Archive for the ‘the Bible’ Category
Posted by honestpoet on November 18, 2008
Here’s an excellent bit from the question and answer period after a debate with Rabbi Wolpe. I’ve been watching a lot of Mr. Harris on YouTube, and I have to say that I like him even more than Richard Dawkins. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dawkins, but, as an American, Harris is more aware of the need to speak with the religious politely and without snarkiness. Dawkins can come off a bit smug, which is a mistake when dealing with the American religious, who already feel beset and belittled, and whose defense mechanisms thereby fly up as soon as the subject is broached with any sort of superior attitude.
Here’s another bit: Sam Harris at the TruthDig conference, talking about how beliefs have consequences, and why the taboo on not examining religious beliefs needs to be lifted.
Here he is talking about the relative morality of various books of the Bible and what would happen if as a society we actually followed it.
And one more, at the Idea Festival in Aspen, where he disputes a lot of common misconceptions about atheism:
If you’d like to hear more of what he has to say, here’s the link to his website, which includes links to a number of articles and videos (including the full debate with Rabbi Wolpe). His thinking is even more in line with my own than Richard Dawkins’s. Dawkins and the rest of the recent crop of atheistic authors turn their backs on mystical experience, whereas Sam Harris, while approaching it as a skeptic, acknowledges that there’s something there to examine that could prove worthwhile, perhaps yielding up that which religions seek but never truly find, tied up as they are in their supernatural superstitions and dogmatism. He’s experienced contemplative states and acknowledges that they can lead to an increase in the ability to experience empathy and compassion, which are clearly in short supply these days.
A neurobiologist, he was motivated to start writing by the events of 9/11, and his focus is on the affect of beliefs on behaviors. Some people have painted him as some sort of warmonger Islamophobe, but that’s hardly the case when you read the suspect passages in context. Does he say that people holding the beliefs indoctrinated by Islam can be led therewith to bad behavior? Absolutely, but that’s hardly the same thing.
Posted in atheism, Building a Better World, catholicism, Christianity, Christianofascism, climate change, economic crisis, evolution, feminism, freedom, fundamentalism, gay rights, genocide, global warming, hegemony, history, homophobia, Iraq, Islam, Jesus, Jews, Koran, language, literature, marriage, mental illness, misogyny, monoculture, morality, Muslims, peace, psychiatry, religion, religion and science, Richard Dawkins, ridiculous beliefs, science, secular humanism, secularism, skepticism, terrorism, the Bible | Tagged: dogmatism, Islam, mystical experience, Rabbi Wolpe, religion, ridiculous beliefs, Sam Harris, stem cell research, terrorism | 4 Comments »
Posted by honestpoet on October 3, 2008
Here’s a scary video for you. This guy is a total nut. (He’s also quite wrong about the founding of America, btw, since our founders were actually Masons who, as their iconography shows, are very sympathetic to Islam.) At one point he says, in a frenzy, that “we were created for the conflict; we get off on warfare.” That sounds a lot more like Constantianism than Christianity to me.
Posted in anti-establishment clause, Christianofascism, Constantinianism, fundamentalism, history, Islam, John McCain, Koran, Muslims, politics, religion, separation of church and state, terrorism, the Bible | Tagged: 2008 Presidential election, holy war, Islam, John McCain, Masons, Rod Parsley, World Harvest Church | 9 Comments »
Posted by honestpoet on September 25, 2008
A bunch of pastors are getting ready to break the law that prevents them (with their tax-exempt status) to get involved politically. One of them, a Southern Baptist (of COURSE) wants to talk about the unbiblical stances of Barack Obama. Here’s an article from the L.A. Times all about it. I say, go for it. Maybe when they have to pay their back taxes (I guess these folks don’t realize that you just don’t mess with the I.R.S….they were the guys that were able to bring down Al Capone, remember? death and taxes, baby, death and taxes), it’ll help pay for the bailout on Wall St.
Posted in anti-establishment clause, Barack Obama, Christianity, Christianofascism, IRS, politics, separation of church and state, the Bible | Tagged: 2008 Presidential election, bailout, Barack Obama, IRS, separation of church and state | Leave a Comment »
Posted by honestpoet on September 23, 2008
Here’s a fabulous article from The New Republic about the anti-elite snobbery, written by someone from a small town who’s tired of hearing that Sarah Palin represents her. A must read for anyone who (like me) comes from a non-privileged background but doesn’t think that means we’ve got to agree with folk like the divine Ms. P.
