You better get yourself together

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“It wears me out to see two men together. It does something to me.”

“They are among the kindest, gentlest people I know. They are also among the most unwanted and unrecognized. But they are determined — and their numbers are growing.”

“Evangelicalism isn’t just a system of beliefs. It’s a subculture striving to be a counterculture.”

We truly are Christian warriors, Christian soldiers, and for us as Americans to stand our ground and to firmly send a message to Washington that our nation is about more than just some secular laws.”

“If there is a Christian Right buzzword and dog whistle Perry missed, I sure didn’t see it.”

The job of POTUS is an odd one. Sometimes it involves listening to country singers cover John Lennon songs while you’re wearing a tuxedo and sitting in between your mother and your wife and realizing that your every reaction is being recorded, broadcast and scrutinized. A very odd job is all I’m saying.

Why the disparity between partisan support by the bishops, and by other Catholics?

“Take your severance pay, contact your deacons, and turn in your resignation.”

“The nerve of Planned Parenthood, targeting minority populations for health clinics! Why are there no Planned Parenthood facilities in wealthy areas?”

This was the best statistic they could come up with?

“The broad acceptance of evolution has led more directly, of course, to such other evils as antibiotics, gene therapy, and a basic understanding of biology, but why quibble?”

Despite the evidence of this theory being fully debunked and labeled a myth, the church continues to call it Truth.”

“Emergency contraception also known as the morning after pill does not cause abortion nor does it interfere with an established pregnancy.”

Who needs science when you have Linda Harvey?

“Sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its smallest extent ever recorded, smashing the previous record minimum and prompting warnings of accelerated climate change.”

Artists always get the ladies …”

Church Sign Epic Fails: Reader Submissions

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  • Worthless Beast

    Oh, the church sign fails… the tombstone one makes me sad.  It’s the “finality” of the message.  If it was in her last wishes to have that done, it’s sad that she can’t see the tackiness of it and change her mind – and if her relations did that to the tombstone, she had no say in it. 

    I live next to a cemetary. Most of the tombstones are tasteful, but there are a few cringeworthy ones. I thought the worst I saw was a clip-art-tastic engraving of a kitten with a ball of yarn.  Some of the colorized American flag stones are a big glaring.  What is worse is the stuff that well-meaning folks leave on graves, not just flowers and lights, but lawn gnome-type stuff…  And it just makes me sad, cringing for people who cannot cringe for themselves anymore.

  • Lori

    Maybe the person really liked lawn gnomes. Some people are tacky as all get out. Others have somewhat off-kilter senses of humor. If I was going to have a grave* FSM only knows what my friends might get a notion to leave on it. My friends don’t really go in for that sort of thing, but you never know and if they were leaving something they thought I’d like the chances are the next visitor to pass by would find it at least a little odd.

    *I won’t, unless someone really screws up. I’ve asked to be cremated and my ashes scattered.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    I, for one, believe there aren’t enough tacky gravestones.  There’s nothing worse than an austere, maudlin cemetery.  If someone was a goofball in life, I say, let ’em remind us of their silliness after they’re gone.

    Then again, I come from a strange family.  My parents keep my brother’s ashes in a cookie jar shaped like a frog in a Santa suit.

  • Worthless Beast

    Ever see documentaries or travel shows that features that church in Prague made of bones?  Decorated all over the place with bones?  – Something like that is what I’d like to have done with me, if it didn’t upset my family, which it probably would.

    I’ve had two people express to me that if they die before I do that they want me to paint their skulls.  (I make art with naturally-fallen animal remains, legally obtained).  I told them both that I “don’t work with humans, sorry.” 

    There’s tacky, then theres’ bizarre. I prefer bizarre. XD.  As long as your brother would have enjoyed being in a cookie jar, more power to your family. Cute.

  • Kiba

    There’s a cemetery just outside of Downtown Dallas (it’s on McKinney Ave) that I like to wander through. There’s a mausoleum there that I find funny just for the family name on it which is Slaughter. It’s a slaughter house….

  • Jenny Islander

    I recently learned that many of the cemeteries in and around New York City were built as tourist attractions. They were large green expanses of relative coolness and quietness, so people would take the trolley or the train to see them. Rich families built their mausoleums with lots of sculptures to show off their wealth or accomplishments; there was an Egyptologist, for example, who interspersed Egyptian and Christian symbols all around his tomb, apparently without a qualm. Sometimes there are heartbreaking stories behind the fancy monuments. One girl whose name I forget was apparently one of those child prodigies who don’t fall off the vine in adulthood–except that she was killed in a traffic accident at 17, as she was beginning multiple artistic careers, so her family built an astonishing neo-Gothic-rococo thing that incorporated the number 17 as many times as possible, and her fiance, who killed himself out of grief, was buried nearby with an angel on top of his headstone kneeling and gazing at her resting place.  Boosters added assorted things to the cemeteries–did you know that if you go to the edge of one NYC graveyard and stand next to a statue of Minerva, she’s saluting the Statue of Liberty several miles away?  On a humbler scale there are graves from the ’20s and ’30s that have flattering photos of the deceased burned into weatherproof porcelain, so you look at the dates and just above them a nice lady in a picturesque hat is smiling out at you.

