Feelings unknown and you’re all alone

Feelings unknown and you’re all alone June 4, 2013

We must meet one another doing good.”

Christians are terrible people.”

“Simply put, biblical inerrancy isn’t biblical.”

For neither Paul nor the writer of Genesis does the story of Adam exist as a standalone narrative to which later history must correspond.”

No one under 40 gives a crap about creationism.”

“So in the end, the rationale for covering one’s poo is not hygienic, nor is it public health, but rather the Israelites are to cover their poo so that God doesn’t step in it or see it, because if he does, he’ll leave them and they’ll start losing battles.”

“One of the things creationists have worked out is that if you’re exposed to secular culture (i.e., reality) you won’t be a creationist for very long.”

“And that, Zunger explains, is how the death of a star determines what color barns are painted.”

They begin at the point where evangelicals gingerly try to end up.”

“We must understand that God does not ‘love’ us without liking us — through gritted teeth — as ‘Christian’ love is sometimes thought to do.”

“We cannot have a just society that applies the principle of accountability to the powerless and the principle of forgiveness to the powerful.”

“Lack of official prayer is not persecution against Christians any more than bald is a hair color.”

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  • MikeJ

    The pope story tells of him giving his homily from Mark, where Jesus says, “For whoever is not against us is for us.”

    All the same words but the complete opposite of “You’re either with us or against us.”

  • Worthless Beast

    Having clicked a couple…

    The poo one… I have a particular love of poo-jokes, so I clicked it. Reading to the end… I’m sorry, but I fail to “get” people from our age scoffing at and looking down an people of the past for believing “bull” that saved their lives. It may sound silly to us to cover poo out of a superstition of God walking around in camp at night, but how would a time traveler spouting germ theory sound to those people? I remember watching something on PBS or History about the Civil War and how as late as that era, really thirsty soldiers would drink latrine-water because they didn’t seem to understand a connection between it and sickness the way we do. In other words, just because we think some ancient narrative / incentive to “common sense” is is ridiculous by our standards doesn’t mean it wasn’t “true” in a way. If people got sick from being around too much poo, they probably thought the illness a “curse from God” rather than being connected to invisible crawlies in the poo, as we understand things today.

    I even suspect that some of our current science and the reasons why we do things for health will be seen by future generations as superstitious mumbo-jumbo, give or take a thousand or more years. The way I see it, covering your poo is a good thing, regardless of the reasons you have for doing it.

    One of the other links… the title, anyway… Even though I still identify as marginally “Christian,” I actually think it may be true that we are the worst people in the world. I mean this in actuality, not hyperbole. If I recall my Bible correctly, God’s always choosing the weak, the freaks and the geeks, with Jesus, the “least of these” and so forth. I think that, perhaps, those that “‘belong to Jesus” are so because none of the other gods would have them and, unlike atheists, they’re hopeless to stand on their own. The physician comes to the sick, not the healthy, and perhaps for any of us (Christians) to have any kind of thing resembling decency and morality (even if it’s occasional), we need the Jesus. We’re the psychotic children by nature. Sometimes, the love of God in our lives makes us good (MLK, Fred Rodgers), but most of the time, sadly, our natural psychoticness overcomes even the very love of God. We wind up, just by the sign of being “chosen” alone… to be the very worst of humans. De-converting us might not even help, as we’ve already been tainted / shown our weakness. Then, this might be the depression side of me talking. Wherever I am or whatever I believe, I’ll ever be a Worthless Beast.

  • Unfortunately, right after the Pope said that, the Vatican designated a spokesperson to “clarify” that if you’re not Catholic, you’re still going to Hell no matter what.

    Creative curses were spoken that day. I wrote about it on my blog, along with my rebuttal toward some of the arguments being made in favor of this interpretation (salvation only for those who follow the right denomination) of Christian teaching.

  • JustoneK

    I still wonder how that works. He’s the Pope. He’s the explicit authority innit he?

