Monday, January 7, 2008
2. You think vaccinations are evil
3. You spam Paultard nonsense everywhere you go
4. You seek out places where experts in a field congregate just to argue with them
5. You think quotes are evidence
6. You think analogies are evidence
7. You think that the government gives a rats ass what you do
8. You think that 9/11 was an inside job
9. People mock you, alot.
10. You think an amalgamation of blurry photos, out of context quotes, and incredulity somehow constitutes the truth
Monday, October 29, 2007
This should never have happened in the first place. A good campaign would never have even let this douchebag anywhere near a campaign event. Not being perceived as anti-religious and even bring religious people to support democrats is a good thing. However it can't come at the expense of embracing religious bigots. No more then Hillary should embrace David Duke in an attempt to appeal to Southerners.
He approached the subject gingerly at first. Then, just when the concert had seemed to reach its pitch and about to end, Mr. McClurkin returned to it with a full-blown plea: “Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have suffered the same feelings,” he cried.
“God delivered me from homosexuality,” he added. He then told the audience to believe the Bible over the blogs: “God is the only way.” The crowd sang and clapped along in full support.
The political implications of his performance are not clear. The concert-goers we talked with afterward were generally more focused on making allowances for Mr. McClurkin’s past homosexuality than on anything about Mr. Obama.
The Obama campaign had appeared to be caught off guard by the reaction to inviting Mr. McClurkin in the first place, and it may have been surprised tonight by the degree to which the singer focused on himself. The other speakers and singers had avoided referencing the controversy. Even an openly gay minister whom Mr. Obama had invited after the fact to try to appease his gay and lesbian critics spoke so early that few people heard him.
Obama just caused himself dearly amongst many how could have done wonders to help his campaign. John Aravorsis for one, seems to have made it his mission to sink Obama. Not good considering he has an audience of about one million engaged and active dem voters. More then CNN one might add.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
First though its important to distinguish two main types of rape. While current thinking likes to argue that all rape is not about sex, but power, this does not seem to be the case. I am thinking specifically of date rape. Especially date rape that occurs after some level of sexual activity has begun. Here I think the main motivation is sexual release.
I am not saying that power is not at issue, it is, but it is secondary to the sexual motivation. Power comes up in the belief that one can, or should, be able to gain sexual pleasure from an unwilling partner. Whether that partner is unwilling by threat of force, or though the affects of substances. Nevertheless the belief that one can force someone to have sex, is problematic.
What I find interesting is why men, at seemingly increasing frequency are raping women, or who at least in theory find it ok to force a woman to have sex with them. Beyond that the increasing appeal of porn that degrades women, and overall attitudes that seek to demean and degrade women. You could add to this the rise of fundamentalist religion that argues for women to return to the traditional roles.
The answer I think is that women are winning. Whether its college admittance, entry-level jobs, or happiness with life women are beating men. They are going to grad school, getting better jobs, and gaining power. While the upper echelons of power are still(mostly) held by men, that seems to be more and more the final legacy of sexism.
From the stand point of masculinity that is unacceptable. We are supposed to be the ones in charge. It is our job to protect. provide, and control women. If you've gotten somewhat annoyed when someone turns down your help you can see where I'm going with this.
Men are told and encouraged to adopt this kind of masculinity. From media to parents we are shown an idea of masculinity that requires us to view women as somewhat childlike. Even when strong women are portrayed in media they eventually will require the rescue of a man. Torture porn being the most egregious example, but one can see it in many other forms. The strong, independent heroine is eventually placed in a situation where only a man can get her out.
The thing is, the world doesn't work like this. Women rarely need us men to come rescue them. While they welcome mutually supportive partnerships, many aren't looking for a protector to control them.
Beyond that men are increasingly finding themselves unable to compete with women. As mentioned early women are out pacing men in most fields. Again we have been raised to believe we are the one who should go to the good schools, have the good jobs, and be in charge.
A good case study of this is in South Africa. South Africa is experiences an epidemic of rape. Rape by young black men. As with the US, it's women, in this case black women, who are doing the best. In the post-apartheid world black women are earning the most, doing the best in school, and beginning to gain power.
Perhaps more so then in the US, South Africa is a very patriarchal culture. The myriad social problems this has cased, from AIDS to spousal abuse are too numerous to go into. However its clear that while patriarchy is still prevelent, the success of women is undermining it. A women with a steady job is not going to(willingly) take orders from an unemployed man.
Faced with this reality many (and I mean many) men in South Africa are responding violently. Brought up to believe they are entitled to have power yet lacking it, they respond by exercising the one power they have left, physical force. One of the surest ways a man can "put a woman in her place" is by raping her. It reaffirms physical superiority and the resulting trauma inflicted on the victim further reinforces ideas of superiority.
