I hadn’t posted that link I would still have a job. That was my downfall, my stupidity, however you want to put it. But my intention was to help.’

But what they do is none of your fucking business, dude. They don’t want your help, they don’t need your help.

You did not lose your job because you’re a Christian. You lost it because you were behaving inappropriately in a work environment and you had been warned to quit what you were doing and you didn’t. Preach on your own time, not work time. The only people who should be preaching when they’re working are preachers. Everyone else should resist the temptation, no matter how right we think we are.


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