Hobart Tasmania now has atheist bus ads! HT to the Friendly Atheist.
Put up by the Atheist Foundation of Australia.
At least if the devil-drivin bus hits a tree now, the bus will win!
Posted on January 4, 2010 at 8:24 pm by Dr. Jim
Posted on January 4, 2010 at 7:46 pm by Dr. Jim
I’m way behind schedule but I’m desperately trying to get my course outline and syllabus ready for my Religious Studies 3400 class that starts on Wednesday. It is mostly done, but I’m getting just plain depressed by it. It is called “Anti-Semitism through the ages”. My shattered nerves there are some twisted people on this planet. I’ve just finished visiting “Stormfront” and the the “National Socialist Party of Canada” websites.
Found this on “Stormfront”, posted on Christmas freakin’ eve, by some jerk who calls him/herself “The Fancy1″.
A few of us here in Lethbridge Alberta have JUST started some covert activism. Posters, info sheets inside the newspapers in the news boxes on corners, ect.
We need to do something, sitting back and watching our country slide further into the **** pool isn’t helping anything.
I challenge ALL WN to put forth an effort, even if it is only ONE poster, or ONE leaflet inside a returned library book.
This is too important to ignore. United we stand people!
Frikkin’ jerkoffs. I suppose I should send an email to the Library asking them to check returned books. Here are a couple of gems from the Canucko-nazis “Proposed Constitution of Canada”.
Adolf Hitler was the gift of an inscrutable Providence to a world on the brink of Jewish-Bolshevik catastrophe, and that only the blazing spirit of this heroic man can give us the strength and inspiration to bring the world a new birth of radiant idealism, realistic peace, international order and social justice for all men.
Residents of Canada will consist of citizens, subjects, and guest workers.
1. Citizens must be of at least 75% White European extraction. They cannot be Jews or of the Jewish religion. Citizenship courts will be established under the judicial branch of government to judge all cases of ambiguous ancestry based on the best available science.
Natives, by the way, are not citizens but “subjects”…
Anyway, here is a draft of the course’s blurb (subject to change…) and the booklist
This course will trace the history of anti-Jewish sentiments and anti-Semitic thought and action from the late pre-Common Era to the present. While some consideration will be given to Islamic Jewish relations the bulk of attention will be on Europe and North America. Students will be expected to become familiar with the major episodes in this history along with the impact on Jewish life, Jewish defensive strategies and self-perception.
Besides looking at the development of significant caricatures, stereotypes and images of Jews, the course will investigate the demonization of Judaism as a satanic “anti-Christianity”, a situation that lead to Jews being accused of defiling and inverting key Christian rituals and ideals, of all Jews bering regarded as greedy hypocrites, apostates, Christ-killers, ritual murderers and cannibals. This religious mythology lead to frequent instances of legal restrictions, expulsion, of Jews and many executions, lynchings and mass-murders.
The rise of more secular anti-Semitic mythology and conspiracy theories about Jews in the 19th century as part of the backlash against modernization and the enlightenment and the rise of nationalism will also be studies. Particular attention will be given to the formation and impact of one of the most influential expressions of anti-Semitic thought in the modern world, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and to key documents written as part of the Nazi industrialization of hate and genocide.
Modern phenomena such as Holocaust denial and the use of European modes and mythology of anti-Semitism in the continuing Middle East conflicts and the resulting rise in hate crimes in Canada and elsewhere will also be considered.
Antisemitism: Myth and Hate from Antiquity to the Present, Marvin Perry and Fredrick M. Schweitzer
A Rumor about the Jews: Reflections on Antisemitism and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Stephen Eric Bronner
Sources of the Holocaust, Steve Hochstadt (ed.)
Antisemitic Myths: A Historical and Contemporary Anthology, Marvin Perry and Fredrik M. Schweitzer, (eds.)
This is the first time I’ve taught this course, and I’m nervous as hell about it. It really is a new area for me, and I hope I manage to teach the class something. There are around 30 students registered. A few friendly faces, so that is good.
