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We Hate To Say We Told You So, But…

22/05/2015

…we told you so.

DuggarsThe people most obsessed with policing the private morals of others are typically those with the most skeletons in their own closets.

Seriously, who didn’t see this one coming?

If you didn’t, if you thought these were good and blessed and wholesome people, then you are a major part of the problem.

It’s time we Christians start discussing the very large elephant defecating and trumpeting loudly on the altar:

Modern mainstream Christianity has become infiltrated by a bunch of pious conmen who are in it for their own benefit — financial / political / emotional — and not to share the teachings of Christ.

When we’re lucky they are merely lying sociopaths who are putting one over on the rubes.

When we’re not lucky they are very dangerous, very delusional people who truly believe the obscenities they spew & do.

The Church — i.e., the body of believers — needs an exorcism.

Now, let’s be clear that I am using the term metaphorically but accurately. Classic demonic possession could only occur when the person possessed invited the demon in.

We invited our legion of evil doers in long ago.

The tension between the church of power and the church of piety had existed since the earliest days of humanity, but we are now at a crucial nexus in our faith’s history.

More and more people are abandoning religion.

By and large, these are not people who never grew up in a religious background, but people who were raised in so-called “Christian” homes and churches and have turned their back in disgust on what they have seen and experienced.

These people can read.

They see what Christ taught in the Bible, and they see what those who have crowded onto the pulpits and in front of the cameras and over the Internet claim is what Christ taught, and what they see is the difference between a life of love and compassion and service to others and self-serving / self-enriching / self-empowering drivel spewed from the lips of liars and sociopaths.

The more famous a minister, the more widespread his or her reach, the more intense their “moral” message, the more likely they are undermining the teachings of Christ and they are the ones actually destroying the fabric of our culture.

[“Surely you can’t mean Billy Graham!” I hear some say. Fuckin’ A I include Billy Graham: He endorsed and enabled two presidents’ lies that got us into and grossly extended one unjust & unjustifiable war, and said nothing as another president openly embraced white bigotry as the base of his party and yet another president lied us into another unjust & unjustifiable war, all the while lining his own pockets to the tune of $25 million. Jesus taught very explicitly on this topic, folks; it don’t bode well for Billy to be enjoying anything past the millions he’s already raked in. And full disclosure: I am acutely aware of what I might have done to contribute to the gestalt that produced Iraq et al, as well.]

So what do we, the people who do want to follow Christ’s teachings, do about the situation?

First, we have to live the kind of life Christ taught.

That means we cannot put our nation, our race, our culture, our city, our church, our friends, or our family above justice. This is not to say we must treat any of those with contempt, but they have to be second to the calling. If we love all equally and with compassion then our own will be well taken care of, but if we favor our own at the expense of others, we are just perpetuating the misery of the world and guaranteeing a fraught-filled future for those we profess to love.

Second, we have to be vocal when people attempt to practice injustice in the name of Christ.

When I grew up in the Old South, polite Southerners refrained from calling out bigots and haters because it was impolite to do so to people in our social circles. As a result, the victims of those bigots and haters who were outside of our social circles suffered and died. We Southerners failed our duty as Christians. When we see hate and exclusion and supremacy and selfishness being extolled from pulpits and blogs today as virtues, we need to step up and challenge those viewpoints point-blank and loudly.

Finally, we need to acknowledge that the institution of churches as we in North America have used them (i.e., ersatz social clubs for local insiders) is over and done with.

We need to shutter the doors — literally — of any institution that is self-supporting. Churches should be charities at all levels, not businesses. Stop supporting multi-millionaire pastors. Stop buying “Jesus junk” (their own term, not mine) at “Christian” stores. Stop consuming “Christian” media that’s just watered down imitations of secular pop culture with the occasional reference to Jesus thrown in.

[Seriously, there should be no “Christian” media whatsoever. Some of the greatest works of art and literature and music were created by Christians who put their faith into what they were making, not fast buck artists hoping to ride a fad to riches. Stop it. Stop trying to put Jesus into everything you do; put Jesus in your heart and you won’t be able to keep him out of what you do.]

The concept of church as it existed in the 19th century began splintering in the early 20th century when the first means of mass media were introduced. The old idea of church was a local meeting place where like minded people gathered to support and comfort one another, and to learn how to apply what they had learned in their daily walk.

That concept has been supplanted by the Internet in all its myriad forms.

