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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Thanks to Travellinbaen for letting me publish the post below on his most interesting site called Missing The Ground.

Mac’s discussion on belief, science, and religion in general got me to thinking about the Bible. Here in the Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt, you can walk out your front door and, within half a block, find someone who believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God.

Most of these folks know that the Bible is not one book, but rather a collection of 66 books. Some of those folks will know that the 66 books were written over a period of about 1600 years. A much smaller subset of those folks will know the complex process by which the Bible came to be the Bible. But if more knew about that process and the disagreement that still exists, they might not take a stance that can only be described as Bible worship – acting as if the Bible itself were God, which breaks the very first commandment.

Imagine the scene. It’s 1547, one year after the Council of Trent (Catholic Church) has announced, “By God, these are the real books of the Bible and not what you Protestants say are the real books of the Bible. And we’re inspired by God in making these choices and you Protestants aren’t.” (See the problem already?)

It’s a small village outside the city of Mainz in what is now Germany. A Lutheran (Protestant) minister walks up to a peasant laboring in the field.

“Pardon me, sir, I’m Pastor Heinrich, a Lutheran minister. How are you this fine day?”

The peasant looks up from his plowing. “Fine. Well, other than the fact that I’m bound to this land for the duration of my natural life.” (Despite their German nationality, these characters talk like something from Monty Python.)

“I won’t keep you from your work. I just wanted to ask you if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. So, have you?”

“No, sir. My Lord and Savior is right over there. You see the tree branch that’s a little crooked but then points straight up to the heavens? That’s my Lord.”

“A tree branch? You mean to say you worship a stick?”

“Yes, sir. I read about it in an ancient writing that a traveler brought to me. The text says, ‘Behold the tree branch that pointeth toward me, which is to say, upward, toward the sky; definitely not down toward the ground. It’ll probably be on an elm, but maybe an oak – most assuredly on a deciduous tree. That much I know for sure. And everything written here is true. Oh, and I don’t mean to be such a bother, but if you don’t believe this writing, you’ll burn in a lake of fire suffering unimaginable pain for all of eternity. Now that we have that out of the way, I love you and you need to love others. And keep watch for the upward pointing stick…on an elm, or maybe an oak.’

When I read that passage, I knew this particular tree branch was the living incarnation of God.”

“Pointeth? Your ancient text uses the language of the King James Bible?”

“Well, sir, the King James Bible won’t be written for at least another 50 years from now, but I understand that for purposes of this ridiculous skit, the man pecking out our words on a keyboard is more interested in humor than being factually correct.”

“Quite right, but surely you don’t believe in a stick?”

“Why shouldn’t I? It was written down in an old scroll. Very authoritative looking.”

“What’s the name of this old scroll?

“The Book of Rick.”

“The Book of Rick? What a pathetic, unimaginative name.”

“Well, how do you know your Bible is real then?”

“Because it says so in the Book of John.”

“The Book of John? That’s a quite common name now, isn’t it? I don’t know why I should believe a John, but not a Rick.”

“Stop quibbling. This Bible is the inerrant word of God.”

“Dear Learned Minister, you see nothing circular about asserting the truth of a book because the book says it’s true? If I went on that assumption, I’d be worshipping that tree branch as well as your Jesus Christ and some guy named Allah. And who’s got time to do all that worshipping? A man would be up all night trying to work a full day and then get in some worshipping to all those folks.”

The peasant continues, “And when you say ‘this Bible,’ are you talking about the one with the books with those weird names like Esdras and Maccabee?”

“Oh, heavens, no. Those books are not holy and inspired like, say, Obadiah and Malachi.”

“But the Catholic Church says they are inspired. And the Catholic Church uses them.”

“Yeah, well, what do they know? The great giant Martin Luther judged those books to be inadequate.”

“But they were in the Bible for centuries. Why would your God allow people to read those books for centuries believing them to be part of the Holy Word only to have them chunked out by this Luther fellow?”

“You sure seem to know a lot for a 16th century feudal peasant.”

“Feudalism ended about 100 years ago.”

“But you’re still working your poor body to death and living in a hovel. Worshipping a tree branch to boot. What’s the difference?”

“Ah, now I’m no longer a glorified slave. Now I’m a small business. I’m told that if I work hard and don’t cause trouble, great wealth will trickle down to me.”

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1. Scorned women designed urinals, which is the only explanation for the ridiculously engineered, splash-inducing angles and contours.

2. You can’t love jazz but hate wind chimes. And vice versa.

3. There should be a cosmic safe word. People who engage in sex games have a safe word (or so I’m told) when things get uncomfortable or go too far. Well, I want one for life. I want to be able to shout out, for example, “Job!” and make things ease up for a while. By the way, that’s “Job” from the Bible, not a scream for employment. I have a job. It often causes me to shout, “Job!”