Posted on January 3, 2010 at 9:40 am by Dr. Jim
Now that all the uproar of his poor driving skills while under the influence of pure lust and stupidity has died down, and having lost all his endorsements, wrecked his vehicle, and had his wife run off in the golf-cart back to her mom’s, Tiger Woods has announced his new ride for the upcoming Golf season. It’s an economical, full-time 4×4 that is environmentally friendly, helps keep the fairways properly mowed and fertilized, has some steel reinforced safety features, and helps the the great golfer express his true nature.
Posted on January 2, 2010 at 9:09 am by Dr. Jim
Of course, we are all thinking “Where’s he at?” and we all know who we are talking about. Well, he has been found. All this stuff about deleting blogs… all a coverup. It is revealed after the break.
Posted on January 1, 2010 at 9:37 pm by Dr. Jim
A few months ago, I didn’t get a post into either the Carnival of the Godless or the Biblioblogger’s Carnival, and so I made my own little “Carnival”. In answer to objections from some of the riff-raff fans of the site (note that I did NOT mention the name of JOHN VOKEY), it was a Carnival of Slinky Bible Babes. Of course, I did not find a post about EVERY woman to get a mention in the Bible and be represented by the motion picture and pin-up industry, so there were some further complaints about omissions. Its about time to address that in a positive way.
So here is PART II of Slinky Bible Babes!
And this is also in consolation for me dropping out out the Bibliobloggers Top 10. I’m #11.
So let’s have some thematically appropriate Slinky Jazz Babe Music to start!
So, lets start all nice and rural with some ancient Israelite (and Moabite) farm girls. The biblical story of Ruth and Naomi is a heart warming tale with some interesting innuendos that are usually lost in translation for the faithful. Anyway, for the uninitiated, the book of Ruth is about a widow, Naomi, and her equally widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth and how the latter gets herself a new man.
When Ruth finds her hard-workin macho-man, she curls up when he is sleeping off a hard day harvesting and this is the scene that the “The story of Ruth” omits. Matt Page, in his excellent blog Bible Films, comments that of the four films of Ruth that he knows of, two were made for children. As Page puts it:
That would also explain the only glaring omission from the story – the episode where Ruth “sleeps at the feet” of Boaz. Many scholars consider this to be a euphemism, and I suppose that even taken literally it is hardly the kind of thing a Sunday School teacher wants to encourage her class to do. It’s a shame though that of only four films about Ruth, half of them are for children, and one is so old that the emotional/relational/sexual implications of this scene are unexplored.
Anyway, we are all adults here, or at least will be one day if nothing goes terribly wrong, so just take it for granted that the above picture is probably not quite what the biblical writer was talking about. Here is Elana Eden again. Use your imagination. I know I have.
Esther is another of the rare biblical books with a female lead character. The book is a nice little fiction, telling how an even nicer Jewish girl marries the King of Persia and then saves her people from a plot by the mean, nasty, cruel and rotten Haman to kill them all.
Tiffany Dupont in “One Night with the King” (2005).
There have been a number of Esther movies. Again, Matt Page has the details.
Louise Lombard (1999) TV movie.
Joan Collins in Esther and the King (1960).
Well, lets flip back to Genesis. Eve was (un)covered in part 1, and Potiphar’s wife was uncovering Joseph as well, but there are other ladies. For example:
Mrs Abraham must be hard to cast for film makers. On the one hand, she is supposed to be very beautiful. On the other hand, she is supposed to be around 100 years old before the story really begins. Jacquelline Bisset is probably as good a compromise as can be done! Sarah’s daughter in law (Mrs. Isaac) gets some mention in Genesis, and some attention from the film industry.
Now then, Rebecca had two daughters in law married to her kid Jacob, but that’s ok, because the two girls were sisters. It was their dad’s fault. Not that the girls got along all that well. As Rabbi Waskow puts it, “Listen to the text: their struggle is so tense that Rachel says, ” ‘With Godlike wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed’”
I got lazy trying to find movie stills of them. So here is probably what is going through your mind as represented by the art of interpretative puppetry.
I know, I posted it before, but it is one of my favourite Muppet skits.