    It’s all very historical and some of the individual monuments are quite attractive, but the overall effect is goofy.

  • Lori

    Totally OT: If there’s anyone in the LA area who needs a free medical, dental or vision check-up Care Harbor is doing an event at the LA Arena this coming Thursday-Sunday. You need to get a wristband in advance and those are being handed out tomorrow. People will begin lining up when the parking lot opens at 7 AM. You have to pick up your wristband yourself because they are non-transferable.

    If you don’t need the service, but you have time to help others who do, they’re still in need of volunteers.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/23/1135659/-Free-Health-Care-LA-Sports-Arena

  • Green Eggs and Ham

     As a Canadian every time I see an announcement like this I am always shocked.  I know you have a very messed up system, but these announcements always remind me how much.  I truly hope (and if I were a praying man, pray) that the ACA is the thin edge of the wedge to universal health care in the US.

  • Lori

    As a USian, so am I. It’s a source of both pain and embarrassment that we have to do this. I have no idea how anyone can look at this and think that our current medical system is acceptable, let alone the best in the world.

  • Fusina

    As a USian, so am I. It’s a source of both pain and embarrassment that
    we have to do this. I have no idea how anyone can look at this and think
    that our current medical system is acceptable, let alone the best in
    the world.

     Yeah, what this says. I have cousins in Canada, and friends in GB, so I have a good source of what Universal health care looks like to them, and it is nothing like the picture–If I ever meet up with the “genius” who came up with the ob/gyn handling emergency room oncology patients, I am going to give them a smackdown they will never forget. I’ve talked to emergency room docs (I have a “grandma” who spends a bit of time there)–not many ob/gyns working there. GPs, on the other hand…

  • LoneWolf343

    I’ve noticed that creative wording in the 5-hour energy commercials, too. It’s even less subtle than the corn lobby propaganda saying that “corn sugar is just as good as cane sugar” where they segway from talking about HFCS to “corn sugar” without actually saying they are the same thing.

  • P J Evans

    they segway from talking about HFCS to “corn sugar” without actually saying they are the same thing

    The USDA has ruled that they can’t call HFCS ‘corn sugar’, because sugar is crystalline. (It is a nit-picky definition, but it works.)

  • LoneWolf343

     I thought it was the FDA…in fact, I thought I mentioned that. Ah, well.

  • P J Evans

     USDA defines ingredients and even recipes – ketchup, for example, has to have sugar in it. Honey can’t have anything in it but honey, or it gets called ‘honey syrup’ or ‘honey product’. (And it can’t be ultra-filtered, either, if you want to claim it’s ‘natural’.)

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     I’ve noticed that creative wording in the 5-hour energy commercials, too.

    Yeah.  I’d been reading something about the guy who made bacon a breakfast food right before 5 Hour Energy started that ad campaign.  He pretty much pioneered the “doctor study” form of advertising.  They basically called up doctors and said, “Would you say it’s better for people to eat a hearty breakfast?”  They then followed up with, “Would you say that bacon is a hearty source of nutrients?”

    Blam.  That became 4 out of 5 doctors recommending bacon for breakfast.  As weaselly as that is, the 5 Hour Energy thing makes it seem completely and totally honest in every way.

  • SisterCoyote

     I hate the 5 Hour Energy commercials so, so, so very much. “Caffeine? Sugar? Guarana? Tsk tsk. Yeah, except that guarana is just a caffeine-containing fruit, much like, oh, I don’t know, coffee. “No crash*!” *and-by-no-crash-we-mean-no-sugar-crash-you’ll-still-crash-from-the-rest-of-it.

    Shut up, 5 Hour Energy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

     The one that’s been on my mind lately is “part of this complete nutritious breakfast.”  Who’s the marketing genius who came up with that one, and how did it come to be so consistently echoed in everyone’s advertising?  Hell, I could call my usual glass of Dr Pepper (complete with plenty of HFCS, sadly) “part of a complete nutritious breakfast,” as long as everything else added up.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     The one that’s been on my mind lately is “part of this complete
    nutritious breakfast.”  Who’s the marketing genius who came up with that
    one, and how did it come to be so consistently echoed in everyone’s
    advertising?

    I don’t know, but that brings to mind an old Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin points out the Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs are part of a complete nutritious breakfast and Hobbes starts listing off all the other stuff the kid on the box is eating.

    And, hey, it’s on TVTropes.  Hope no one was planning on having a productive day…

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I have heard (and this is probably apocryphal) that the rather ludicrous commercial for “Head-On” was the result of an issue where they were forced to cut all the false or unsupportable claims they’d wanted to make about the product, and with what was left,  their only choice to fill out the twenty seconds was to simply shout “Head On! Apply Directly to the Forehead!” over and over.

    (For the uninitiated, “Head-On” was a homeopathic topical headache “remedy”.  As it is scientifically impossible for such a thing to work, in about three different ways, they could not actually make any claims about it working  under truth-in-advertising laws)

  • Vermic

     

    I have heard (and this is probably apocryphal) that the rather ludicrous commercial for “Head-On” was the result of an issue where they were forced to cut all the false or unsupportable claims they’d wanted to make about the product, and with what was left,  their only choice to fill out the twenty seconds was to simply shout “Head On! Apply Directly to the Forehead!” over and over.