Where it was once possible to silence critics and doubters with double talk or hand waving vagueness in local 19th century churches, now in the 21st those people can find others sharing their thoughts and concerns with a minimum of keystrokes.

The people clinging to the concept of 19th century church are the ones who have resolutely refused to enter the 21st — mainly because they can’t figure out how to commoditize it.

We don’t need any more professional preachers and teachers and youth ministers, we need people who are willing to walk the walk and support others trying to do so. We need amateurs in the truest sense of the term — people who do what they do because they love to do it, because they cannot fathom not doing it.

Today only 77% of the nation self-identifies as Christian,
down from about 85% around 2000, and over 90% in the 1960s.

Honest to God, I wish the numbers were truly reversed. I would rather have 23% genuine dedicated Christians who live lives of love, compassion, mercy, and justice (not retribution!) in a nation that’s 77% non-believers, than 77% who claim to follow Christ but deny everything Jesus stood for.

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Everything Else Is Bullshit

3/05/2015

meet Jesus

There is only one way to love God, and that is by following His teaching thru Christ:
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Anything other than loving one another as God loves us thru Christ is bullshit (Jesus’ words, not mine). Love never seeks to harm, love always seeks to help and, if help is rejected, is prepared to help if the person changes their mind.

Past that, we are to mind our own business, live as peaceably as possible, and look out for those in need. Period. End of discussion. That’s it. Everything else is commentary; fun to discuss but pointless without love.

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Ward Sutton sez “Do The White Thing”

2/05/2015

Ward Sutton says Do The White Thing

more. here.
right. now.

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Thinkage

21/04/2015

“[T]he useful way to understand fascism, at least for the purposes of [redacted], is as an aesthetic – as a particular mix of fetishes and paranoias that always crops up in culture, occasionally seizing some measure of power, essentially always with poor results. It can basically be reduced to a particular sort of story. The fascist narrative comes, in effect, in two parts. The first involves a nostalgic belief in a past golden age – a historical moment in which things were good. In the fascist narrative, this golden age was ended because of an act of disingenuous betrayal – what’s called the ‘stab in the back myth.’ (The most famous form, and the one that gave the myth its name, being the idea that German Jews had betrayed the German army, leading to the nation’s defeat in World War I.) Since then, the present and sorry state of affairs has been maintained by the backstabbers, generally through conspiratorial means.

“The second part is a vision of what should happen, which centers on a heroic figure who speaks the truth of the conspiracy and leads a populist restoration of the old order. The usual root of this figure is (a bad misreading of) Nietzsche’s idea of the ubermensch – a figure of such strength that morality does not really apply to him. He’s at once a fiercely individualistic figure – a man unencumbered by the degenerate culture in which he lives – and a collectivist figure who is to be followed passionately and absolutely. A great leader, as it were. (This is, counterintuitively, something of a libertarian figure. Ayn Rand’s heroes – the great and worthy men who deserve their freedom – are archetypal fascist heroes, because they rise up over the pettiness of their society and become great leaders.) It is not, to be clear, that all cults of personality are fascist, any more than all conspiracy theories are. Rather, it is the combination – the stab-in-the-back conspiracy theory coupled with the great leader that all men must follow – that defines the fascist aesthetic.” – Philip Sandifer, Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons

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“Black Sheep” by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs

21/04/2015

an oldie but a goodie
little noted at the time but
well worth listening to today

sam_the_sham_and_the_pharaohs_promo__80259.1407171463.1280.1280

Black sheep lays around drinking wine all day
Readin’ poetry and layin’ in the grass
Ask him for a drink, he’ll give you a glass

White sheep drinks one glass of beer a year
Ask him for a shot, he says it’s all he’s got
Not down from the cellar
Can’t help nobody

Black sheep, black sheep
Have you any wool?
Three bags full

For his friends he ain’t got in the world
Black sheep, he’s got an old ragged coat of black
Tell him you’re cold, he’ll take it off his back

White sheep he’s got thirty coats or more
Saved up from the last year and the year before
Been savin’ them up for a rainy day
And it rained yesterday, ain’t got none left

Black sheep, black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yeah, three bags full

White sheep he died a wealthy man
Had five gold watches, six gold rings on his hand
Had a million dollar funeral but it’s a shame
Nobody came

Ain’t not fair
Alone, dead

Black sheep left the world in a rough pine box
Everybody came ’round
Laughing, telling jokes
The old women cried ’cause the bad man he’d been
But when they passed the casket
And everyone looked in
Seemed like he grinned
Like he know somethin’