  • I suspect their interpretation of his words works a lot like Bible inerrancy.

  • I need to remember that verse, since it’s pretty much an outspoken “I don’t give a damn what you say, only what you do.”

  • Worthless Beast

    When I first heard this news on the Pope, I was very happy. I favor a Univeralist kind of hope in regards to the stupid things I hope for. However, I noticed that he used the word “redemption” and not “salvation” – and the nuance of words can be vital. I’ve never been Catholic, but in the (Baptist) church I used to be a part of, there was this idea that “Christ died for all” but that one had to “accept the gift” in order to actually be “saved.” In other words “redemption” for all, but “salvation” for some, and not for those who openly refuse the gift.

    In other words, I was hoping that he was saying stuff that made me happy, but kind of took it with a grain of salt, suspicious that he was mincing words. I still don’t know. Maybe he really meant the more universal thing and there are people running damage-control like so many people seem to think is going on.

  • I fail to “get” people from our age scoffing at and looking down an people of the past for believing “bull” that saved their lives

    There is something profoundly absurd that the omniscient creator of the universe and everything in it would be horribly squicked out poo.

    “Hey there, My Chosen People, how are things toda- WHAT ARE YOU DOING? What is that vile stuff coming out of you? Why are you doing that? Why did I make you able to do that? What was I thinking?! Oh, man, I am not hanging out with people who do that!”

    I remember watching something on PBS or History about the Civil War and how as late as that era…

    Citation needed. Because five minutes with Google shows that the link between human waste and illness was well known. (civil war latrines weren’t irrigated, so there was no water to drink in them) The problem wasn’t the latrines, it was that soldiers didn’t want to use the latrines, going out into the woods instead, where they would contaminate the groundwater or wells by proximity.

    I even suspect that some of our current science and the reasons why we do things for health will be seen by future generations as superstitious mumbo-jumbo, give or take a thousand or more years.

    That depends heavily on what you’re including in “current science” and whatnot. If you’re including homeopathy, acupuncture, and other “alternative medicine”, then yes, those will be seen as superstitious mumbo-jumbo… because that’s how serious scientists and doctors see it now.

    Things that are actually science will remain and endure because they’re built on a foundation of evidence, reason, and sound philosophy, the same way that ancient mathematics geometry, and philosophy remain valid. We have tools for winnowing the good from the bad; we still study Pythagoras’ mathematical theorem, but we don’t take advice from Aristotle on women.

    The way I see it, covering your poo is a good thing, regardless of the reasons you have for doing it.

    The way I see it, covering your poo because “God is grossed out” only ever teaches you to cover your poo. Covering your poo because of a larger concept, like contamination or teeny-tiny animals too small to see, leads to applying those concepts elsewhere, which leads to more good things, like sanitizing medical equipment. When the answer to “cover your poo” is “because God commands it”, that doesn’t lead you anywhere else, and that’s not so good.

    The physician comes to the sick, not the healthy…

    If the sick do not become healthy after visiting the physician, if they do not improve in health or gain comfort in some way, doesn’t that say something about the doctor or his medicine?

  • Carstonio

    For years I misheard the lyric in the Depeche Mode song as “Reach out and touch me.”

  • Lori

    Personally, I’m not scoffing at the ancient Israelites, I’m scoffing at modern people who read verses like Deut. 23:14 and still try to claim that every word of the Bible was basically given as dictation from an all-knowing God. Clearly that’s not the case. As Chris said, why would the being who supposedly created the poo in the first place be that weirded out by seeing it? Also, would an all-knowing being really be unable to avoid stepping in crap unless it was buried? I think not.

    The rules were the result of people with limited information figuring out what they needed to do without really understanding why and then making something up to get compliance with the rule. That’s perfectly reasonable. Ignoring that and claiming that the rule was handed down by an all-knowing God is entirely mock-worthy.

