Archive for March, 2010

Don’t laugh, this is serious

rabbitpirate
rabbitpirate
Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:44 pm by rabbitpirate

The child sex abuse scandals that, if I may channel Th1sWasATriumph for a moment, are currently pounding the Catholic Church in the arse* are no laughing matter. This sort of institutionalized rape is an abomination of the worst kind and if the real world actually mattered at all to the Pope and the Popettes then they would be stringing up the perpetrators by their little bishops in Vatican square.

 

But still even in the midst of such a sickening story unintentional humour can be found. For example take a recent article from the Times Online website about the effect of the scandal in Germany. The article is fairly well written but I can’t help but feel that they could have found a more appropriately named journalist to write it.

 

Ah I did laugh. Anyway I promise my next post will have a bit more substance than this one.

 

* I was so tempted to use the “Impacted by Jesus” line here but managed to control the urge.

All Hail Satan, Lord Of The Scots

Th1sWasATriumph
Th1sWasATriumph
Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:16 pm by Th1sWasATriumph

You’ve really got to admire Catholicism sometimes. I mean, really admire that thing. Not in a pretty way, of course. No. Not in the way that sunsets or elderly couples or kittens on springs or rubber corsets might be admired. More in the sense that I might admire, with horrified fascination, a trembling knot of worms drawn reluctantly from their gastric nest. Or a giant centipede blindly destroying a mouse. Or a botfly larva emerging from the withered husk of its host. I mean, none of us could profess a liking for Hitler but damn, did he get shit done.

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William Lane Craig: Lord of the Groundhogs

Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:53 pm by TheYoungAndRestless

But, if life ends at the grave, it makes no difference whether one has lived as a Stalin or as a saint. As the Russian writer Feodor Dostoevsky rightly said: “If if there is immortality, then all things are permitted.” Given the finality of death, it really does not matter how you live.

William Lane Craig, of course, repeats an oft misquoted passage from The Brother Karamazov and for a professional philosopher, as he routinely claims to be, one would think he’d know better; likewise, there’s something about Mr. Craig’s suggestion that ‘professional’ legitimatizes ‘philosopher’ that leads me to believe that he shouldn’t be the former and isn’t the latter. It’s difficult to attribute an author the philosophical views of the characters he creates, but Mr. Craig probably depends less on the person of Dostoevsky than the content of the sentence, the philosophy itself. Ivan Karamazov was certainly concerned with the implications of immortality of the soul, both as a matter of metaphysics and as a matter of belief, as Constance Garnett’s translation suggests: “If you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover,” Karamazov continues, “Nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful, even cannibalism. […] For every individual […] who does not believe in God or immortality, the moral law of nature must immediately be changed into the exact contrary of the former religious law, and that egoism, even to crime, must become not only lawful but even recognised as the inevitable, the most rational, even honourable outcome of his position.” For the sake of drawing the distinction, if Karamozov, in this passage, is concerned with belief in existence of God or the non-existence of God as the cause of moral actions, then we can allay his concerns with empirical certainty: atheism does not cause immorality. But, this concern about the belief in God suggests to me that Karamazov might imagine that there would be no difference between believing in God in a universe in which God happens to exist or believing in that same God as matter of actual fiction; in either universe, whether there is actually a God, belief in God is what actually fosters moral behavior, which I don’t think is Mr. Craig’s contention, nor would it stand to evidence. Rather, I think Mr. Craig and those others who misuse this quote from Dostoevsky are suggesting that, considering those two universes, the universe without a God may contain moral actions, but those moral actions are arbitrary and meaningless and the people in that universe without a God might just as well go around killing each other – it doesn’t really matter. I’ve never entirely understood this argument beyond reading it as a brute assertion; it seems like the meaningless of moral actions in a universe without a God in part stems from the fact that moral laws would then simply be contrived through the power of the few or the many, but also from the fact that any sort of consequence we might experience can be escaped through death into annihilation. I’m not sure why agreed upon rules are meaningless and, more importantly, I’m not sure why Karamazov, and Craig, I would imagine, would suppose that people, left to our own devices without God to give us rules and reward us eternally for following them or breaking the slightest among them, would descend into cannibalism and then what… dogs and cats living together. (more…)