4. Chubby should be fashionable.

5. People on Facebook have to quit telling me how much they love God. These are the same people who were hell-bent on destruction back in high school and college. Declaring to your 937 friends how great God is may be a sure-fire redemption strategy, but, dammit, why should I have to be bothered with it?

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Now before you Republicans get mad at this topic, please note that I wrote a similar post for the Democrats as well. So, here we go — the Top 10 statements that I guarantee will make conservatives angry.

Honorable Mention: “Bill and Hillary Clinton are just good people.”

10. “Lucretia, once I cash my welfare check, let’s head to the casino.”

9. “John and Fred, I now pronounce you husband and……..husband.”

8. “Auburn Moonlight, after your abortion, remember to finish your homework for your class ‘Feminism And Why White Men Suck.'”

7. “This wind is phenomenally strong.  It could really mess up a person’s perfectly combed hair.”

6. “I just think we need to raise taxes.”

5. “I read the Bible sometimes. I also read the Quran.  They’re all the same.”

4. “The Secretary of Defense has announced that the military will be used to intervene in a conflict that does not involve oil or killing Muslims. It does involve saving poor black Africans.”

3. “How about we put a childproof trigger on that handgun?”

2. “Look, son, light the American flag on the corners so that the flames really kick up.”

1. “Ronald Reagan was a sorry president.  He certainly was no Jimmy Carter.”

Feel free to leave your own.

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Someone forwarded this email to me.  It’s from a 83-year old widow woman from Iowa who met McCain while he was campaigning there recently.  It has to be all true because it was in an email and no one would ever spread lies via email about a presidential candidate; such an act would be wrong. Please pass it along because it shows 100%, unequivocally how evil McCain is and why he must not win the presidency.

Dear Quilting Bee Members:

I’m barely able to type this email to you because my broken fingers have not yet fully healed.  When Sen. McCain was visiting our fair city a month ago, he came by my house for a photo opportunity.  As you all know, my husband was a highly decorated battle captain in Korea who died fighting off a complete regimen of North Koreans while attempting to save a downed American Air Force pilot who looked a lot like William Holden.  In fact, my husband was the inspiration for the movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri, so everything I say must be doubly true and repeated early and often.  Also, please put it on the Internet because those people will believe anything.

Sen. McCain came into my living room with an entourage of photographers and was very kind.  Then the photographers left and he said to me, “Well, now that I’ve used you for my campaign, I’ll see you later c**t.”  I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked him to repeat what he said and he yelled back, “Shut up, you old hag.  Where’s your crapper?  I’m going to drop a couple of bombs myself and then get out of this hellhole.”

I was shocked that this man who had been so kind while the photographers were around was now being so rude, so I asked him politely to leave.  That’s when he just went ballistic.  He knocked over three of my lamps, broke a couple of my best china pieces, and then took my dead husband’s Medal of Honor and said he was going to have it melted down and made into something called a “cock ring.”  I don’t know what that is, but I didn’t like the sound of it.

As if all that weren’t enough, he then said not only was he going to have his SUV do doughnuts in my front yard killing all of my petunias, he was also going to run over my kittens one by one.  When I raised my hands to stop him, he broke all my fingers while laughing at me as I screamed in pain.  As he was leaving, he said, “You know granny, the funny thing is I hate America.  I hate the flag. I hate the troops. I hate guns and I love abortion.  Also, when I become president, we’re going to make Spanish the official language of the U.S. and I’m going to trade arms to Hezbollah so they can destroy Israel.  Finally, I don’t believe in God.  See ya, you old battle ax.”  He then defecated on our family Bible, and wiped himself with the Book of Deuteronomy.

So, fellow quilting bee members, please pass this along to as many people as you can.  Every word is true. This man must be stopped.

Sincerely,

Eugenia Hogwollop, Sioux City, IA

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As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:9, there is nothing new under the sun. For those of you who know me, or are getting to know me from reading this blog, you’ll see a constant theme in what I say about economics and, by extension, about politics in its role in shaping economic policy.  The theme is that I am a capitalist, but I don’t believe corporations should be allowed to make a profit off the backs of consumers by unlawful means.  I also don’t believe profit should be made simply for profit’s sake.  There’s something missing to that proposition.

Well, given to my general ignorance of economics, I didn’t know, until today, that Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations essentially said the same thing.  Smith’s exact quote is, “every man, so long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with any other man.” (Emphasis added.)  So, I wasn’t thinking anything new (I never claimed I was), but I certainly didn’t realize that one of the great champions of the free market had inserted as a precondition to the existence of that free market the requirement that the law of justice be upheld.  This is the part that was news to me.