Here’s a teaser:
Now I appreciate the effectiveness of insulting stereotyping as much as the next pundit, but I’m getting exceedingly tired of hearing about how much I scorn Sarah Palin because she is a hick chick from a hick state who didn’t go to Harvard. Please. I grew up in freaking Southeast Tennessee, in a smallish suburb of Chattanooga known as Hixson. (That’s right, pronounced hick-son.) I have spent more time at mudbogs, tractor pulls, county fairs, pig-roasts, dirt-bike races, and Wal-Marts than most of the anti-elite conservative whiners flapping their gums and wringing their hands over poor disrespected Sarah. I attended public high school, and the bulk of my classmates had Appalachian accents so thick they make Palin sound like a network anchor. The boys were hunters. The girls–myself included–had absolutely enormous hair. If any of my friends wasn’t a Christian, she had the good sense not to mention it to the rest of us, lest we try to save her soul at the countless revivals, church camps, and youth retreats we all attended. I was always smart but have never been an in-tel-lec-tu-al. (Shhhhh. Don’t tell my bosses.) And despite graduating second in my class, it never even occurred to me to apply to an Ivy League university. I went to college at Vanderbilt in Nashville–on scholarship, lest anyone assume that my family was upper-crusty.
Just like Ralph Peters, I KNOW Sarah Palin. Hell, in my younger days, I WAS Sarah Palin. (Well, minus being a crack shot.) The difference is I don’t fetishize my regular-gal roots and assume they make me special–much less qualified to run the country. And while I have indeed witnessed my fair share of cultural snobbery from some of my better-credentialed, coastal colleagues over the years, I’m not so defensive about where I come from that I feel the need to champion a wildly unqualified fellow hick whose politics I disagree with as a way to get back at everyone I know who has ever made a sniffy comment about big hair or small towns.
Posted in Christianofascism, feminism, fundamentalism, John McCain, politics, religion, separation of church and state, the Bible | Tagged: 2008 Presidential election, Sarah Palin, The New Republic | Leave a Comment »
Posted by honestpoet on September 11, 2008
I liked Matt Damon as Loki in Dogma, which is one of my favorite movies (like that was a tough guess). Now I really love him. Here he is on YouTube, expressing how absurd it is that Sarah Palin is as close to becoming President as she is. He compares it to a bad Disney movie, which I think nails it. (Kudos to Kate for finding this one.)
Posted in atheism, Christianity, Christianofascism, fundamentalism, John McCain, politics, religion, religion and science, ridiculous beliefs, science, separation of church and state, skepticism, the Bible | Tagged: anti-establishment clause, creationism, Dogma, Matt Damon, nuclear war, presidential election, Sarah Palin | 7 Comments »
Posted by honestpoet on September 2, 2008
Some of the commentaries on this youtube video are really disturbing. Apparently McCain’s shallow attempt to appeal to disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters is working. I’m so depressed! Are some women so stupid that they think anyone with a vagina is the same as any other? Ms. Palin is a theocrat of the worst kind: against reproductive rights, opposed to abortion even in cases of rape and incest; for banning same-sex marriage with a constitutional amendment; and for teaching creationism in schools in blatant violation of the anti-establishment clause of the first amendment to our constitution. (Don’t get me started on her willingness to abuse power or her environmental record.) Apparently she not only doesn’t know much about anything to do with national government, she doesn’t know much about what our founders intended our government to do.
I’m not crazy about Barrack Obama or Joe Biden, but they beat the heck out of an idiot who graduated near the bottom of his class and whose claim to heroism starts and ends with getting shot down and surviving torture and a beauty-pageant contestant who seems to care more about producing children than raising them.
These PUMA (here’s the wikipedia article on this PAC) fools need to remember what Sen. Clinton stands for, and it’s not a woman in office by any means necessary! It matters WHICH woman, and most importantly, a woman who thinks rather than bending over for big business or following the Bible instead of the Constitution.
Posted in anti-establishment clause, Barack Obama, Christianofascism, climate change, corruption, ecology, environmental activism, feminism, freedom, fundamentalism, gay rights, global warming, hegemony, homophobia, Iraq, iraq war, mothering, politics, religion, ridiculous beliefs, secularism, separation of church and state, sexism, sexual freedom, the Bible | Tagged: 2008 election, anti-establishment clause, Biden, creationism, McCain, obama, PUMA, reproductive rights, same-sex marriage, Sarah Palin, youtube | 2 Comments »
Posted by honestpoet on February 25, 2008
We’ve been offline, relocating about 1,500 miles to the north. We no longer live in the Buckle of the Bible Belt (or anywhere near it). Now we’re in an area where tolerance of diversity is a value, where intellectual freedom is a given, where education is a priority rather than a threat to religious faith.