    The story I heard (which is almost but not quite as interesting) is that they were working with focus groups to decide which marketing concept to go with, and as a control there was one ad which was just the name of the product repeated over and over.  The control ended up testing the highest, by a large margin (as measured by how well the audience remembered it, which is the primary metric of success in advertising), so they used it instead.”Head-On: Apply Directly to the Forehead!” is obnoxious, but doggone it, it’s stuck in our brains, and that makes it, from a marketing POV, a Good Commercial.  We can only thank our lucky stars that every commercial isn’t like that yet.

  • AnonymousSam

    Especially since the Head-On commercials are extremely short when compared to most commercials. Imagine having to suffer through twelve iterations of this between each five minute segment of show.

    “McDonald’s: Apply directly to the mouth!”
    “Friskies: Apply directly to the cat!”
    “Old Spice Body Wash: Apply directly to the pits!”
    “Trojan: Apply directly to the–[Commercial abruptly ends, lawsuits ensue]”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    “McDonald’s: Apply Directly To The Mouth” would not be an entirely unexpected marketing ploy from the company thatsomehow managed to think that “Yeah, I’d Hit It” would make a good slogan for marketing food-like product.

    “Apply Directly to the Cat” is a marketing slogan I would totally get behind.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Every time I see an ad say something was “clinically tested” I wonder if that phrase has any real meaning at all.

  • The_L1985

     Contains a Clinically Tested Ingredient!!

    We’re not going to tell you what the tests found out about it, though.

  • Ross Thompson

    Every time I see an ad say something was “clinically tested” I wonder if that phrase has any real meaning at all.

    http://xkcd.com/1096/

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     At the risk of starting an OT argument, I will make the idle observation that my understanding is that based on current science there’s no reason to think that HFCS is any worse for you than any other sugar, and (if you’re worried about fructose) better than some of the “natural” alternatives like agave nectar and concentrated fruit juice.  :-)

    (E.g. an interesting blog post on this topic here: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/high-fructose-corn-syrup/ )

    Now, HFCS is bad for you because it’s sugar, but there appears to be no reason to think it’s worse than any other sugar except to the extent that its cheapness means it can be stuck into basically everything.

  • AnonymousSam

    I oppose it simply because it comes from corn, and we already overuse corn in so very many ways in a vain effort to justify the absurd amount of overproduction that Monsanto engages in, thanks to government subsidies.

    So in an indirect way, using high-fructose corn syrup is supporting one of the most evil companies in the world. I’d rather just stick to a low sugar diet to spite them. And, uh, because it’s marginally healthier. ^_^;

  • AnonymousSam

    “If evolution is true, why help the poor?”

    I want to know if the man who came up with that is a Republican.

    Then I want to hit him.

  • J_Enigma32

     I had to think a little bit about the “if evolution is true, then why help the poor”.

    As
    near as I can place this epic non-sequatior, it ties into the fact that
    these dense, benighted motherfuckers continually, and purposefully,
    confuse actual evolution with Social Darwinism –  i.e., “Survival of the
    Fittest.” The whole, “I haz muscle, ergo, I can beatz up youse cuz
    that’s how evolution works.” I’m convinced anymore than this is
    deliberate on their part, because they’re boneheaded rubes and refuse to
    listen to anyone who tries to correct them.

    It’s not like these obtuse blockheads need Social
    Darwinism or anything to justify not caring for the poor; this is just
    projection. They do just fine with Jesus and their Prosperity Gospel.

  • friendly reader

    2 quick thoughts, then a long one:

    1) What if the one soldier who’s life you’re weighing against a million Muslims is a Muslim?
    2) As an East Asian Studies major preparing for her N3 test in Japanese proficiency next month, that bit on Chinese characters supposedly containing clues to the Bible just plain hurt to read.

    Now the longer one:
    3)

    [E]vangelicals are those who know where to find a Jesus poster and who show their children Veggie Tales.

    This is where the term “evangelical” and “evangelical subculture” starts to get very confusing for me, because mainline Protestants do a lot of this stuff too!

    Veggie Tales is very popular in the Sunday Schools of mainline churches where I’ve worked or attended, be they Lutheran or UCC. Why? Because as she says, Veggie Tales is a well-made, hilarious franchise that teaches moral lessons without being overbearingly moralistic.

    WWJD bracelets were a fad for a time at my youth group, and it was used as a conversation starters for small groups.

    Bible version of Apples to Apples? A fun way of spicing up what might otherwise be a dull Bible study for your high school and middle school classes.

    Contemporary Christian music? We listen to it. Usually on CD rather than the radio, but a lot of us have a band or two that we really like.

    What might make mainline groups different in this scenario is that we don’t just show our kids Veggie Tales or play Christian games or listen to Christian music, and my dad only wore his “Confirmed Lutheran” shirt (from the Old Lutheran website) at church events (he got photographed in it at a synod assembly).