Back in the US, we are seeing somewhat the same phenomenon. From Girls Gone Wild, to the increasing accepetence of date rape, men it seems are responding in the same way South African men are. Women are in charge, we resent that, so we we respond by exerting our power in the only way we can, through force.
This is why I think that in responding to rape feminism has reached the limit of what it, as a womens movement, can do. The problem is not legal, or a matter of womens rights, studies, or the like. Its a problem of masculinity. Masculinity, as it has been defined is no longer able to function in society. It has to change.
Feminism broke the ground and has lead the way in how to do this. the reexamination of femininity that began with the rise of feminism has taken femininity into the modern age. The reexamination of female gender roles has not been wholesale of course. There are aspects of femininity that are still the same as they always have been. Whether its fashion, emotional sensitivity, or romance movies, many women still enjoy these things while being strong leaders in society. Of course many don't and thats ok too. Feminism has showed us that we can decide for ourselves how we construct our gender identity. Unless your a man.
this not, per se, a problem of feminism. It is not anti-men, nor has it purposely neglected men in its pursuits. However, no more then a man could tell women how to reform femininity, women can't tell men how to reform their masculinity. In fact in doing so it only fuels the problem were talking about. Masculinity is at the core of many mens sense of self and such things do not respond kindly to critique.
What is needed is a mens movement in line with the feminist movement. Men need to reevaluate what it means to be a man. Specifically we need to jettison the sense of entitlement brought about by antiquated notions of patriarchy. We need a maculinity that is acceptable in a 21st century egalitarian soceity.
This does not mean a complete rejection of masculinity. Just as feminism maintained many aspects of feminism, so to can our reevaluation maintain many aspects of masculinity. In some case aspects of feminism shifted from a subservient roles, to a role of equality and even power. For example the care ethic enjoys substantial popularity amongst committed feminists.
For example one element of masculinity is the chivalrous notion of defending the defenseless, more often the not cast as women. This motivation is not in and of itself bad. The notion of coming to the aid of those suffering is a noble and good thing. The problem is its entanglement with sexism. Just as femininity detached care from subservience, so too must masculinity detach defense from dominance.
There are some doing this work already, but not enough. More then that it needs to permeate the culture. Feminism was added in this by a political movement. There seems to be no such movement for men aside from destructive mens rightest who want to do the opposite of whats needed.
I am not sure how we can do this but it needs to be done. Not only will it, I hope, curtail instances of rape, but it will I believe better enable men to succeed in society. When we lose our sense of entitlement hopefully we will understand that our success in life is measured by our ability and hard work, not by the fact that we have a cock.
One way I know we can do this is by raising the next generation of men to view the world differently.
While the article was so-so, this just made me mad:
When I left Burgess, he was very nervous about this column. About how Seattle voters might react to an entire article about his religious faith a week before the election.
It occurred to me later his worry may say as much about us as it does about him.
While I don't think one religion should matter when it shouldn't, i.e. most jobs, how can a person beliefs not be relevant in a campaign. If we are to take Burgess at his word when he says this:
"My world views, my political views, my lifetime of working for equality and justice — I can't deny it's shaped by my religious beliefs."
Then how can we at least not analyze his religious beliefs. Had he said his views were shaped by his commitment to Marxism no one would even think twice about questioning Marxism, even if his Marxism leads him to view points in total agreement with this City. Its not bigotry to disagree with claims people make about the world. I don't go around arguing with my religious friends about their beliefs, but if we are talking about religion, I'm not going to pretend that somehow I don't think its wrong. No more then if we were talking about whether a movie was good or bad. Bigotry requires at least some level of immutability. For example race, sexual orientation, height, etc. Its not nice to argue that someone should be taller or to think that blacks aren't suited for higher office. But to look at the religious doctrines someone chooses to accept especially when they readily admit they shape their decisions is just prudent.
I'm not saying everyone who supports Burgess is doing this. Elections are much more complex then that and Della is a tool. What I am saying is that to maintain that the only thing we can consider is what a candidate says about particular issues is wrong. We have to go deeper. A candidates faith doesn't disqualify them, but if we are to accept what they say about its power, then it has to at least matter.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Parties and religions don’t exist absent people. They are products of people. I don’t think you judge a movement based on people per se, but you can judge it based on how its constructed by the people who make it up. The republican party of Lincoln is not the same republican party today, no more than democrats today are the same as democrats from the New Deal era. Sometimes this is subtle changes designed to attract new followers and other times it a whole sale shift in values such as democrats on civil rights or republicans on nation building.