Ok, lets have a few more.
How about a Mary! (Magdalene, that is!)
Maria Grazia Cucinotta as M. M. in the italian film released in the US as Mary Magdalene. The picture above is low resolution, so here she is again, somewhat less biblical. You can just google-image her name to check out more of her talents…
THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
Ah, the Queen of Heaven! Either the Virgin Mary or some pagan goddess. The latter’s worship really pissed off Jeremiah.
moar funny pictures
And while we are on the topic of Diva Demonic, here is the
THE WHORE OF BABYLON
Fritz Lang’s 1927 Metropolis. Brigitte Helm as the Maschinenmenche / False Mary, dancing as the Whore of Babylon.
Posted on December 31, 2009 at 12:09 am by Dr. Jim
Since starting to grade essays and exams a few weeks ago, then doing the usual holiday visiting rounds, loafing, over eating, over drinking, and shovelling tons of snow, I’ve haven’t been blogging much, my Alexa rating has fallen dramatically, I’m no longer in the top bazzilion, and I haven’t even been reading blogs much of late.
BUT I’M BACK NOW!
(more or less)
It seems that a bit of kaffufle has broken out between John Loftus of Debunking Christianity fame and Jim West of Jim West fame about the basic character, intelligence, integrity, education, and biblioblogging credentials of each other. Loads of comments have been made and a few other bloggers have jumped in, and a lot of unpleasantness has hit the fan. In the process, my name has come up a few times so I thought I would offer some rather rambling comments on the whole sordid mess. I’m a bit amused by some of what has transpired, and bored by some other bits. But I’m actually mad as hell about some of it, too. Still, I will try to be diplomatic Canadian about it.
I don’t really know where it all started, but I think there is a long backstory. On the one hand, Loftus recently says that West hasn’t got a real degree (Dec. 29), he could well be idiot of the year (Dec. 29) and that West has been smacked down (Dec 29) by Loftus’ new-found high standing on the Alexa rankings. He claims that his ascent up Alexa’s rankings that put him ahead of almost every other Biblioblogger led to the demise of the monthly rankings posted at the Top 50 Bibliobloggers.
On the other hand, West has noted the likeness of John Loftus to Ronald Regan (Dec. 28), and has apparently found Loftus going into Walmart on the People of Walmart site. Now, this might all be fun and games if directed at someone West actually gets along with (despite disagreements on any particular scholarly or philosophical point). It is a little game lots of people in the what-ever-the-hell-the-biblioblogging-community-is plays (including yours truly). Its been directed at me with no insult taken, and its something I’ve dished out, with all kind intents. When directed at someone one does NOT get along with or respect, however, the humor just gets lost in the nasty. Anyway, that’s the way it strikes me. It really adds nothing to the conversation (such as it was) and it probably sends mixed messages to other people. When West plays the game with others, is he just provoking a good natured retaliation in fun or is he just being rude there to?
On the third hand, Joel Watts, the true Mind behind the Church of Jesus Christ, jumped into the fray on the 29th, declaring that Loftus is not a biblioblogger and really shouldn’t be attacking West.
Well, I think Loftus is a complete and utter, well, no, I’ll take the high road. I think that as a biblioblogger (Yes, I am), and the current and reigning number 2, and pretty humbly proud of those things, an attack on one biblioblogger by a, whatever Loftus is, is an attack on us all. Regardless if you like Dr. West or not, he is a biblioblogger and a believer, and frankly, well, what Loftus is doing, is just wrong, stupid, and childish (again, no offense to the children who act better than Loftus). This is not the ‘lesser of two evils’ trick, but an honest to goodness and sincere motivation to stand with fellow bibliobloggers.
Loftus responds with his conspiracy theory in a few other posts (here 29th, here and here, Dec. 30). I really don’t know where Loftus gets the idea that the abandonment of the monthly completely for fun rankings was a plot to disassociate him from the ranks of other folks who blog about the Bible. I don’t think it is really justified. There have been complaints about the ranking system since I started paying attention to it all this past summer with other complaining that the first bunch of complainers were just taking things too darn seriously.