    The notion that these things are somehow the exclusive domain of evangelicals, whether Libby Anne intends to or not, plays into the narrative that mainline Protestants leave their Christianity at the church door. That there’s nothing in our outside life that might set us apart as being Christian. That we’re the secular sell-outs.

    But we get involved in the Christian pop culture too, and we have our own tribal markers, though in the ELCA we tend to treat them with a sense of self-deprecating humor (seriously, check out the Old Lutheran site).

    Heck, if you went to my parents’ house, it wouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to realize we were Christian, given the art on our walls and the books on our shelves and the music in our CD rack, but we’re only evangelical in the original sense of the term – Lutheran.

    I dunno, I’m having trouble explaining what it is about the article that irritated me. Can somebody read between my lines to give me ideas?

  • Carstonio

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m just like an RTC parent who tries to keep his children isolated from secular influences. I know that Veggie Tales is aimed at such parents, but to me it seems like stealth marketing for Christianity, selling the religion to kids under the guise of moral lessons. I have a similar reaction to the FamilyLife book about Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. It doesn’t help that we have a few relatives who try to give these items to our kids.

  • friendly reader

     See, what you call “selling the religion to kids” is what some of us call “raising our children in our religious tradition.” I know there are some people who believe you should somehow raise your kid religion-neutral, but I don’t think that’s possible nor particularly recommendable. To be clear: I’m not saying you should force children to believe something and never let them question, but yes, parents should be free to teach their children their religious tradition. That’s especially important for groups in the past who have had that right denied to them, like Native Americans.

    Nor is it “stealth” at all. It’s very much about Christianity, what with the humorous re-tellings of Bible stories. If you’re not Christian, no, Veggie Tales isn’t really for you. Skip it, there are excellent non-Christian programs for children. Indeed, beyond Veggie Tales most Christian programming for kids is pretty abysmal, which is part of why it’s popular in denominations who otherwise avoid that kind of thing.

    Nor is it aimed only at parents who want to isolate their kids from “secular influences.” And maybe that’s what I was getting upset at in that article – this notion that something I genuinely like and have seen used in churches that are in no way evangelical get labeled as a sign of the Evil Tribal Evangelicalism. I mean,  if there are some blatantly creationist, patriarchal, homophobic Veggie Tale songs and videos out there that I haven’t seen, let me know. But otherwise…?

  • Carstonio

     I never said that parents shouldn’t be free to teach their religious traditions to their children. I’m describing my own reaction to Veggie Tales. It’s reasonable for me to suspect that the show’s creators also want children who aren’t Christian to join the religion, whether or not this actually influences the show’s content.

    And yes, from the little I’ve seen, Veggie Tales isn’t pushing Evil Tribal Evangelicalism. Two things did disturb me – the whitewashing of the siege of Jericho in one coloring book, and one video with the message “When you lie,  it hurts God’s feelings.”  One of my kids pointed out that there’s no god in Veggie Tales.

    In our home, we make an effort to educate our children about the ways that for-profit advertisers try to get their money. Anything that resembles an attempt to convert is more troubling, at least for me, because it seems like an attempt to get one’s soul, metaphorically. Note that I’m not necessarily describing anyone’s actual motivations. Religious belief is so personal that if I tried to change someone else’s belief, I would feel like I was destroying hir identity.

  • friendly reader

    Religious belief is so personal that if I tried to change someone else’s
    belief, I would feel like I was destroying hir identity.

    I dunno, I feel it’d be pretty damn important to change someone’s belief in, say, homosexuality being a sin or the world created in 7 days or that women are inferior to men or any number of other religious beliefs that are damaging to people. Just because I think parents should be allowed to teach their children these things doesn’t mean that we in society don’t get to tell them they’re crap.

    I don’t know whether Veggie Tales sees itself as a conversion tool; I always saw it as more of a Sunday School activity.

    And yes, they do sometimes whitewash Bible stories; Esther features “sent to the island of perpetual tickling” as a substitute for “execution,” for example. There’s a long tradition of toning down Bible stories for the youngest set. I admit I always feel sort of ambiguous on that. On the one hand, it can definitely set kids up for a shock when they’re older and realize the full version is much bloodier. Should we save all the more disturbing stories for when they’re older? Or should we establish the lessons we see behind them first and incrementally introduce them to the violence? That’s a valid criticism of the series, but also of a lot of children’s programming (the PBS show Wishbone whitewashed the heck out every piece of classical literature they covered).

  • Carstonio

    The Jericho whitewashing was troubling specifically because of the tribalism inherent in the story. Very, very similar to the whitewashing in children’s cowboys-and-Indians stories. It’s not necessarily about sanitizing the violence – in fact, I wonder if the unvarnished versions would cause many children to reject the tribalism.

    And yes, I would make the same distinction with beliefs that damage people, particularly if they cause the people to harm others or harm their society. My point is about treating others as if it’s wrong to adhere to any religion other than one’s own, whether or not one actually believes that. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg if someone believes in many gods, one god, or no god. But it does if they push otherizing of gays or ignorance about science or sexism barely disguised as gender essentialism. Attempts to win converts implicitly reject that distinction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

    There was an episode of MLP that featured a heavily whitewashed cowboys-and-indians story! It felt a little uncomfortable.

