Sunday, July 31, 2011

God's Magic

Last week I wrote and compared the fictional works of the Harry Potter book series and the similar fictional aspects of the Holy Bible. I would like to continue that  this week by exploiting  the magic tricks that "God" uses in the entire Bible book series. Of course the Holy Bible consists of 66 total books and there are plenty of unrealistic occurrences throughout. A talking snake,Jonah living in a fish for three days,Moses parting the Red Sea,Elijah being whisked away to heaven courtesy a whirl wind,raising the dead,Noah's ark,virgin birth,Sodom and Gomorrah being destroyed by raining hell fires and some lady being turned into a pillar of salt as punishment for watching the city burn,and Rumpelstiltskin the gold straw spinning imp.

OK, so maybe the Rumpelstiltskin story wasn't biblical, but one wonders if it were nestled somewhere in the Bible whether it would be defended as truth by millions of Bible believing Christians. Fairy tales are fairy tales,regardless where they are published,whether that be in children's story books or in holy books.

In modern Christianity,progressive Christians have no problems accepting these bible stories as nothing more than metaphors, or fables with a life's lesson attached. To the progressive: The one burning question remains. In the Bible, where do the fairy tales end? Where does the poetic metaphors and myths end and the truth begins? At what point should I start to believe the Bible? 

It seems to me that once the Bible was concluded in its writing and publication the super natural events of the world came to an all the sudden stop. Why don't we see these unrealistic events happening in modern times? Including but not even limited to hearing the actual voice of God. If you are a believer I would like to remind you that you live in a natural world....not a super natural world. This world acts in such a way that you would expect it to act as if its only being ran by natural laws.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Harry Potter;Based on a True Story

Last weekend I started a Harry Potter marathon. Anyone who knows me will tell you how remarkable a statement this is. I am not a movie person. To get me inside a movie theater involves a lot of kicking and screaming. Even though I will admit they are at times....some what enjoyable. So far I've seen the first three. Harry has thus far found a sorcerer's stone,a chamber of secrets,and help an escape prisoner clear his name in Hogwartville...or something like that. Its kept my interest enough to continue this weekend. In store is a half blooded prince and some type of goblet of fire. I dunno. After those two I think I still have 3 more to go,including the newest release in theaters now. I'm sure I will handle the "excitement" with ease. I'm so thrilled about it that I made it a blog entry. 
 One thought I have as watching this series is the absurdity of the ultra right-winged,neo-con,religious nut jobs that refuse to let their children read these books or watch these films on the ground that it's satanism or "of the devil" as I have heard it referred to. It's interesting that there have actually been book burning events to rid the world of this great evil of ours. I have to laugh. Even though,now that I think of it, If Harry Potter would have been around in the early to mid 80's, He would have been banned by the church that I grew up in. For the same reason as all movies,rock and roll music, and shorts wearing were banned. Wild times. This may be why I am not conditioned to walk into movie theaters. When I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to go. I was 18 when I walked into a movie theater for the first time. "Alein III" Never saw the first two but I didn't care. My friends invited me to go, it was a major rebellion and I went. I'm sitting there watching this alien film and was wondering when is Satan bursting through this movie screen and stealing my soul for all eternity. Actually you sit there and think. What the hell? You mean Jesus does not approve of this? Why? Because the popcorn is unhealthy? Because someone on the big screen might say the word "fuck" and Jesus will take offense? Jesus never heard of that word back in the first century.....

I think the neo-con that refuses to let their children explore the imaginations and explorations of Harry Potter does so defensively. It's quite possible that the parents are a bit scared that their children will be able to correlate the make believe and fantasy aspects of both Harry Potter and the Bible. The first book of the Bible introduces the reader  to a talking snake as does the first book on Potter. Of course the neo-con religious believes in the talking snake in at least one of those books. I'll let you figure out which one.
 I mean what's more believable? A talking snake in the Bible or in H.Potter? How can the believer refuse the belief in the three headed dog in H.P. but openly believe in a guy living in the belly of a fish for three days (Jonah). The believer dismisses the idea one can fly around on a broom and yet still believe its possible to round up every species known to man put them on an ark,store enough food for 40 days, watch it rain and flood the earth,and then somehow convince all those species to have sex and procreate and replenish the earth after the great flood.....The believer (rightfully) dismisses the belief in waving a magic wand saying a fictitious word and casting spells and yet will still believe in a guy named Moses "waving his wand" and parting the Red Sea.