I look forward to the transformation this will bring about in our lives and in my work (and in our very selves, for I’m certain that one’s location has a bigger affect than we realize on one’s sense of self). We’d lived in our former city in Louisiana for almost ten years. I knew going into it that it wasn’t going to be a comfortable cultural fit. We’ve chosen our new home with the culture in mind. I’m so glad our children are going to be able to come of age here, rather than there.
Posted in anti-establishment clause, Christianofascism, freedom, poetry, separation of church and state, the Bible | Tagged: Bible Belt, free thought, intellectual freedom, religious intolerance | 3 Comments »
Posted by majutsu on January 13, 2008
The schechinah is a female spirit , who as a symbol generated by the unconscious, ties together the various aspects or modalities of the mind. The kabbalah is the itemization of the mind’s modalities, so as to gain both self-knowledge and control of the self. Many of the letters or paths of the kabbalah take the form of abstractions of sexual relations with the schechinah or abstractions of her sexual anatomy. Whether a man or woman is the practitioner, the inner self, or the schechinah, is this divine female, and one’s divinity is attained by imitating her divine intercourse with the lord of the universe. She is in constant loving embrace with the world. As she says, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me.” The earth, symbolized by a bull, without mind, is dead. This is why when you first meet the schechinah she is alone and yearning, a widowed goddess, for the earth cannot be seen as a lord without her love. “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loves: I sought him, but I found him not.” But it is the love and activity of the schechinah for her lover that returns him to life, joins he and she together in the joyous dance that is the mind at play and in love with the earth.
Below is the elucidation of some paths or energies in my meditations:
Daleth- Door. Understanding. Entry into the temple where one is taught by the schechinah.
Mem – Water. Breast milk. Pain and loss. Tears. Her crying face with her absent lover, keening. That which ties us to life, also the joy and nourishment of existence, food, plants and animals for food, clothing, medicine, and spirituality.
Peh – Mouth. Fellatio. Aggressiveness, drive. Taking over, domination. Energy to do tasks.
Shin – Tooth. The fangs of criticism and self-abrogation. Trial. The harsh aspects of life and nature.
It is clear that the Bible does contain a mystical system. The Song of Solomon is probably the clearest and most accessible pathway to understand the coherent and effective mystical tradition that is behind the poetry of the Bible. The danger of misapplying the remainder of the Bible into aberrant and irrational attitudes that are destructive to self and others is so high, that I believe nothing should be read except the Song of Solomon until that poem is understood. If you read the Song of Solomon and it doesn’t make perfect sense to you, then you should put the Bible away and not read another word of it for a long time. Go meditate, learn, study, love, live. Read the poem only when you are drawn to it because you have already seen it manifested in your own heart. Otherwise, don’t touch that potentially poisonous book of difficult poems. The Song of Solomon is a gate keeper for the rest of the kabbalah. If this path, which is not generic or advantageous to all, does not work for you, there is still the beauty of life, poems to chant, songs to sing and mountains to climb, but to misapply deep unconscious symbols to reality, like fundamentalists apply bad theology to worse politics, is as dumb as spending today the money you dreamed you had last night. It won’t work, and it disrespects the schechinah to such an extent that the mental damage may be hard if not impossible to undue.
Posted in anti-establishment clause, beauty, Building a Better World, feminism, fundamentalism, kabbalah, mysticism, poetry, politics, religion, separation of church and state, the Bible | Tagged: Bible, cabala, Christianity, environmentalism, judaism, kabbalah, mysticism, psychedelics, religion, sex, song of solomon | 3 Comments »
Posted by honestpoet on December 13, 2007
Here’s an incredible article written by someone who managed to extricate herself from her fundamentalist upbringing. It’s published at The Dissident Voice, something new for the blogroll (and maybe a potential market!). This is the meaty part:
Today, as I witness the possibility of losing the last shreds of liberty to a fundamentalist theocracy, I am reminded once again of my college research paper and how “dangerous” research, critical thinking, and asking the right questions can be. All those years ago, I extricated myself from the fundamentalist Christian programming of my family and subculture, and now I am watching it threaten to engulf my entire country.