  • LoneWolf343

     I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought so, thought being a Canadian show, I cut them a little slack.

  • The_L1985

     “Should we save all the more disturbing stories for when they’re older?
    Or should we establish the lessons we see behind them first and
    incrementally introduce them to the violence?”

    We should definitely be careful, regardless.  Pretending that there isn’t anything violent or sexual in the Bible is, in effect, lying to your kids.  Letting them know that what you’re telling them is the “kids’ version” can help prepare them for the fact that the original isn’t quite PG-rated.

    (Meanwhile, I read Bulfinch at age 7.  Think back to the Greek mythology you know.  Now add Io, Phaeton, and Actaeon to the mix.  Again, I read them at age 7.)

    “That’s a valid criticism
    of the series, but also of a lot of children’s programming (the PBS show
    Wishbone whitewashed the heck out every piece of classical literature
    they covered).”

    Would you want a 5-year-old repeating Mercutio’s various dirty jokes when he’s not old enough to understand what they mean, though?  (I loved Wishbone, primarily because it compressed the “meat” of all these great works of literature into 30-minute TV shows.  I think it’s a great way to get kids interested in the originals.)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     When I was a kid I always got bored in church.  When I was bored, I read.  When I was bored in church, I read the Bible because that’s the only thing my Mom would let me read in Church.

    Later she took a Bible study course that must have involved reading big chunks of the Bible and she commented to me, “I’d known some of the stuff that was in the Bible, maybe I wouldn’t have let you read it when you were a kid.” :-)

    (One of my favorite books was Leviticus.  I don’t know why — I gather many people find it boring — but all the things they considered unclean really interested me.  They sure didn’t like mildew back then, huh?)

  • EllieMurasaki

    One of my favorite books was Leviticus. I don’t know why — I gather many people find it boring — but all the things they considered unclean really interested me. They sure didn’t like mildew back then, huh?
    Who likes mildew now?

  • Alicia

    Far-left liberals bent on destroying the very foundations of our society, that’s who? God made Adam and Steve, not Adam and Cladosporum! 

  • EllieMurasaki

    A ‘like’ does not adequately convey the fact that for about twenty seconds there I was laughing too hard to breathe.

  • banancat

    (One of my favorite books was Leviticus.  I don’t know why — I gather
    many people find it boring — but all the things they considered unclean
    really interested me.  They sure didn’t like mildew back then, huh?)

    I’ve read Leviticus and found it fascinating for a different reason.  It’s so ritualized the way they deal with everything.  I have fairly severe OCD and the whole thing felt so familiar, with removing X number of bricks and waiting X days and if this, then that and so on.  There’s also tons of fear about contamination and so much ritual to deal with it.  I can’t diagnose someone else, especially someone who lived thousands of years ago, but I have wondered if many of these laws were invented by one or a few religious leaders who had OCD.  They start with something reasonable and then turn it into something so ritualized.  I would have totally followed all of those rituals if I had lived in that society, and I would have done it perfectly.

    Sometimes I also wonder that about the more extreme Kosher laws too, where dishes have to be washed in separate dishwashers to avoid contamination.  That seems like something I would do if I believed it was wrong to mix two foods.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Sometimes I also wonder that about the more extreme Kosher laws too, where dishes have to be washed in separate dishwashers to avoid contamination.

    What do people do when they want to keep strict kosher but can’t afford to live somewhere with more than one dishwasher? The friends I stayed with over the weekend haven’t got any dishwashers, because all the houses that had a dishwasher are way out of their price range, and seems to me a second dishwasher would bump the price up as much as the first dishwasher does.

  • Joshua

    Wash by hand, surely. In different sinks or something I guess. However people did it before dishwashers.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     IIRC that’s one reason my dissertation adviser and her family were vegetarian — you don’t have to worry about mixing the meat and dairy if you never cook or serve meat.

  • LoneWolf343

     Religious belief is supposed to be intellectual, not emotional or an other kind of essential attribute. Religious beliefs aren’t who you are, it’s what you think is right. One would think that religious beliefs would stem naturally from the essential person, but they don’t.

  • The_L1985

     I say, let them read Christian-themed stuff, but also talk to them from time to time about it.  Watch the VeggieTales video or whatever with your kids, then see what they have to say about it.

    Make sure that they understand that the maker of the video had more goals in mind than just making kids laugh.  Tell them that it’s OK to believe whatever you want to believe about gods and angels and all of that sort of thing, as long as your beliefs don’t cause harm to other people.

    I personally have copies of the Chronicles of Narnia series, and His Dark Materials.  I fully intend to talk to my kids about both, but I’m not going to let the fact that one is Christian and the other is anti-religious stop me from letting my kids see multiple viewpoints and think for themselves.

    If you only ever see one viewpoint, regardless of what that viewpoint is, you can’t think for yourself because you don’t know that there are other ways to think.  I know from my own experience.