With Christianity it’s no different. Christians today have little theologically in common with say Aquinas or even Paul. At a basic level they share some similar beliefs such as the existence of Jesus, but concepts such as the trinity, the nature of Jesus, original sin, and the method of salvation, have undergone wholesale revision from time to time. A lot of which has to do with changing understandings of morality and the nature of the world. For example, the idea of Jesus can be seen as a response to the growing difficulties with the sacrificial system of atonement. Remember in ancient Jewish society the way you made up for wrong acts was through the killing of ostensible innocent animals, and occasionally captured people. Like most tribal societies they had a god who enjoyed sacrifices, controlled events, etc. Not really different form Baal, Ra, or any other.
What Christianity added to the mix was the novel idea of a universal sacrifice. No more did one have to off some goats to appease god. The problem is that it relies on the same odd understand of how to make up for wrong doing. The idea that the suffering of the innocent can absolve the guilty is a crime itself. Not only that, but at a threshold level it just doesn’t make any sense. If you did something wrong to me, say stole my car, how would killing my kid, or, ostensibly, part of myself, in anyway absolve you from stealing my car.
Even if we grant that such suffering does absolve wrongdoing, Jesus just doesn’t seem to cut it. In a sense god took part of himself, a part that had always and would always be part of him and sent him to earth for an incredibly short period of time. Short from a natural history perspective and from a 30 years vs. infinity perspective. After a relatively happy 30 years he underwent a few days of admittedly painful torture, though not nearly as long or as a severe as others have gone through. He then was dead for three days before returning to Heaven. Again, how that makes up for others wrong doing, either before Jesus, or especially after, doesn’t really make sense. Instead it just seems like an easier way of being Jewish. No sacrifice, no weird dietary/clothing laws, no actual punishment.
Personally I only really care what people believe when it affects me or society. If someone wants to believe that they get to live forever because god’s kid had a bad weekend, that’s fine with me. However I do care when they use that to try and restrict the rights of my gay friends, force me to accept their beliefs, or suppress our efforts to discover scientific truths. Whether its Muslim fundamentalists or born again Christians both can’t seem to grasp that the rest of us are quite happy even though we don’t think as they do.
This generation has exponentially more access to knowledge than any other in history. If anything the effects of this are only beginning to be understood and so far I think people are underestimating them. The Barna study sheds some light on what’s to come though.
For example, I can right now access the entirety of human genome, read every scientific article ever published, and see all the pictures ever taken by the Hubble space telescope. I don’t accept evolution and big bang cosmology because an expert told me so, I accept it because I have seen the evidence myself. What was once the providence of god (weather, sickness, eclipses, the existence of life) now have explanations, and we are close to understand so much more.
This makes the job of religion ,with its simple stories of minor miracles, mediocre creation, and ancient fables, quite difficult. What might have impressed a stone age farmer, or even a 19th century peasant, just doesn’t impress those of us with access to the real knowledge provided by reason and science. Even though we might not ever understand it all, the wonder created simply by trying is so much more satisfying the complacency created by saying ‘god did it’.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
September 18, 2007
In Russia's Ulanovsk region, Sept. 12 is Conception Day.
Workers are given the day off and encouraged to go home and do their best to conceive a new Russian. The hope is to have a bumper crop of babies on Russia's national holiday, nine months off.
In Soviet Russia... nevermind
Conception Day has occasioned much mirth and ribald humor. But for Mother Russia, the issue of her children is no laughing matter.
Buchanan is really scrouging the barrel of the ye ol'english dictionary.
Two decades ago, the Soviet Union was three times the size of any of the other giant nation – the United States, Canada, China, Brazil – and the third most populous, with nearly 300 million people. Came then the great crack-up of 1990-91.
The Baltic republics – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – broke free first. Next were Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova in the west; Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus; and Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.
These amputations removed a third of the territory and half the population of the Soviet Union. Yet the remnant, Russia, remained twice as large as any other nation and still boasted a population of 150 million.
Um ok. I'm not sure if Pat is lamenting the break up of the Soviet Union or what. He seems quite happy that Russia is still quite big.
Since the 1990s, however, Russia has been losing population at a rate of 750,000 a year – not to emigration, but to death. By one count, the Russian population is down to 143 million. President Putin has predicted that only 124 million Russians will be alive in 2015. In 2000, the United Nations projected that, at its present birth rate, by 2050 Russia's population would fall to 114 million.
It's ussia for good sakes.
In a 2005 study, the United Nations estimated that, together, Ukraine and Russia will lose 50 million people – 25 percent of their combined populations – by mid-century. The Slavs are dying out, and the geostrategic implications are enormous.