  • arcseconds

    I think you’re being a bit overly optimistic about science there, Chris, unless by ‘actually science’ you mean the stuff we got right, and then it’s just a tautology.

    We get things wrong all the time. Just as an example, just a couple of decades ago the received view of the medical community on stomach ulcers were caused by stress and spicy food, and couldn’t be caused by bacteria as no bacteria could survive the acidic conditions. Barry Marshall demonstrated in a fairly dramatic fashion that they could and did cause gastric disease, and now we recognise that most stomach ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori.

  • FearlessSon

    Reminds me of when Rev. Lovejoy recommended that Marge divorce Homer. When she said she thought divorce was a sin, Lovejoy holds up his Bible and says, “Marge, have you actually read this thing? Practically everything is a sin. Technically, we’re not allowed to go to the bathroom.”

  • Lori

    Speaking of the clock ticking down on Google Reader, now that people have had time to use the alternatives for a while what’s the consensus on them? Which one are people liking the best?

  • You don’t think that any reasonable bronze-age person would tell you that you were obviously insane if you claimed that failure to cover your droppings could lead to diseases spread by tiny invisible animals?

    I mean, that sounds even nuttier than “Because my great-grandpa was told to by an invisible guy who was big on smiting.”

  • Lorehead

    Honestly, I don’t share Cargill’s gloss. Do you believe whatever place you worship (if you do) is dedicated to God? Do you leave shit there? Is that because you think he’ll step in it when he visits? (If you’re an atheist, would you shit on your floor before you invite your best friend over, even if you know she’d never step in it?)

    So this seems like a case of mixing up purity taboos with actual ethical principles, but with a bit of pragmatism mixed in, in that the purity taboos evolved for reasons that also give them a utilitarian purpose.

  • LoneWolf343

    “One of the things creationists have worked out is that if you’re exposed to secular culture (i.e., reality) you won’t be a creationist for very long.”

    Hmm, true enough in my case, if “very long” means “a few years.”

  • I like newsblur, though it’s still flaky about refusing to notice new posts in feeds that aren’t just the way it likes them (which isn’t documented anywhere). I think it’s trying to be clever and match each item in the rss feed to a single specific web page, and flaking out if that fails (thus, it basically never notices new items in a feed that’s RSS-only without an “original web page” version, or where the “original” is radically different in form, or doesn’t reciprocally link the RSS feed (I host a few feeds that I generate from sites that don’t offer an RSS feed of their own by scraping them))

  • LoneWolf343

    Papal infallibility is a complicated thing, like all things Catholic. From what I understand, the Pope isn’t infallible at all times, but he has the authority to declare any given opinion as infallible.

  • Lorehead

    In fairness, I believe they said we wouldn’t be saved, but not necessarily that we would go to Hell. I don’t think they claim to know our fate.

  • Jon Maki

    For my part, whenever I hear or see a reference to the song I always hear Trace Beaulieu, as the voice of Crow, singing, “Own. Personal. Jesus.”

    There was a vaguely Ethel Merman quality to it.

    I forget which episode of MST3K it was in, but that bit has managed to stick with me through the years.

  • Worthless Beast

    Oh, I totally agree with that – the idea that “Everything was handed down perfect and look! The ancient Isrealites knew santiation stuff that we do!” is dumb. I was merely defending the idea that ancient people would have a mythic framework for things they barely understood. When we see people get sick from being around something, we blame germs and toxins. An ancient person (or one from a different culture) might blame the “anger of the gods at being offended by you touching this thing.” Or “this thing being in the presence of the gods when in your camp.”

    Chris read stuff into my thoughts leik whoa. To the point where I’ll adresss you but I’m afraid to address him. I mean… I didnt’ bring up crap like acupuncture and homeopathy… he did. I wasn’t even *thinking* about those things. I was thinking about how actual science makes actual discoveries all the time… I was thinking “stuff we can’t even imagine right now will be found out through real science.” I wasn’t thinking about New Age Hippie stuff he seems to have just assumed. At all.
    I also have no citation for a half-remembered thing I’ve seen on TV. I forgot that I’m not supposed to be casual here.