I think it starts to become clear. I've heard it said and say it myself. You can NOT prove the existence of God by anything the Bible says. That's like me trying to prove to you that Harry Potter is real based on the 7 books written about him. I believe it was Richard Dawkins that pointed out (If I'm mistaken,my apologies)::
"...and really, the only difference between Harry Potter and the Bible.....Harry Potter is modern fiction and the Bible is ancient fiction."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lifes a Gamble

It seems that no matter what we choose in life;the paths we direct ourselves down, whether it involves our jobs,health,love,and well being it all comes with understandable risks. Some odds are better than others. We simply play the cards we are dealt and let the chips fall as they may. I've never been one to plan for my future. I've always approached life with a care free attitude. I'm a leaf that just fell from its tree and landed in a nearby stream. I have no idea where I'm headed...I'm just going to enjoy the ride.
 It does seem that we try to hedge our bets with the best possible odds.We take care of our bodies in the best way we can to maintain a healthy lifestyle.We work our jobs and try to live within our means for the better way of life. Or a better way as we understand it.However, when it comes to love....All bets are off. It does not seem that we hedge our bets in the same manner as other aspects in life. I've seen friends completely disregard the sure bet (the "right partner")and go for a completely 1,000,000 to 1 shot. Love knows no boundaries to our way of life. Our lifestyles.
 Richard Gere in "Pretty Woman".....a man full of wealth and prosperity could have any woman he wants. He falls in love with a hooker.
 Jim Carrey in "Dumb and Dumber" driving cross country after his dream girl Mary Swanson knowing that he was Mary Swanson put it..."a million to one shot". To which Carrey (Lloyd) replies: "So you're telling me there's a chance!"

 One thing I've learned over the years is you can't help who you're attracted to.Someone who may seem completely incompatible to you will have the ability to broadside you with emotions and love. A person who you just know is "No good for you" has the ability to make one forget about that with an out pouring of unexpectedness and sudden desire. We walk down paths toward someone and not care that its potentially a dead end street. 

 I've never been the kind of guy that relies on "fate" or "destiny" to control my life. In fact I do not believe in these. Other than being in complete control of them. I do not believe that the universe was designed with me in mind....or that heaven has a plan for me. (Thanks Hitchins for that one liner.)Nor do I believe there is meaning to life....unless we create our own meaning. I love Richard Dawkin's quote on the meaning of life:
 "The universe doesn't owe us meaning.there's no reason why there should be any meaning.It might be comforting if there might be would be nice to think that there is meaning in everything,but we are not owed meaning.If there isn't any meaning; there isn't any meaning. And that's just tough!"

Life is dictated by sheer luck and random chance. Its a good thing....Luck is helpful when placing our bets in life. Luck is needed to survive in this life. Good luck everyone. Lifes a gamble.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A New Traditional Marriage....Get Used To It

 I used to be a completely neutral party when it came to the subject of gay marriage. I never paid attention to the debates and controversies as I were completely indifferent to the idea of the gay community being able to walk and say "I do". I've never considered marriage an important ideal for myself and I have a hard time grasping why anyone,gay or straight, would want to "make it official". Just be with the one you love and be happy in your partnerships.Not sure why that requires ceremonies and rings to symbolize a love between two people.
 My only theory with why the gay community continues to struggle for the right to marry involves religion. I've always considered a marriage ceremony to be a religious ceremony.Every wedding I have ever attended was religious themed. Vows before"God" and prayers and long standing traditions between the faiths and their personal beliefs. Of course, I would hate to think that the ideas involving the traditional marriage in the opposition to gay marriage is due to biblical reasons. What a pity if so.....
According to the bible, It was a wedding tradition to stone your new wife to death in front of her father's doorstep if you were to find out that she was not a virgin on her wedding night. Ahhhhh traditional biblical marriage....sounds like its worth defending.
The bible is full of trash laws like this. Stoning sons for being disobedient.Selling your daughter into sexual slavery.Killing people for gathering sticks on a Sunday. Child sacrifice.Animal sacrifice.Genocide.Slavery. 