Black sheep, black sheep
Have you any wool?
Three bags full

Just layin’ over there dead
Still grinnin’ like he was holdin’ out on everybody

Black Sheep lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
written by Bob McDill

 

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Ode To A Christianist Screechweasel

6/04/2015

today you shout Muslim!
yesterday you shouted Communist!
and before that it was ******-lover!

shut up
we’re tired of hearing it
we’re tired of you

I’d tell you to go to hell
but you’re already there

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Ruben Bolling on Indiana

2/04/2015

Tom the Dancing Bug

find more of Ruben’s strips at GoComics.Com

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A Message To My Christian Brothers & Sisters

26/03/2015

This one is for my co-religionists, so here’s a cute animated gif of a bouncing cube of red jello for the non-Christians.

animated bouncing jello cube

I’ll see the rest of you after the jump.

Read the rest of this article »

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Facts / Opinions / Evidence / Truth

24/03/2015

Justin P McBrayer[1] recently posted an op-ed piece with the NYTimes called Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts [2] where he relates the following:

“When I went to visit my son’s second grade open house, I found a troubling pair of signs hanging over the bulletin board. They read:

“Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.

“Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.

“…So what’s wrong with this distinction and how does it undermine the view that there are objective moral facts?

“First, the definition of a fact waffles between truth and proof — two obviously different features. Things can be true even if no one can prove them. For example, it could be true that there is life elsewhere in the universe even though no one can prove it. Conversely, many of the things we once “proved” turned out to be false. For example, many people once thought that the earth was flat. It’s a mistake to confuse truth (a feature of the world) with proof (a feature of our mental lives). Furthermore, if proof is required for facts, then facts become person-relative. Something might be a fact for me if I can prove it but not a fact for you if you can’t. In that case, E=MC2 is a fact for a physicist but not for me.

“But second, and worse, students are taught that claims are either facts or opinions. They are given quizzes in which they must sort claims into one camp or the other but not both. But if a fact is something that is true and an opinion is something that is believed, then many claims will obviously be both. For example, I asked my son about this distinction after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. We then had this conversation:

“Me: ‘I believe that George Washington was the first president. Is that a fact or an opinion?’

“Him: ‘It’s a fact.’

“Me: ‘But I believe it, and you said that what someone believes is an opinion.’

“Him: ‘Yeah, but it’s true.’

“Me: ‘So it’s both a fact and an opinion?’

“The blank stare on his face said it all.”[3]

To quote one of the great rhetoricians of our era:

sam-jackson-retort-468x350

“Facts,” “truth,” “evidence,” and “opinion” are not the same thing. They may overlap when referring to concrete examples, but that’s a function of language, not reality.

Facts, so to speak, are the atoms of reality: They is what they is. They carry no moral weight of judgment, no meaning in and of themselves. A fact either is or it is not.

Truth is the summation of several facts in conjunction or juxtaposition against one another. The “truth” of water, for example, is a summation of several facts about it: Its molecular formula, the pressure and temperature points where it freezes or vaporizes, the way it interacts with other molecules, etc., etc., and of course, etc.

Evidence are facts assembled to produce a truth, either in whole or in part.

Opinion is a belief, preferably based on informed knowledge about the facts and evidence before one, that makes a presumption about what truth is.

Fact: I was born

Opinion A: I was born within the borders of the United States at that time

Opinion B: I was not born within the borders of the United States at that time

Without fact based evidence to prove either Opinion A or Opinion B, they are both equally valid assumptions.

I’m the flippin’ Schroedinger’s Cat of procreation, and lacking facts in evidence my birth within / without the borders of the US are equally valid opinions.

Only one of those opinions is true, of course.

And all the logic, rhetoric, assembled supporting evidence, sincerity of belief, and numbers of believers does not alter the factual truth one iota.

There are no moral “facts”,
but there are moral “truths”.

Unlike facts which can be fixed in time and space, truth does not need observable concrete evidence to be true or not.

There was no cup of coffee on my desk an hour ago, there is a cup of coffee on my desk now, there will be an empty cup on my desk in an hour are all valid statements of fact even though they do not represent the same exact thing. They can be assembled to form a truth about my having a cup of coffee while working.

Or more precisely, they can be assembled to produce an opinion about the truth; for all you know I’m just shining you on about the coffee, the desk, and me working. Or more precisely still, the truth is that it’s possible for me to drink coffee, and that truth remains unalterable regardless of the facts of my coffee drinking / non-drinking.