  • Carstonio

     My kids have read only the first book in the Narnia series, and they don’t know enough about the Bible to notice how, say, the sequence involving Aslan’s sacrifice is almost the Stations of the Cross. (The depiction of the White Witch’s jeering followers seemed like a vague slam at the Jews who “rejected” Christ.) I had misgivings initially that I didn’t voice to the kids, because the only people I knew who had read the series were hardcore fundamentalists. My kids haven’t shown any interest in the rest of the series, although they’ve devoured Harry Potter and are currently going through Lord of the Rings.

    When it comes to religion, we usually tell the kids that some people believe in X and that’s not what we believe, and both are OK as long as one isn’t pushing something on the other.  I agree about multiple viewpoints, and we don’t deliberately shield them from anything that’s religious in tone. Still, there’s a difference between a religious tone and a proselytizing tone or a tribalist tone. There are plenty of people in the world who will not give up until everyone joins their religions, or who turn religion into Us versus Them, and the world shouldn’t have to be like that. I’ve had experiences with my family of origin where they clearly didn’t respect my right to make my own life decisions, and anything that resembles proselytizing or religious tribalism feels the same way to me. Like if people really respected the individual’s right to hold a particular religious stance as long as it didn’t affect others, then they wouldn’t even have an opinion about that stance.

  • The_L1985

     Honestly, the only Narnia book that I find particularly problematic (so long as you talk to your kids) is The Last Battle.  Even as a kid, I saw a clear difference between Muslims and Calormenes, for example.  BTW, the Witch’s army mocking Aslan is supposed to be a direct analogy to the mockery of the officials who scourged Jesus.  It doesn’t have to be anti-Judaism-in-general. :)

    Just talk to your kids about whatever they read, and they’re not likely to go too far wrong.  And as you’ve noticed, they’re going to enjoy whatever books or movies they want instead of just watching/reading what you, specifically, expect them to read.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I just found the Last Battle to be depressing, really. I keep wondering why I never replace it, then I re-read it, and I realize why. It’s just not a really uplifting book.

  • Joshua

    I loved it as a teenager. And still do. I find it uplifting, after all the death and oppression.

    But then, I like BSG and Dollhouse and stuff too.

  • LoneWolf343

     “I had misgivings initially that I didn’t voice to the kids, because the
    only people I knew who had read the [Narnia] series were hardcore
    fundamentalists.”

    Eh, that’s tricky. The quirk is that while many fundamentalists may read at least some of Lewis, they really don’t understand what they are reading, or suppress the “disturbing” parts.

  • The_L1985

     Or edit them out completely.  I was disappointed when the Bacchus sequence–my favorite part of the book–was cut out of the Disney/Walden version of Prince Caspian.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the parts the movie does add, but the idea of Caspian being reunited with his old nurse was so touching that I wanted to see how it would look on the big screen. She was practically a mother to him.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking of editing…

    Don’t get me started on Dawn Treader (-_-)

  • LoneWolf343

     Hilarious, isn’t it? “Go collect seven swords so you may defeat the Dark Water–I mean, Dark Island! Also, the island is really green and resembles a fart.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I hope they stay true to the book for the Silver Chair. That book is my favorite, and the BBC version really shows some polish (by comparison to, like, Prince Caspian, which you can tell suffers from the budgetary limits the beeb had to work with).

  • Tricksterson

    AFAIK there’s no plans for a film version of The Silver Chair  Have you heard different?  It was my favorite of the books, if only for Puddleglum.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Damn, my info was faulty then. I remember checking the IMDb like a year+ ago and seeing stuff about the Silver Chair, but it looks like (as LW343 has said) they’ve shelved that one. :-(

  • LoneWolf343

     We’re not getting another one, I imagine. Disney had already dumped it before it went to distribution (probably because they saw what a horrible turd it was,) and was snatched up my Warner Bros, who is probably regretting that decision. I liked none of the movies, but Dawn Treader was the Highlander 2 of the series.

    Of course, Highlander churned out 3 more movies and a television series after Highlander 2, so maybe I am shooting myself in the foot with that analogy.

  • LoneWolf343

     The Narnia movies are actually a trigger subject for me. Sufficed it say, the first one angered me, the second on bored me, and the last one was so awful that I could only shake my head and laugh, and that is going to be the last one. No way that franchise would bounce back from the mess which was Dawn Treader.

  • The_L1985

    I’ve only seen the first few minutes of Dawn Treader, when it  was on TV.  (I had either church with my parents or some kind of appointment–I forget which–and didn’t see much past the rather well-rendered scene of the painting “coming to life.”)  But I personally loved the first one, and thought Caspian was OK.

    If the 3rd is as bad as you say, though, I may just sit it out.  Still no word on The Silver Chair being made into a movie, so you’re probably right about the franchise dying.  (Honestly, though, I think The Horse and His Boy needs to be given a chance–it’s never been made into a movie, and if handled carefully and delicately, it could be quite a hit.  Just need to make the Calormenes more obviously Not Real Arabs.)