  • JustoneK

    wait. if he can declare any given opinion as infallible why would – AGH

  • Worthless Beast

    Is there anything that The Simpsons doesn’t have an answer for? *Laughs.*

  • Katie

    Maybe, maybe not. If you read the really old Near Eastern religious-medical-magical texts, its really striking how close the idea of disease being caused by demon possession actual is to the germ theory of disease.

  • Fusina

    Regarding the “God is Angry” sign, my initial thought was, “One of these things is not like the others.” and I’m sorry about the earworm you have now been given if you remember that song.

    Oh, the answer? Homosexuality. The other two are a choice.

  • LoneWolf343

    Like I said, complicated.

  • christopher_y

    No, I don’t think any reasonable bronze-age person* would tell you that you were obviously insane if you claimed that failure to cover your droppings could lead to diseases spread by tiny invisible animals. But I do wonder where such a person would find someone in the bronze age to tell them that.

    It seems to me that if you have, by observation, concluded that associating with human faeces leads to illness, and if your civilisation believes that disease is caused by the anger of the gods, then the conclusion that God doesn’t want to to shit where you sleep is quite easy to reach.

    *I’m reminded of a story about some anthropologists who were interviewing an agricultural community in west Africa about their traditional theory of disease, and the people described in some detail how it was caused by tiny invisible animals, some spiral in shape, some like little rods, and so on.

    All the von Daniken freaks etc. seized on this as proof that the people in question had been visited in the past by representatives of an alien civilsation. Wiser heads pointed out that while this was certainly true, the civilisation in question was the the French colonial power, and the representative was presumably some doctor who had practiced in that region in the previous generation. The fallacy that people in non-technological civilisations are incapable of taking on board new ideas if they’re explained in terms they are familiar with is insidious and insulting.

  • christopher_y

    The Pope is only infallible if he’s speaking “ex cathedra” on a matter of dogma. Any other time, he’s just this guy, y’know? (Well obviously he’s a well respected and influential guy, but he can’t shut down arguments just like that.)

  • alfgifu

    Similarly (but a bit later on) the Anglo-Saxon view of illness was that it was caused by tiny little ‘wyrms’, most of which were too small to see.* Different ‘wyrms’ caused different illnesses, so toothache was caused by the toothwyrm, for example. Cures often involved efforts to shake out or detatch the tiny culprits.

    Then, of course, respectable theologians imported Greek and Roman medical texts and everyone learned that it was all down to the four humours really.

    *Yes, this is the same word as used for dragon – Anglo-Saxon taxonomy lumped insects, creepy-crawlies, and reptiles of all sizes into one category. The idea roughly correlates with ‘every creeping thing that creeps on the face of the Earth’. To an Anglo-Saxon, worm is to dragon as finch is to eagle.

    [edited to fix formatting because disqus]

  • Shay Guy

    I switched to Feedly when Google Reader started acting up and failing to display items. Works great for me.

  • Space Marine Becka

    I know who I’d go with on this matter… Feeneyism is a heresy that I agree is heretical http://www.romancatholicism.org/feeney-condemnations.htm

  • “And that, Zunger explains Best Beloved, is how the death of a star determines what color barns are painted.”

    I have so got dibs on this rewrite.

  • The_L1985

    Netvibes is OK. There does seem to be a delay though–generally I get notified about new blog posts a few hours later.

  • mathbard

    I’ve been using The Old Reader, and it works well. Took a long time to transfer my subscriptions over, but once they did, it was fine. Only thing I miss about Google Reader is that I could pick a time frame to mark as read. Like if I’ve been offline for a while, I could mark items older than a day as read, but I can’t do that with The Old Reader.