There’s a growing movement called spiritual capitalism in which this notion of bettering society in the process of bettering your bottom line is becoming increasingly prevalent. As the author notes, Adam Smith’s book is titled “The Wealth of Nations not The Wealth of Individuals.”

The article is a great read and I highly recommend it. For business owners, and I now include myself as one, perhaps we should keep an eye on our customers’ needs as much as we do on what we can charge and/or sell to those customers.

Even looking at it cynically, loyal customers usually means returning customers which usually means more profit.  So, by engaging in capitalism with an eye toward not only what’s lawful, but also what’s right for the customer, businesses can reap benefits not only for themselves but for society — and we’ll all be the better for it.

Sound utopian?  Well, no less of a figure than Adam Smith would disagree with you.

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Never one to shy away from the controversial, I just thought I’d throw out a quick Molotov cocktail to the more conservative folks out there.  I’m not against gay marriage. I’m also not for it.  Just like I’m not for heterosexual marriage, or against it. In other words, neither ranks high on my list of things to get uptight about.  If you want to enter into a lifetime commitment with one person, have at it.  I did it and I

English: This protester was on his own and let...

English: This protester was on his own and letting Minnesota state Senators know his position on gay marriage. This is freedom of speech in action. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

am fucking miserable couldn’t be happier.

If California wants to allow gay people to marry, then that’s California’s business. States’ rights, remember? That was a cute little catchphrase when we wanted to treat black people like second class citizens. It kind of stings a little now that a state is doing something “immoral,” huh? But this post isn’t about racism.

It’s about the fact that I really don’t care if gay people want to get married.  C’mon in and enjoy the bountiful bliss of matrimony, monogamy, and all the sweet blessings that go along with it.  I’m really not a flaming (pardon the pun) liberal, and you might get some traction with an argument against gay marriage as being unnatural in the sense that homosexuals cannot procreate.

I’m not saying this argument would win me over (that’s really an argument against gay sex not gay marriage, which is actually moot b/c we all know once the wedding is over, so is the sex), but it beats the hell out of the “gay marriage destroys the sanctity of marriage” argument.  I’ve heard this argument from far too many “conservatives” who are working on their fourth wife and/or are so busy thumping the Bible that they’ve knocked Jesus right out it.  “Marriage is only for a man and a woman.  And I love and cherish it so, that I’ve done it four times myself.”

I have never once thought, “Damn, if those boys get married, I’m going to quit loving my wife.”  When California began performing ceremonies for gay people, I didn’t suddenly get an urge to invite the neighborhood men over for a little friendly “bonding time” over my children’s Slip-n-Slide. Two guys kissing may make a lot of straight men uncomfortable, but so what?  I bet two women kissing doesn’t.  I really can’t speak from a female perspective, but perhaps their reactions are consistent.  In fact, I’ve seen plenty of heterosexuals kissing that made me want to vomit.

I start out each day with a kid in my face telling me to wake up. I then groggily get out of bed knowing that bills have to be paid, chores have to be done, and job tasks have to be taken care of.  And during all that time, I’m supposed to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and spirit; and love my neighbor as myself. This usually takes up most of my day. Throw in the fact that a gallon of gas now costs $4 and I truly and  sincerely do not give a rat’s ass if Jimmy and Timmy want to get married.  Live and let live is a cliche worth keeping in mind when it comes to judging.

And I can hear it now, “But what kind of lesson are you teaching your kids by condoning this behavior?”  Well, my knee-jerk response would be that my children are 6 and 3. They don’t know anything about it.  My more substantive response is that the lesson I’m going to teach my children is one of tolerance, acceptance, and erring on the side of openness. As the old saying goes, when I stand before my God, I’d rather argue why I tried to get people in than why I tried to keep people out. Growing up in the South, my children will have plenty of opportunity to hear counterarguments.

And if you want to start throwing out Old, or New, Testament verses at me, get ready for a few coming back at you. As always, I welcome comments.  Until there are some, I guess I’ll sit here and fume that 2 women are kissing each other in Sacramento.  “Forget the mortgage, wifey, there are guys exchanging vows in Santa Barbara.”

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I have some serious questions for God when the day comes to go see him. But those are between the Big Man and me. Here, though, are some not so serious questions that I think he should address. In no particular order, here we go (and, as always, feel free to throw in your two cents):

1. Mosquitoes. Why? I understand the food chain thing, but Google (which is very close to replacing you by the way) doesn’t turn up any reason to believe that there’s a living creature that subsists solely on mosquitoes. So, why do we need them? More important, why can’t I enjoy my yard without first calling in a Vietnam Vet flyboy to napalm the place?