  • LoneWolf343

     Here is the plot of Dawn Treader: Caspian and the crew of the Dawn Treader must collect seven “ancient” swords of Narnia to destroy the Dark Island. Here, I had written some notes on the at one of my art galleries, and you should be able to see it. You can infer it’s badness from there.

    http://lonewolf777.deviantart.com/journal/#/d3ojhqo

  • LoneWolf343

     Hmm, reading the end of that, it’s interesting how my thoughts on it changed over time. I suppose I should clarify that Dawn Treader was “So Bad, It’s Hilarious.”

  • The_L1985

     …WHAT?

    How could they have changed the plot that much?  The first 2 films didn’t stray from their plotlines!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, god the serpent. I shamelessly had my hand in front of my eyes and was like “Can I look no– NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE… now? NO-.. oh, thank god, they killed it dead.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Beeb versions of the Lion Witch & Wardrobe, Dawn Treader, and Silver Chair (esp SC) were pretty good. The Beeb version of Prince Caspian? Not so much.

    The new remakes of LWW and PC are both excellent, though I didn’t like the elongation of time they put into the movie remake of Prince Caspian (I guess they didn’t believe only a few hundred or a thousand years was long enough!).

    As I said the movie of Dawn Treader, while technically excellent, had numerous changes made to the plot which…. nnnyeah, not so memorable for that reason.

  • LoneWolf343

     The trouble is that Dawn Treader isn’t really a film-able book. It would
    probably work better as a miniseries, but the book had an episodic
    plot, and that really doesn’t work well with a feature-length movie.

  • Tricksterson

    Dawn Treader wasn’t that bad but it certainly wasn’t good.  The first and second movies were defintely much better.  I wouldn’t have a problem with the Calormenes being Obviously Arab if they were less cartoonishly evil.

  • The_L1985

     “Because as she says, Veggie Tales is a well-made, hilarious franchise that teaches moral lessons without being overbearingly moralistic.”

    I dunno.  Maybe it’s me, but I never was able to enjoy Veggie Tales much.  Like the hairbrush song in the video–I’m sorry, but a hairless cucumber looking for a hairbrush just isn’t funny to me.

    Then again, I had aged out of the target demographic by the time they came out.

    “What might make mainline groups different in this scenario is that we don’t just show our kids Veggie Tales or play Christian games or listen to Christian music, and my dad only wore his “Confirmed Lutheran” shirt (from the Old Lutheran website) at church events (he got photographed in it at a synod assembly).”

    Exactly.  That is the point and the problem.  People exist for whom the word “Christian” has to be printed on everything before they’ll buy it, because the non-Bible-version is somehow ungodly.  I have relatives like this.  Oddly enough, they tend to act less like Jesus than my other Christian relatives!  Funny how that works out.

    I think the irritating part is this: most Christians, as you said, use Bible-themed things as ways to spice up church youth meetings and the like.  But there’s that disturbing minority that uses Bible-themed games and Christianized logo shirts as a way of showing tribalism and withdrawing from the world.  That minority is basically using these items wrong–they tend to equate the use of Christian-brand merchandise with being Christian.  They’re trying to serve God and Mammon.

    The other point of the article is basically that a lot of evangelicals and ex-evangelicals grew up in a very isolated Christianized subculture, in which we only saw the saccharine, “Christian” versions of things.  I grew up in that culture, and I can tell you it isn’t healthy, or particularly Christian.

  • Fusina

    We were given the first Veggie Tales tape by a fundegelical (I love that word) sister in law. The debate between my husband and I was whether to toss it or watch it. We did neither. A while later, we happened to see an episode somewhere, and laughed–they are funny. The silly songs are awesome. I saw an interview with the people who make them, and in case anyone is wondering, yes. The French peas are based on the French knights from M. P. and the Holy Grail. Or so the writers said. Hee, “I’ve got Slushie in my EAR!”

    No the actual stories from the Bible aren’t so nice. But then, I’ve learned that most people aren’t nice. There are a few that are, the rest of us need something to make us be nice. Religion can work, or it can give the not nice people a license to be even nastier to those “other people who aren’t like Us.”

  • P J Evans

    Ken Ham opening his mouth on science, down near the bottom of the page:
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Bill-Nye-warns-Creation-views-threaten-US-science-3888451.php

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “If evolution is true, why help the poor?”

    My reaction.

  • Twig

    Actually, AFAIK, the VeggieTales were bought by a secular company after the original company went under.  I’m not sure what they’re doing with the license now.

    The book written by one of the creators, “Me, Myself and Bob” is actually rather interesting reading both in terms of how successful growing businesses can falter and about the lives, thoughts and feelings of people not like me.  The author assumes an audience similar to himself, so he spends his time on the complications and challenges of his beliefs, rather than trying to sell them.

  • Twig

    Also an interesting study of the early days of computer animation.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    So I’m reading the Wonkette piece about the “World History & Cultures” textbook and I come across this line, which makes me ask a question:

    Evolutionists claim that man “evolved” from the animals; they downplay man’s special characteristics of speech, reason, morality, and free will and portray him as just a “highly evolved” animal.

    The question is:  Do any actual biologists working in the 21st century ever use the phrase “highly evolved” for any serious purpose?  Because in my mind, that phrase is associated with two groups of people:

    1.  New Agers who say they’re highly evolved as a way of explaining why they’re more special than you, and

    2.  Racist anthropologists circa 1910 who claimed that the people of northwestern Europe were more highly evolved and, therefore, better than everybody else.