There have been tons of comments on these posts by Loftus, West, McGrath, Watts, Avalos, and others, including Stephanie Fisher (who, as a cat lover, is simply beyond reproach). At some point, someone called someone else a poo-poo head, and it got ugly. Maybe we need a distraction.
My name came up in Polycarp’s (aka Joel Watt’s) post, so I thought I would chime in. First of all, I appreciate Joel’s point that I’m not really out to destroy the SBL, despite his posted claims to the contrary. Good fun is good fun, and I’ve sent a bit down his way, too. As to whether who is, or is not a “biblioblogger” I don’t really give a damn. In a post on Loftus’ blog, Hector Avalos has weighed in on the question and I agree with his conclusion:
Ultimately, the “guild” of self-described bibliobloggers will have to decide on the definition and qualifications of bibliobloggers. What I argue here is that the discussion so far seems based on applying unclear or inconsistent criteria for who counts as a “true” biblioblogger. It seems very much like a sectarian war or a war between heresy (secularism) and Christian/biblical “orthodoxy.”
Beyond that, not much more needs be said except that most of the time I blog about the Bible it is in the context of laughing at a creationist or posting pictures of barely dressed actresses from Bible movies, e.g.:
In the light of this, I don’t intend this to get at all personal but I find Watt’s description of me a bit “interesting”, to say the least. He writes: ”but honestly, even as an atheist, he is a bible scholar and thus a biblioblogger”. ”Even as an atheist”? How odd! In one of the first comments on Watt’s post, Bitsy Griffin asks why an atheist would want to be a biblical scholar. How very odd!
Why shouldn’t an atheist be a biblical scholar, and why should there be language like “even as an atheist…” as if that makes the attaining of academic credentials, positions or publication deals seem somehow irregular?
Atheists can study the Vedas in depth, Confucianism, the formation of the Talmud, LDS history, the Waco fiasco, scientology, the meso-American human sacrifice cults, Babylonian and Norse religions, “Cargo” cults, and a bazzilion other religious traditions, ideas, events and productions. Why is it so weird that we would want an explanation for the Bible that does not depend upon according it some kind of special status as divine, or even particularly insightful book? To understand humanity requires understanding religion. Why should an atheist try to understand the Bible, Christianity, and related things as human productions? Simply because they are there.
I would enthusiastically agree with Loftus (and Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett et. al.) that the privileged social position of the religion should be challenged. With Avalos and a number of others, I’m sure that the academic study of the Bible should be directed away from its theological nursery and be firmly located within the secular study of every other cultural product. I also think that this is a goal worth doing something about, even if it means a major shakeup in scholarly organizations like the Society of Biblical Literature. The privileged social position of religion (and especially Christianity) in the SBL is such that even though for the most part the society is secular, one does not often openly speak about being secular, or criticize academic work that seems compromised by theological or confessional biases. It seems embarrassed by its own nature. This needs addressing as does the idea that it is odd or exceptional that fully secularlized folk might want to study the Bible.
Still, I don’t think the SBL’s scholarly auspices are the right place for fighting the fight against religion in general. That being said, the SBL should not be “neutral ground” on which any discourse about the Bible is championed, but “secular ground” which admits no deity as influencing human affairs and products. That is rather different territory than that which hosts atheist rallies, though. I think this is the position shared with the majority of the two dozen or so SBL members who have signed up with the movement to redirect the SBL to a more fully secular point of view (But I don’t think it is shared by all).
Let me say something I’ve said often times before. Despite my rather strong atheism, I don’t think that people who do subscribe to religious ideas are necessarily stupid or can have nothing to offer the secular study of the Bible or religion in general. On the contrary, I would defend the integrity of many religious folks in the SBL as competent scholars. I would like to have the favour returned.