2. Mustaches. I understand you’re probably going to lay this one back on us and say, “Hold on a minute. Back in the day when I talked through bushes and split seas, men wore beards. Those below the nose caterpillars are your doing.” Well, that great and all, God, but you created us. By the way, your son said that even the hairs on our heads are counted. Does that include the hairs in Tom Selleck’s mustache, and that guy wearing the wife beater with the gold chain? Or this guy? (And I won’t utter a word about the fact that HE’S A SUCKASS BASEBALL PLAYER!!!)

3. Why does my golden retriever, and most dogs, like to roll on dead animals? I’ve Googled (see comment #1) this question and the theories are plentiful, but the definitive answers are not. Therefore, I need to hear from you. I’m tired of letting my dog out only to find him coming home with a big dog smile on his face and half a frog on his back. Every now and then he finds a roadkill squirrel and you’d think he’d hit the lottery.

4. Bigfoot. Why won’t you let us find one? I mean, besides the one that appears next to all my comments. Or maybe the question should be phrased, Why won’t you enable us to find one? I have a feeling that your answer is, “Because there aren’t any, Dimwit.” But why can’t we have one? If we could really find one, we could stop creating them in our heads. And idiots in Kansas and Nebraska, of all places b/c they have no damn woods for Bigfoots to live in, could stop looking like fools and declaring to the local Channel 5 human interest reporter (who moonlights as the local child molester) that, “Yeah, we seen a Bigfoot. He was 10 feet tall if he was 2. He seen me and I seen him. Then he tore off into that cornfield, on account of we ain’t got no trees for them to be hiding behind.” We could also have our attention turned from whether Britney, Lindsay, or Paris got a DUI — at least for a couple of days.

5. Ghosts. Why won’t you let us find one? See comment #4. I understand you sent the Holy Spirit, but that’s not the same thing. He’s a good guy. I’m talking the sheet-wearing, chain-rattling, always moaning, throwing a picture frame across the room, Linda Blair kind. Having said that, I don’t want one in my house, but it would make life more interesting if we had them.

6. Why does metabolism vary so much from person to person? I know a guy who can make a pizza buffet owner cry, and he has a 32″ inch waist. I, on the other hand, just typed the word “pizza” and gained 5 pounds. This question has 2 parts. The second is why does weight gather in different places on people? I saw a lady at the mall who had not an ounce of fat in her face, but it looked like she was trying to shoplift 14 legs of lamb in her pants. That’s not fair. On a personal note, my legs are just as muscular as they were when I played college tennis. On the other hand, my face looks like I’m a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. That’s really, really not fair because it involves me.

7. Why did you make me an Ole Miss fan? Don’t give me that free will cop out of an answer either. I can’t quit loving them and they can’t quit punching me in the stomach. It’s like battered women’s syndrome. I’m Julia Roberts and Ole Miss is lining up soup cans in my kitchen while I’m out seeing that other college (see “Sleeping With The Enemy” if that flew right past you.)

8. Why did you lead me to a hot, humid place? If your answer is that you’re preparing me for Hell, I’m not buying it. I shout you out to the peeps all the time and, off this blog, you know we got our thing going on. You lead Moses through the desert to Egypt to free the Israelites. Dandy. He was on a mission and it required transversing a desert to get there. John the Baptist lived in the desert/wilderness, but you put your word in him so that he could preach to the masses. Aces. But what the hell am I doing in the hottest, most humid state in the country? I have no mission here. Granted I have a mayor who thinks he’s a pharaoh, but I have a feeling that if I show up at city hall with a stick (we don’t call them rods or staffs anymore) and demand that “he let my people go,” they’re going to put me in a white one-size-fits-all sports coat and lock me away for “observation.” Also, even if I get to throw my stick down before getting hauled off, am I wrong in betting that it’s not going to turn into a cobra, cottonmouth, or even a garter snake for that matter?

9. Why are there people who go to baseball games and yell “Air ball” when the opposing batter hits a foul ball or fails to hit the ball at all? Again, if you’re going to hit me with the free will answer, I’m going to point out again that you created these folks. Subpart question: when you first saw that there were people acting with such nonsense, did you direct Moses to re-write Genesis to leave out that part about us being created “in your image”?

10. Why do humans like nice neat numbers like Top Ten? Why is Top Nine so less desirable? Another way of putting this question to you is, Why do you allow writer’s block? I can’t think of a 10th non-serious question to save my life. Please shoot me an answer quickly if you can. People don’t stay on blogs very long, so if I don’t get something soon, this lame piece is going to press with only 9 real questions. And they don’t come back for a “Hey, I got it now. The 10th one just hit me” update.

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