A Hitherto Unheeded Level Of Tact

Th1sWasATriumph
Th1sWasATriumph
Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:40 pm by Th1sWasATriumph

Usually I refrain from pouncing on superstitious or irrational beliefs for entirely selfish reason. If a woman mentions an interest in astrology, I’m more than likely to tone down or censor entirely any strident protests along the lines of “You what? ” unless I have no superficial manly interest in her at all. For the record, it would take a brick wall in a dress before I stopped wanting to make with the penis.

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Is Brock Lawley a Muslim?

Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:24 pm by TheYoungAndRestless

In 2008, we woke from our national nightmare of Dominionism to the statesmanship and presidency of Barak Obama, and I, like most of the world, recognizing the need for courage, vision, and purpose in the face of deep-rooted, systemic problems in the American political and economic system, braced ourselves with a measure of relief and hope.

We knew that the project before our President would be uphill and waged with unsensationalized reason against an ideologically entrenched and resentful establishment; our hopes were high and we recognize that it is a bad system that makes bad politics of good policy.

But my patriotism is, for the first time in my adult life, undemure and I continue to see in his gestures and method a character of sincerity and strength to which I aspire.

An early gesture which struck my attention at the time was President Obama’s decision to include on his first international trip as President, a stop in the Islamic nation of Turkey, speaking before the Grand National Assembly in Ankara, April 6, 2009.

We had suspected since the attacks of September 11, 2001 that a quiet racism had intruded into our national discourse, bolstered by fear and theological ideology, and we knew that the mere act of presenting himself to an Islamic nation would carry a symbolism that indeed represented those of us with Muslim friends.

And because we really do desire ‘friendship with all nations,’ as Thomas Jefferson put it, we were pleased to hear our President equivocally honor the Islamic culture and civilization.

“We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim-majority country — I know, because I am one of them.”

For Barack Obama, presenting American friendship and well-wishes to the Turkish people meant exposing himself to certain criticisms, some based on what might become Obama’s shifting of military and diplomatic strategy in the Middle East, but most based on brute racism: a preposterous fear that Barak Obama is secretly a Muslim.

That racism found acute expression on YouTube; recall the speech to the Turkish Grand National Assembly:

“The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim-majority country — I know, because I am one of them.”

One YouTuber edited this very sentence as follows:

“The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans […] I know, because I am one of them.”

Most noted for his plagiarism, Brock Lawley is a suave and vain fundamentalist and his plagiarism, which, while being well documented, persists on his channel, is but one of his behaviors which illustrate what I would call uncomplicated immorality.

We see now his willingness to distort quotations, which is to say, to lie and because the apparent intent of this lie is to portray Obama as a Muslim – as if that were a bad thing – we see now his apparent racism.

The larger problem is always this: according to Christianity, to have faith in God and to love God is to love truth and reason for faith and love impart truth and there can be no genuine conflict between revealed truths and the knowledge of Man; according to Christianity, to fear truth is the very absence of faith and that is the fear which begins in self-loathing and ends chaos and crime.

But your Honour, it’s funny

rabbitpirate
rabbitpirate
Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:54 pm by rabbitpirate

So have you heard this story? Harry Taylor, a 59-year-old philosophy tutor and “militant” atheist, has been arrested and charged with three counts of religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress under the Crime and Disorder Act. His crime? Leaving humorous cartoons poking fun at various religions in the prayer room of John Lennon airport in Liverpool. In court the cartoons were described to the jury as being “sexually abusive and sexually unpleasant” but for the life of me I can’t see where they are getting this from based upon the description of the cartoons listed in the Telegraph.

 

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