McBrayer wants to have his imaginary cake and make you eat it. George Washington’s status as the first president of the US stands independent of McBrayer’s belief, no matter how much evidence he assembles to prove it. He is right in his opinion — this time.

But he could just as sincerely believe even more and better evidence of other facts and assemble them into a conclusion that is not the truth.

It drives hard line moralists nuts to live in a universe where their opinions are not automatically revered and treated as fact, but to quote another great rhetorician:

“Dem’s da conditions wot prevails.”

.

.

.

[1] Yeah, I know: “Who?” Bear with me, I gotta fill a quota on this blog and this one’s an easy pop fly.

[2] Probably for the same reason they don’t think there’s any dry water, either; McBrayer is using mutually contradictory terms.

[3]  Congratulations, Justin, for opening a can of pseudo-intellectual whup-ass on your seven year old…

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I Fail To See A Difference

21/03/2015

This is Barronelle Stutzman. She is a Christian being persecuted for staying true to her beliefs.

Barronelle Stutzman coverstory-4

This is Lester Maddox. He was another Christian who was persecuted for staying true to his beliefs.

lester-maddoxs-quotes-4

No, that’s not Lester on the left; Lester is the guy with the gun threatening an American citizen for demanding his Constitutional rights (the guy with the axe handle is Lester’s son, IIRC).

Lester’s religious belief was that African-Americans were subhumans who were being punished by God for their great-great-great-great-great-times-howmany-grandfather Ham’s sin against their great-great-great-great-great-times-howmany-grandfather + 1 Noah.

And because of that, Ham’s descendants were cursed with black skin and condemned to be slaves to white skinned people for all eternity.

Sez so right in the Bible…

Bad enough the US government went and changed the Constitution to get rid of slavery — which, after all, had been ordained by God — but then they went and let those uppity so-and-sos have equal rights with white people, and that just ain’t right!

Still, Lester and his buddies were willing to live and let live…just so long as the uppity so-and-sos were willing to live in the colored part of town and stepped out of the way when a white person passed by and not vote or go to public schools or run for election or expect fire or ambulance service.

And they sure as hell weren’t supposed to come into a fine white person’s establishment and demand to be treated just the same way as a white customer was treated.

Why, that was violating God’s holy law! That was a sinful abomination! If God had wanted people to treat each other the way they wanted to be treated, with kindness and compassion and mercy, well then, wouldn’t God have said that in His holy scripture?

Hunh?

 

Hunh?

Hunh?

Barronelle believes it’s her religious right to deny her fellow citizens their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Recently a couple of African-Americans…no, wait…a couple of Jews…no, wait, a couple of gay guys came into her florist shop to order flowers for their wedding.

Now, the thing a non-bigoted Christian American would have done would be to sell them the flowers. See, a non-bigoted Christian American might not approve of what another person’s religious beliefs are, but they will acknowledge they are supposed to treat them the same way they treat someone whose beliefs they agree with.

And that’s what same sex marriage is all about:
Their religious belief is that it is not a sin for two people of the same sex to marry.

Same as two divorcees re-marrying have a religious belief that it’s okay for two divorcees to re-marry.

Same as two people with different ethnic backgrounds have a religious belief that it’s okay for different ethnic groups to marry.

All of which had been outlawed at one time
but finally allowed when laws were changed.

Now, if your religious beliefs preclude that, no one is demanding you marry someone of the same sex, or who was previously divorced, or of a different ethnic background.

It would be wrong to force you to do that.

But just as it would be wrong to force you to do it, it is equally wrong for you to attempt to deny others their rights.

And that’s what Barronelle Stutzman is doing by refusing service to them.

Same as Lester Maddox.

The only people objecting to same sex marriage today are doing so from a conservative religious background.

They were taught it was wrong and nothing will change their mind.

Not even Jesus himself (God incarnate to Christians), who taught “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

Who quoted Rabbi Hillel, a Jewish heavy hitter of a century earlier, when he taught “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

And who taught “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you”

And “Give to every man that asketh of thee”

And “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

And “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”

I’m sure Barronelle Stutzman and her allies think of her as a good, decent, kind, loving, generous, righteous Christian being persecuted for her faith; if they didn’t, why do they keep running pictures of like this when they try to gin up support for her?

Barronelle Stutzman coverstory-3

Funny thing is, I look at that photo and am reminded of this:

nazi family cropped

 

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