The opposition to gay marriage has no ground to stand on. Their thought process is bankrupt. Morally bankrupt if you consider some of the most immoral activity taking place in the traditions of the bible. And the bible is what is the driving force to oppose more than the gay community's right to be an equal among everyone else. The bible has been used to oppress women,African Americans,and of course gays as well. 
The gay community faces opposition from groups of people that have their lives dictated by an ancient 2000 year old text. Superstition and dogma is ruling the roost. People hold the bible so near and dear to them and believe it is actually a guiding force to live out our modern lives. People are prisoners to the ideas and traditions of the bible. They think their holy book was written by God or at the very least was inspired by God. These beliefs are false. 
 Your holy book has been used to endorse and defend the institution of slavery. As odd as that sounds and as morally bankrupt as that truly is. So will future generations look back at this gay marriage issue with trivial perplexity. If you're a religious nut job that uses the bible as opposition to gay marriage,you should be embarrassed and ashamed that you're a slave to the ideals and traditions of the bronze age.

 Everyone should be free to marry whomever they choose,if they even choose it at all. You can't help who you are attracted to and who one falls in love with. Where else in our human discourse do we still live by ancient texts other than religions? What a pity....To quote the great Christopher Hitchens: 
"Ladies and gentlemen,I close by saying, I can't believe there is a thinking person here who does not realize that our species would begin to grow to something like its full height,if it left this childishness behind.If it emancipated itself from this sinister childish nonsense...thank you!"

Sunday, July 3, 2011

62 Years Without God.....That's Our Pledge.

Now, this may not be popular preaching today,but I wanted to write a brief history lesson on the Pledge of Allegiance. If you belong to the "Why must we take God out of our schools" crowd, or the "America will pay for turning its back on God" crowd,you owe it to yourself to,at the very least, understand the Pledge's history and why it was written. And try to come to an understanding to why saying the Pledge in our public schools has become controversial in modern times.

 The Pledge of Allegiance is not very old. 119 years to be exact. Most unknowing American citizens just assume its been around as long as our Constitution or The Bill of Rights,but that's just not the case.Written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy the original Pledge sounded a little like this....brace yourself:

  "I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands,one nation indivisible,with liberty and justice for all"
Uh Oh! What's missing? I think you can take a wild guess! The most overrated phrase "Under God" was never even a consideration for Francis. In fact, Mr Bellamy did consider and wanted to use the words equality and fraternity,but unfortunately he knew the powers that be in his approving committee were not in favor of equal rights to women or African Americans,thus he simplified it the best he could knowing he was writing a pledge for school children to recite.
  Originally published in a popular children's magazine "The Youth's Companion" it was used as a part in the National Public-School Celebration to help celebrate Columbus Day. (1892 was the 400 year anniversary of the Christopher Columbus founding of the New World)
  The Pledge has been modified 4 different times. The second modification added the words "...of the United States" and the third modification added "of America" these words were added in 1923 and 1924. The fourth and final modification or revision added "Under God" in 1954. Yes,my fellow Christian enthusiasts, our Pledge remained without God for....take a deep breath...62 years!
Nazi salute?! No,the original salute to our flag while reciting the Pledge
 1951, the Knights of Columbus,the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization,began to use the phrase "Under God" in our pledge. Although they were not the first organization do to this,they were certainly the most influential to have it officially changed. So, you know, One thing lead to another in Washington DC and next thing ya know our President, Dwight Eisenhower (a former Jehovah Witness turned Presbyterian ) lead the way in the campaign to have "Under God" inserted into our pledge. All part of an effort to "fight Communism" and establish our nation as a "Christian nation". By inserting God in government Eisenhower wanted to send a message to the godless communist countries that were considered America's enemies. During the 1950's as the Cold War was brewing Communism and Atheism were virtually synonyms. Communists were branded atheists and atheists were branded Communists. They two terms were two peas in a pod. Even to this day in the United States,atheists are still an "untrustworthy" and looked down upon group. 

The irony in this story, Mr Francis Bellamy....remember this guy? The author of the "Pledge of Allegiance" He was a Baptist minister!! Ain't that some shit? Haha. Oh, and did I mention...he was also a socialist. Just when you didn't think I could spew anymore blasphemy..... What I find most interesting about preacher Bellamy, even he understood that what he was writing wasn't his Sunday school plans but more less a secular approach for school children all over the United States. 

So, I'm not so sure I understand what all the fuss is about when anyone comes clamoring about the "Pledge" and removing the phrase "Under God" and returning it to a more secular approach. I do believe that God has no place in our schools nor any other government funded establishment or agency. It seems to me that the government does a great job staying out of the affairs of churches across our land. I just wish churches and their religions would return the favor. 

Happy 4th of July....Hope you enjoyed the history lesson. For more in depth coverage of the history of our pledge. Google and enjoy. :)