To even attempt to understand the religious right, which many are now naming “Dominionism”, one must grasp the mental duress it holds on its followers. I should know; I was one of them. Axiomatic in the worldview of the fundamentalist, born-again Christian is: “I have the truth, I’m right; you don’t have the truth, you’re wrong.” As a result, critical thinking, research, or intellectual freedom of exploration are not only unnecessary, they are dangerous and potentially heretical. Paul Krugman noted in a recent article that while the religious right bashes academia for its “liberal bias,” studies of the political persuasions of college and university professors indicate that persons who prefer academia as a lifelong career tend to be more liberal, just as those who prefer the military as a lifelong career tend to be more conservative. The halls of academia do not spawn the likes of Tim LaHaye or Pat Robertson. Remember, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
But simply shunning critical thinking does not make one a terrorist. What does, however, is the notion that because one “has the truth” and everyone else who believes differently is “wrong”, those individuals will be condemned to spend eternity in hell and must be incessantly reminded of their fate and their “inferior” status in the eyes of God. Moreover, because of one’s “superior” spiritual status, one has the so-called “divine authority” to subvert, by whatever means necessary, the very machinery of government in order to establish a theocracy in which one’s worldview is predominant.
When sufficiently pressed, Christian fundamentalists intractably argue that people are poor because they have not been born again. Like the Puritans of seventeenth-century America, wealth is a sign that one is following the will of God, and poverty indicates that one is not. People are poor because they are doing something to cause themselves to be poor, and whatever that may be, the underlying cause is that they do not have a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” Increasingly, one sees many faces of color in fundamentalist congregations, but those individuals are almost without exception, born-again Christians who tow the dominionist line with other people of color.
Dominionism deplores the mental health system. Like those who are poor, the mentally ill would not be so if they were born again Christians. After all, mental illness is a label given by the Dr. Phils of the world to people whose minds have been devoured by Satan. What they really need is Christian conversion and of course, a great deal of medication from the pharmaceutical lobby. The only valid therapist is Jesus; down with Oprah, God bless Joyce Meyer. Obviously, according to Dominionism, government should not be financing mental health programs.
And what about addictions? In case you haven’t caught on to the drill yet, Jesus is the answer to that one as well. Who needs a Twelve-Step program? There’s only one step: Accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior as soon as possible, and your addictions will be erased faster than those eighteen minutes on the Richard Nixon tapes. (Remind me to write another article on the religious right AS an addiction.)
Christian fundamentalism in “cafeteria style” has chosen which parts of Jesus’ teachings it chooses to honor and which not. Preference is always given to the “I am” passages such as those in the Gospel of John in which Jesus says, “ I am the door; the bread of life; the way, the truth, and the life; the light of the world; the living water,” and so on, supposedly claiming to be God and commanding his listeners to accept him as the only way to live forever with God in heaven and escape eternity in hell. Little attention is given to the Sermon on the Mount and the many passages where Jesus condemns the wealthy and the religious leaders of his time for their callous, hypocritical, mean-spirited absence of compassion. In fact, theologians who pay much attention to Jesus’ teachings on compassion are viewed as bleeding hearts, unorthodox, and not really Christian. For this reason, Pat Robertson stated on his 700 Club program, January 14, 1991: “You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don’ have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.”
Let us not overlook the obvious: Dominionism is about dominion — over women, children, the poor, people of color, alternative sexual orientations, and the earth. It fits so nicely with fascist tyranny.
Christian fundamentalism is fundamentally UN-American. Dominonists clearly desire a revised United States Constitution that will institute a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. As Katherine Yurica has so assiduously reported, the Dominionist agenda would shred the Constitution and end the democratic republic our Deist founding fathers hammered out for five grueling months in 1787 in Philadelphia.
In fact, Pat Robertson believes that only Christian people should interpret and benefit from the Constitution. Again, on his 700 Club, December 30, 1981, he stated that, “The Constitution of the United States, is a marvelous document for self-government by Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society.” Never mind that most of the founding fathers did not consider themselves Christian and clearly, adamantly, and unequivocally defended the right of everyone in America to believe — or not believe, as he/she chooses.
I hope Americans outside the Bible Belt become more aware that reasonable people down here are being suppressed. It’s an insidious threat. A lawyer I enjoy at another forum calls it the American Christian Taliban. I think that’s not a bad label, with all the appropriate connotations. Except that they are really quite unAmerican, which is why I prefer Christianofascists.
Posted in anti-establishment clause, blogging, Christianofascism, freedom, fundamentalism, politics, religion, secular humanism, separation of church and state, the Bible | Tagged: blogging, Christianofascism, Dominionism, Religious Right, The Dissident Voice | 2 Comments »