Octavo Dia

Monday, May 31, 2010

God is Imaginary: #21 Understand Jesus' Core Message

Understand Jesus' Core Message.

They don't.

I have a theory based on 1 Corinthians 12:3: "Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit." My theory is that you cannot understand Christianity and not believe. Writings by those who do not believe are always off--they're like a building without a foundation--it may look fine, but it's skewed and unbalanced. It's not just points of doctrine. I can read the writing of another denomination, and though the structure is different, I can feel the solid foundation of faith below.

But that doesn't address their profound MISunderstanding of Jesus' core message. This is how it would read if they understood:

"Hello, I am God. You know me. You said you didn't need me. You said you wanted nothing to do with me. You said you wanted me to leave you alone. Then you left. You walked straight towards hell, for hell is what happens when I leave you alone. I could have let you go. Instead, I sent Jesus to pull you back. First we told you what would happen. Then you saw it happen to Jesus. You're back with us now. We love you. If you still want to leave, knowing what you now know, we won't stop you."

That's a bit different, isn't it?

Back to the Fifty Reasons.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book Review: Moon-o-theism, Chapter 3

When writing about a topic that has political relevance, the temptation to relate it to the current political scene is almost irresistible. Fleeing temptation, however, is universally good advice. This chapter, The Moon-o-theistic Apologetics, took an unfortunate turn away from the thesis (and indeed the purpose of the chapter) to incorporate current events.

I believe the purpose of this chapter, given the title, is to offer up the standard counter-arguments to the thesis, and then rebut them. Given that there has been only one full chapter developing the theory, it's a little early to introduce this. Unless an objection is so self-evident that it needs to be addressed initially, one is better off developing the theory fully before presenting the counter-arguments. None of these fit that category.

The bulk of the chapter focuses on historical and modern means (thus the insertion of politics) to combat criticism of Islam, which only constitutes a counter-argument to the thesis in the most general sense. The true meat of the chapter is in the section "Allah's Identity Theft Against Yahweh." Identity theft is something I know about. It's something I can work with.

The difference between the owner of the identity and the thief is context. The owner has it, the thief doesn't. For example, I have an (expired) forklift license. I can give you the context about when and how I acquired it, and all sorts of details about forklifts and my experience on them. The thief wouldn't have that experience, and wouldn't be able to provide the context. When the story is challenged, you get an excuse--"It was a long time ago..." etc.

Yoel Natan argues that, with no sense of irony, the devil is in the details. Allah provides the ID docs saying that he's actually Yahweh, but when you start looking at the context, there's a discrepancy. When you press it, there's an excuse.

Divine identity theft. If I take nothing else from this chapter but that description, it would have been worth the read.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book Review: Orange is the New Black

Kerman, Piper. Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2010.

I found out about this book through a review on Slate. I read it because I have geographic and personal connections to it.

It was a quick read, more like a novel than anything else. It did explain a minor mystery in my life. If I get sick at work, and have to take the midday train, it's always filled with a random assortment of people. I had never stopped to think that they were heading up to the women's prison for visitation. One of my cop friends told me that I "don't observe what [I] notice". I had noticed it, but hadn't observed.

There are two paragraphs on page 293 that bear repeating, as they're the only unique non-fiction lesson in the book:

"Now here, in my third prison, I perceived an odd truth that held for each: no one ran them. Of course, somewhere in those buildings, some person with a nameplate on their desk or door nominally ran the place, and below them in the food chain there were captains and lieutenants. But for all practical purposes, for the prisoners, the people who lived in those prisons day in and day out, the captain's chair was vacant, and the wheel was spinning while the sails flapped. The institutions putzed along with the absolute minimum staff presence, and the staff that were there invariably seemed less than interested in their jobs. No one was present, interacting in any affirmative way with the people who filled those prisons. The leadership vacuum was total. No one who worked in 'corrections' appeared to give any thought to the purpose of our being there, any more than a warehouse clerk would consider the meaning of a can of tomatoes, or try to help those tomatoes understand what the hell they were doing on the shelf.

"Great institutions have leaders who are proud of what they do, and who engage with everyone who makes up those institutions, so each person understands their role. But our jailers are generally granted near-total anonymity, like the cartoon executioner who wears a hood to conceal his identity. What is the point, what is the reason, to lock people away for years, when it seems to mean so very little, even to the jailers who hold the key? How can a prisoner understand their punishment to have been worthwhile to anyone, when it's dealt in a way so offhand and indifferent?"


That's almost word-for-word the opinion of an ex-prison guard I know. He told me that on some nights, if a couple of people called in, he would be the only one on duty for a thousand minimum security inmates. At the point, he said, his job was reduced to "open the doors if there's a fire and hope only a few try to escape."

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Emission, er, Economy Reductions

The UK government will push the EU to move to a higher target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. It will urge the EU to cut emissions by 30% from 1990 levels by 2020, rather than the current 20% target ... In 2009, EU leaders endorsed two targets for greenhouse gas emissions - 20%, rising to 30% in the event of a global deal on climate change. ... But the recession has lowered emissions across the continent, making the higher target more easily achievable. Link.

You know what the first thing that crossed my mind was when I read that? They're locking in the losses. They're making their much-reduced economy the new normal, and going on from there. Recovery be d*****.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Overpopulation and the Curse

I must respectfully disagree with Answers In Genesis take on the question, "Didn't the Curse Prevent Overpopulation?" I blogged about this, and, in my humble opinion, in a much more satisfying way.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Book Review: Moon-o-theism, Chapter 2

Now this is more like it. He carefully demonstrates that, in contrast to the Mediterranean, where the sun gods were male and the moon gods were female, in Arabia the sun gods were female and the moon gods were male.

He then moves from the general to the specific, parsing words and symbols, such as the horns of a bull being a symbolic moon crescent, to demonstrate that Sin was indeed a moon god.

I hope the rest of the book continues in this vein.

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