Sunday, September 27, 2015


"Magic, it must be remembered, is an art which demands collaboration between the artist and his public."
The Myth of the Magus
E.M. Butler

2 Titles, 1 Delusion

E.J. Dionne's September 20th column for the Washington Post has two equally idiotic titles. The one under which it is publicly available on the Post's website, "Pope Francis’s actions speak louder than his words", is completely opposite. Francis has spoken far more about reforming the church than he has acted on. In fact, the very few "actions" he has taken are pathetically minor and feeble. The title the same column was given after being published in the EBSCO databases, "Francis's radical challenge", is also full of shit. The fourth paragraph is a pretty good summary of the whole piece.

"It’s hard to see how progressives don’t come out ahead, simply because the pope has radically reordered the priorities of the church. He is not fighting culture wars. He is fighting against them. This, in part, is what accounts for his broad popularity among former Catholics, Americans of other faiths and even secularists and atheists."

Actually, it's pretty easy to see how anyone with the ability to think critically can handily refute every sentence of this paragraph. As I have previously pointed out in numerous posts, Francis has in no way altered church doctrines. He has done nothing to significantly reform church practices or policies, either. The only noticeable difference between Francis and his predecessors is in style. He's better at PR. How is he not involved in fighting "culture wars" if he heads the organization that is constantly opposing secular egalitarian policies supported by a majority of citizens in multiple countries? He is complicit if not leading the charge to impose narrow religious views on everyone; Catholic or not, religious or not. His popularity among non-Catholics is questionable. Outside Christians it is even more debatable.

Essentially, Dionne is taking the approach that the Catholic Church's hierarchy tends to favor. Ascribe your own baseless personal opinion onto everyone as if it is factual. It isn't. Simply repeating the same bullshit over and over does not make it anymore a part of reality. It just demonstrates how willfully ignorant and delusional theists can be.

"5 Things Christians Should Remember This Election Cycle"

I'm pretty sure that Benjamin Corey means well in his September 17th blog post. A few of his points have some merit, though in a superficial and somewhat self-serving manner. However, he fails to note the most important point for any theist to remember during any election cycle.

The United States of America is NOT a theocracy! We live in a democracy. Religion should not be imposed on anyone. All Americans are free to worship or not as they see fit. Religion has no place in public policy. Period. So all his nonsense about Christian standards and criteria is misguided, even arrogant. He seems to think, like far too many Christians, that he really knows the true Jesus and the essence of Christianity.That there even was/is a Jesus or an essential Christianity is in itself a myth.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I'm not anti-semitic, Salkin is arrogant

Quite a few of Jeffrey Salkin's blog posts have been loaded with all sorts of ridiculous self-serving crap. His recent post, "Say it ain’t so, Bernie!", was particularly irritating. All too often when someone points out how full of shit pieces like this are they get accused of being anti-semitic. Why? Why isn't this viewed the other way around. Salkin seems annoyed that Bernie is not being a good representative of Judaism despite the fact that Sanders has never identified himself as religious. He has identified himself as culturally Jewish, which I'll come back to later. Sanders is running for President, a secular leader. What his religion may or may not be should be irrelevant. Not to Salkin. He seems to think it's perfectly fine to impose his religious standards on someone else. That the religion in question happens to be Judaism is also irrelevant. If a candidate was born to Baptist parents does that mean they should be hounded by another Baptist if they choose not to practice that specific denomination, or any sect/denomination at all? Why should that be seen as a factor in any profession they choose?

Personally I find the "culturally ____ (fill in your faith of choice)" nonsensical. So what if you grew up in a culture saturated by Christianity, Judaism, or whatever? Do you believe it now? Are you practicing it now? It's a cop out. It loans respectability to something that hasn't really earned it. After all, if it was actually worthwhile you wouldn't need the adjective "culturally" before the term itself. You would simply be X. Bernie Sanders is not practicing Judaism. So whatever he may think about Judaism, I see no reason to assume he owes that faith anything. More importantly, as a candidate for the highest elected office he should be expected to serve all US citizens equally. So, no, Jeffrey Salkin, you do not merit any special attention or treatment despite your insistence on it. You are not better than the rest of us. The very notion that Sanders owes you or any others who are practicing Judaism is arrogant, hypocritical, selfish, tribalistic, bigoted, and despicable.

Yup, he's a leech

No doubt you've seen all sorts of fluff pieces about Pope Francis' pending visit to the United States. Have you seen even one that mentions the fact that we tax payers are going to being footing a large chunk of bill? I have not. Instead you occasionally come across pieces like this one: "Secret Service director: No credible threats against Pope Francis." Of course, we will not be passing on that expense to the Catholic Church. Instead of letting one of the wealthiest organizations on the face of the planet pay for it's own propaganda campaigns we get to do it.

As much of an affront to our Constitution as this is (think Separation of Church and State) it is also rather revealing in terms of religious philosophy. What threats can civil authorities protect the "Vicar of god" from? The Pope is supposedly God's representative on Earth. Shouldn't God be protecting him? I want to be clear on the next point, I do not want to see the Pope hurt or killed. That said, why would it be such a big deal to anyone who happens to be religious if the Pope is assassinated? Wouldn't such an occurrence by it's very nature be the will of God? And, being such a holy figure wouldn't he be getting an express ticket to Heaven? Doesn't sound like such a horrible consequence if you really believe in that sort of thing.

Basically, we all get to pay for a representative of one specific church to further spread it's lies and bullshit. The media won't talk about that. They will, however, continue to give the overprivileged pompous bishops and cardinals a venue to pretend their religious liberties are being violated when they can't force their views and opinions on the rest of us even more than they currently get away with. Francis and the rest of the Catholic Hierarchy are hypocritical, dishonest, social and economic leeches.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A pebble becomes a mountain

Morgan Guyton's "Capitalism’s war on the Sabbath" does contain a tiny grain of truth. Sadly and predictably he takes that minuscule point and creates a mountain of arrogance laden nonsense. It is true that the form of capitalism that currently dominates the American economy is not labor friendly in any way. It does not, however, directly oppose the idea of a period of rest. It seek to maximize profit by pushing hour of operation and production as much as possible. If it were possible to do that and allow adequate rest Big Business would be fine with providing that. In practice it isn't possible so it does end up undercutting time off for employees.

This isn't really what Guyton is writing about. He makes it clear early on that is views of the "Sabbath" are very biased and ignorant. The idea of a rest-period is not unique to religion and certainly isn't innately Christian. It is the Christian version that he is passing off as a unique and universal concept. Sunday is not the holy day for Jews or Muslims. So, even within the Abrahamic faiths Guyton's take on the Sabbath is half-assed. This bit of nonsense isn't even among the most egregious bits of absurdity penned by him. There are far too many to note them all so I'll just quote one as an example.

"God does not make arbitrary rules for the sake of his honor and glory; God’s commands are for the sake of our flourishing..."

Apparently, he's never paid attention to the two version of the Ten Commandments, or for that matter, many of the Mosaic laws. God himself, according to scripture, makes it clear that many of the rules and rituals are expressly for honoring God. Yes, in fact God does make arbitrary rules. Those rules are interpreted differently not only among the various religions but also within Christianity.