Really, cuz I jsut don't see how. Russia has a lot of nukes, but aside frm that they arn't realyl a major player anymore.
In a few decades, Turkey, which seeks entry into the European Union, will become Europe's most populous nation. Like Xerxes' bridge of boats across the Hellespont, Turkey will be the Asian land bridge into Europe, the Bridge of The Prophet into the homeland of the Christians.
Um, Turkey is still there whether its in the EU or not, so I am not how it sudnly wil lbecoem a cridge. But I guess we should all beware a homoerotic invation from Persia. I'm sure PAt thinks about it alot.
As critical, the vast majority of Russians live west of the Urals, while east of Novosibirsk (New Siberia City), all the way to Kamchatka, the tiny Russian population is departing or dying out. Yet, in timber, oil and minerals, this is the most resource-rich region on earth. And south of Siberia lies the most populous and resource-hungry nation on earth.
American children born today may have Chinese for neighbors across the Bering Strait from Alaska.
So is China going to invade Eastern Russia. I'm sure they would move some people over there to fight if that were the case . Not to mention the nuclear FUCKING weapons Russia has to deter such a thing.
Nor is it only the Slavic peoples who are expiring. So, too, are the native-born populations of Western and Southern Europe, as the empty nurseries of Europa fill with bawling Muslim babies.
Um ok. At least its not a bunch of catholics being born, because we know how that turned out in the US.
Americans of European ancestry are also declining as a share of the U.S. population, down from near 90 percent into 1960 to 66 percent today. Anglos, as they are called now, are now minorities in our two largest states, Texas and California, and, by 2040, will be a minority in the nation that people of British and European stock built.
But of course, Pats not a racist, nope, not at all.
Last month, the Census Bureau projected the U.S. population would grow by 167 million by 2060, to 468 million.
And immigrants and their children will constitute 105 million of that 167 million. That would be triple the 37.5 million legal and illegal immigrants here today, which is itself the largest cohort of foreigners any nation has ever taken in.
Well technically immigrants and their children are almost all of that 167 million (and the 300 million already here), unless of course the Native Americans are having a population boom. By immigrants, Pat means Mexicans.
With the 45 million Hispanics here to rise to 102 million by 2050, the Southwest is likely to look and sound more like Mexico than America. Indeed, culturally, linguistically and ethnically, it will be a part of Mexico.
See, he means Mexicans. Next time I'm in New Your I'll have to remember how linguistically and culturally its part of Ireland.
Like Russians, Americans of European ancestry are failing to reproduce. Yet, a closer look reveals that population growth remains healthy among the religiously devout – evangelical Christians, Catholic traditionalists, Muslims and Mormons. Among the secularists, however, birth rates are far below Zero Population Growth – and the possibility of extinction looms.
Thats kind of a problem. The good news is that the children of the devout arn't always devout themselves, especially in urban areas.
One recent study found that the Jewish population in the United States fell by 6 percent in the 1990s, from 5.5 million to 5.2 million. Orthodox Jews, however, are known for families of five, eight or 10 children.
"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and have dominion ... over every living creature." So reads Genesis. And so European Man once preached and practiced. But having lost his empires along with his faith, European Man no longer sees himself as commissioned by God.
And this is bad why? Not being a religious zealot out conquering the world and causing trouble is not a character flaw.
Indeed, he no longer believes in God. Among our best and brightest are many whose purpose is to enjoy life to the fullest and to end it, when the time comes, as painlessly as possible.
Its called growing up Pat. Like how children stop believing in Santa Clause.
Which seems to suit the rest of the world – China, India, Islam, Africa, Latin America – fine, as all look forward to a magnificent inheritance.
Um, lower birth rates don't mean were just going to disappear, not soon anyways. Give those places a few more years and their growth will slow too. Its what happens when you no longer have to face the death of most of your kids.
If demography is destiny, the West is finished. And, if so, does it really matter all that much who rules in Baghdad?Well demography is not destiny.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
We all like the idea of changing, of becoming something different than what we presently are.Like a butterfly!
Starting over again ...Now Your just repeating yourself.
Reinventing ourselves ...
Experiencing a new beginning.
Certainly, our culture is obsessed with change and self-improvement.Stupid modern culture, always trying to better itself.
Cosmetic surgery has become very popular lately. People go to cosmetic surgeons wanting to look like their favorite movie stars, or perhaps a younger version of themselves. Sadly, they sometimes come out looking like an altogether different person!Um, I'm not sure that many people get cosmetic surgery to look like someone else. You rarely here someone say "I want the Brittney". Seems the stuff after 'perhapses' should have come first.