    Am I missing something?  Does the phrase “highly evolved” have a legitimate use in science these days?

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    No, and in fact never has.  Darwin himself spoke against using his theories to reinforce preexisting bigotries but it did nothing to stop people from trying. 

  • christopher_young


    Does the phrase “highly evolved” have a legitimate use in science these days?

    Pretty sure it doesn’t. Humans have been evolving for exactly as long as every other kind of animal that still exists. Sure, we’re quite fond of some of our unique adaptations, but I expect all the other species would be fond of some of theirs too, if they could think in those terms.

  • Vermic

    Sure, we’re quite fond of some of our unique adaptations, but I expect all the other species would be fond of some of theirs too, if they could think in those terms.

    I remember an Isaac Asimov story in which a character comments that humans consider intelligence the ultimate survival trait, because we have it.  If you were to ask Tyrannosaurus Rex what was most important, he’d say size and strength:  “And he’d make a better case for it.  He lasted a lot longer than we’re likely to.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     I always say intelligence is over-rated.  After all, I work all day to support myself and my cats, who laze around my apartment all day enjoying free shelter, food, petting, toys, and health care.  Sometimes being cute and prolific is all you need. :-)

    Then there’s Michal Pollen’s observation that humans are just pawns in corn’s plot for world domination.  If you’re yummy enough, you don’t need a brain at all — the intelligent primates will do all the work for you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Am I missing something?  Does the phrase “highly evolved” have a legitimate use in science these days?

    Yes, in the science of studying TV Tropes:
    Evolutionary Levels
    Goal-Oriented Evolution

    Outside of that?  Absolutely not, as those articles make clear.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    Thank you for the links to the science of TV Tropes!  But now… how do I get out of TV Tropes?

  • The_L1985

     YOU DON’T.

  • Tricksterson

    EVER!

  • Anton_Mates

     

    Do any actual biologists working in the 21st century ever use the phrase “highly evolved” for any serious purpose?

    The usual term is “highly derived,” which just means “very different from your ancestors.”  Caveats:

    1.  “Highly” doesn’t mean “excellently” or “nobly” or anything like that, it just means “a lot.”  Barnacles are highly derived–they look really weird compared to whatever shrimpish critters they’re descended from–but they’re not therefore spiritually or mentally superior to other crustaceans.  Although Darwin might disagree.

    2.  You usually end up specifying a particular trait or traits that are
    derived, since every modern organism is a patchwork of derived and
    primitive traits.  For instance,  human bipedalism and brain size is
    pretty derived, as mammals go, but the anatomy of our hands is pretty
    primitive.  Other mammals developed paws and hooves and wings and flippers, but we have the five-fingered forefeet of our shrew-looking forebears.

    3.  You have to specify which ancestors you’re talking about, because obviously you’re not very different from your immediate ancestors, and you are very different from your ancestors of a billion years ago.  So if you consider just the reptiles, then the birds are (in many ways) highly derived, being warm-blooded and feathery and flight-capable and otherwise very different from an early reptile.  But if you consider all the vertebrates, birds aren’t particularly derived, because they look about as much like an early vertebrate as snakes and frogs and kangaroos do.

    Sooo, humans are highly derived in some ways, highly primitive in others, and none of it’s particularly worth feeling proud about.

  • Carstonio

     

    “Highly” doesn’t mean “excellently” or “nobly” or anything like that, it just means “a lot.”

    Evolution’s opponents willfully misinterpret it as a value system, which is why they ask nonsense questions such as “if evolution is real, why help the poor.” Evolution itself makes no value judgments and I suspect many people find this frustrating or incomprehensible.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Perry had better lay off the tanning bed if he wants to keep with the epic holy war talk.  People might get confused. 

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    “Talking tombstones” are a real thing; I know about them because they were invented by a Stanley Zelazny, much to the amusement of SF author (and possible cousin) Roger.

  • http://twitter.com/emhornerbooks Emily Horner

    I remember seeing the original Head-On commercial (the one before the continual repeated “Head-On: Apply directly to the forehead!”)

    The commercial claimed that it would relieve headaches, and I remember thinking, “That can’t possibly be true, can it? Not if it’s homeopathic.” Sure enough, a few weeks later the commercial was reduced to the things it couldn’t get in trouble for saying — “Head-On: Apply directly to the forehead!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    That’s actually a clever idea. Head-On can be applied to your forehead. So can a baseball bat, or a lamp, or a balled-up towel coated in melted butter. All four of those things have roughly the same medicinal value.

  • Hilary

    About likeing Leviticus – I found how they delt with lepersy interesting.  Basically, wash everything really well, be in quarantine for a few days, then kill a pidgeon to be let back into the community.  And the ritual impurity of a woman after her period and needing to have a ritual bath afterward to be pure again – it did give a woman a G-d given right to a bath after her period.  Hygene – not something to scoff at, then or now.  Whatever else you can say about them, the tribal Hebrews were big on it.

    Hilary