I hardly agree with Loftus that West deserves idiot of the year accolades (my vote goes for a certain vice presidential candidate). But besides his rather not-funny photo-pun of Loftus as Reagan and a Walmart customer, Jim West has also made a few rather insulting posts about atheists in general. Besides quoting some famous non-atheists, West adds his own commentary:
Calvin on the insanity of atheism (Dec. 29)
Well said, John. Atheism is insanity. Hence, there’s no more point in arguing with (or even discussing things with) an atheist than there is in walking into an insane asylum and attempting to carry on a lucid conversation with persons utterly devoid of the gift of lucidity.
I can do this forever. It’s actually kind of fun. Christian literature is packed with denunciations of the foolishness of atheism. It’s only the simpering postmodern afraid of her own shadow who is fearful of calling a spade a spade and entering the fray; who practices a sort of ‘Chamberlain-ian appeasement’ towards radical atheists that’s both unbecoming and unnecessary.
Joseph Addison on Atheists (Dec 30):
Poking fun at atheists: free! Making atheists mad: easy! Conducting discourse or conversation with atheists: pointless. Depicting atheists as animals wandering in a pasture… priceless!
Well, whoopdee fucking doo! I wonder what would happen to my status as a “Biblioblogger” or even as and academic if I posted similar things about religious people? But really, are ALL religious people incompetent idiots or outright lunatics with whom intelligent conversation is impossible? No. Does West really think that no atheist can be worth talking too? He sure seems to. Is Jim West worth talking to?
A few months ago, when the Secular Criticism of the Bible group was in its very early “lets talk about it” stage on this blog, I commented on the absurd blither from an SBL member Rick Wadholm, who couldn’t see how anyone could be non-religious about anything. If West really thinks that no atheist is worth talking to than he is as bad as Wadholm. And since I enjoyed a rather nice chat over coffee with him at SBL, I’m now wondering just where he stands on a whole lot of things.
Maybe in Atlanta in 2010 I will try to glean a few edible bunches of academic fodder from wandering in the book display pasture and he can mock me from a distance, but why shouldn’t I put him on my Don’t Talk to These People at the Next SBL Meeting Even If They Say “Hello” list? No point having him get some cheap giggles out of pretending to take me seriously. Hiding behind the rhetoric and bombast of a bunch of dead theists or even the Bible might be fun, but it is a stupid cheap shot.
Claims that non-belivers have no understanding is just part of the self-serving veil of mystique religions weave for themselves. It is part of the construction of religion that is quite fittingly an important, and hardly impossible, topic of scholarly investigation. Is it scholarly to gloat at those who believe in the now-exposed man behind the curtain? No, I don’t think so. But it is hardly scholarly to insult to rule out any contribution by those who call attention to the curtain in the first place.
Posted on December 28, 2009 at 3:23 pm by Dr. Jim
Designing action figures for fans of his Sects and Violence blog!
Posted on December 25, 2009 at 10:40 am by Dr. Jim
Saw this on the Freethought and Rationalism Discussion Board.
CNN has a piece on debates in the US about the Prosperity Gospel with some folks arguing that Jesus was born into a wealthy family.
[Rev. C. Thomas] Anderson says Jesus couldn’t have been poor because he received lucrative gifts — gold, frankincense and myrrh — at birth. Jesus had to be wealthy because the Roman soldiers who crucified him gambled for his expensive undergarments. Even Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, lived and traveled in style, he says.
“Mary and Joseph took a Cadillac to get to Bethlehem because the finest transportation of their day was a donkey,” says Anderson. “Poor people ate their donkey. Only the wealthy used it as transportation.”
Ah, there is nothing like inventing a past to justify one’s present or hoped for future!
And lets not forget the other image of Christmas!
CERTAIN POOR SHEPHERDS
Oh, and Rev. Anderson reminds everyone that Jesus and his band of apostles had a bag of money, so that proves they were rich. Oh yeah, but who was carrying it?
That’s right! Judas kept the loot, and betrayed Jesus with a kiss! Not sure how the Mistletoe got involved, but there you go. See, there really is a biblical warrant for giving the clergy all your money!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, AND TO ALL A GOOD PARKING SPOT FOR THE BOXING DAY SALES!
And so lets have some music!
Christmas Suck, Arrogant Worms!
Posted on December 21, 2009 at 9:33 am by Dr. Jim