I heard about a woman named Shirley who was from Beverly Hills. One day, she had a heart attack and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital. While on the operating table, she had a near-death experience. She saw God and asked, "Is this it? Is my life over?"Christians sure do love their antidotes. The great thing is, they tell them all the same way whether true, or as we shall soon see with this one, clearly made-up.
God said, "No, don't worry, you have another 40 years to live."So God is Mr. Magoo now...
Shirley figured that since she had another 40 years, she might as well make the most of it. Upon her recovery, she decided to stay in the hospital and have collagen shots, cheek implants, a facelift and liposuction – "the works!" She then had someone dye her hair.
When she walked out of Cedars-Sinai lobby, however, an ambulance speeding up to the hospital killed her. She arrived in front of God and said, "I thought you said I had another 40 years?"
God replied, "Shirley! I'm so sorry, but I didn't RECOGNIZE YOU!"
Why this desire for change?
Anthony Elliot, professor of sociology at the University of Kent wrote:
The demand for instant identity transformations has never been so persuasive. People today want change and they want it instantly – from fame to the instant thrills of Botox or liposuction. In a world of short term contracts, endless downsizings, just-in-time deliveries and multiple careers, the capacity to reinvent yourself has become fundamental.
Nowadays, if people have a drug or alcohol problem, they just go to rehab. They re-emerge a month later "cured" (along with a fashion accessory ankle bracelet), but they fall back into the same problems again and again.
Yah, a much better way to handle addiction is not go to rehab. Stupid people wanting to change their addictive behavior. Don't they know change is bad.
The problem is that all of these changes don't get to the real issue: the issue of the heart. Because the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.Earth, Wind, Water, Fire... heart. Capitan Planet, he's our hero..
The Bible tells the story of an elderly man named Nicodemus who came to Jesus one night, looking for answers and wanting change in his life.Oh good, a bible story!
After dark one evening, a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to speak with Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are proof enough that God is with you."People were easily impressed at the time.
Jesus replied, "I assure you, unless you are born again you can never see the kingdom of God."Thats kind of an odd response to a compliment.
"What do you mean?" exclaimed Nicodemus. "How can an old man go back into his mother's womb and be born again?" (John 3:1-4)eeeew.
In nervous anticipation of this meeting, Nicodemus may have recited the lines over and over again. After all, he was famous and known to be a deeply religious man. Yet there was something missing in his life, so for him to call Jesus "Teacher" was quite an acknowledgement.So Nico knew Jesus would respond to his hello with a threat.
Maybe that's how you feel. You respect Christian people in general. They are honest, considerate, friendly, perhaps a bit weird, but pretty good people.huh? not sure how that follows. But, I wouldn't say I respect Christian people in general. There are Christians I respect, but their religion has nothing to do with why I respect them.
And you've certainly always respected Jesus Christ. After all, He was a great moral teacher, perhaps the greatest of all.No not really. I have always found him to a bit pompous and kind of preachy.
That's how Nicodemus felt. He also had great respect for Jesus and His teachings.Good for him!
And he was probably hoping that Jesus would say something that would bring improvement to his life.Little did he know...
But what Jesus said was radical, revolutionary. Jesus immediately said to him, "You must be born again!"Jesus: Not the guy you go to make your life better.
But why did Jesus say that?High?
Jesus said that because He's not looking for admiration or even deep respect. He is looking for followers. He doesn't say, "Admire me," but rather "Follow me!"Actually he didn't say either...
C.S. Lewis, the author of the famous "Chronicles of Narnia" and a Christian philosopher said:A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a "great moral teacher." He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Or you can just say that tales about Jesus, if he ever existed at all, are the product of imagination, revision, and reinterpretation. I like that one.
Jesus wants more than our admiration. He wants our worship.He's just that arrogant and demanding.
Jesus was saying, "Nicodemus, being religious and moral is not enough. Self-improvement is not enough. No, you must be born all over again."Yah, thats the hard one. Best I can tell it involves a quick prayer and a little water.
But what does that mean?Good, no effort is required. That makes it easy.
To be born again means to be "born from above." It is a radical heart change that only God can do. But it comes from above, not from self-effort or from self-improvement programs.
You might think to yourself, "Well, I'm a Christian, but I'm not one of those 'born again' types."Nope.
Newsflash – According to Jesus you can't be a genuine Christian without being born again.Not really, but I bet it involves prayer and water.
You might wonder, how does this actually happen?
We'll deal with that next weekend.Can't wait.
If you can't wait, just read Chapter 3 from the Gospel of John for the whole story.Nevermind, I guess I can wait.
There's no better source than that.Thats true, for odd rituals there is no better source then the bible.