Why Jim West Quit the Army

He is really a rather patriotic guy, but this video will explain everything:

Ohhhh, right in the Zwinglis! That’ll leave a mark.

Anyway, that was also the start of cannonical criticism, for those of you interested in the history of hertenman’ neuts.

They tried pinning a Purple Heart on him but he kept flinching so they said they were going to “discharge” him. He flinched again…

Categories: Fun

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Library Poll: What Book got the Warning Sticker from Bob Jones University?

I saw this over at Happy Jihad’s House of Pancakes and thought I just had to repost it!

BobJones

The sticker was attached to a book obtained through Interlibrary Loan. Unfortunately, Mr. Happy didn’t say which book, so let’s have a vote to see which one is most likely! This is Dr. Jim’s first poll, so c’mon and give it a try!

RBL Relevant to My Interests Lolcat Awards! November 7th

Yup, its that time again!

The three books reviewed in the latest edition of Review of Biblical Literature most relevant to my interests each win a coveted (oooo, unbiblical!) custom made Lolcat!

The Review of Biblical Literature is a publication of the Society of Biblical Literature (http://www.sbl-site.org).

Of course, I have no idea whether any of the winning authors are actually pleased to have won this award (or even know about it), or whether those who haven’t won one are saying to themselves “Whew… I got away with my credibility intact!”, but so what? Here are the winners this time around!

Geert Hallbäck and Annika Hvithamar, eds.
Recent Releases: The Bible in Contemporary Cinema
Reviewed by Diane Apostolos-Cappadona


The relationship between theology and film has always been a complicated one. When film was invented at the end of the nineteenth century, it quickly gained its place in popular culture, far from the orthodoxies of the scholarly world and of the Church. For the better part of the twentieth century popular cinema was considered off limits for serious studies of Bible and culture. Recently, however, there has been a growing understanding of how the Bible is being used in popular culture—not as a historical document or as an authoritative canon, but as part of the cultural intertext. Cinema is a vivid example of the role and impact of the Bible in contemporary society. In this well-theorized collection of essays the issue is treated from several angles. Using the methodology of theology, the question of the alleged escapism of popular cinema is explored. Using the methodology of media studies, the impact of the media on religious communication is analysed. And, using the methodology of religious studies, the influence of the cinema in the creation of new religions, religious behaviour and religious institutions is investigated. In addition, the book offers fruitful analyses of the cinematic use of biblical themes such as Eden, salvation, Mary Magdalene and Jesus—as well as of the cinematic application of ethical themes such as truth-telling, personal growth, suffering, the accomplishment of good and the creating of meaning for human beings.

JEBUS-KAT, sTUPER STARR! LA LA LA...!
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Øystein Lund
Way Metaphors and Way Topics in Isaiah 40-55
Reviewed by James M. Kennedy

Øystein Lund gives a new approach to texts in Isaiah 40-55 that deal with ways and desert transformation. Earlier exegesis has mainly read these texts in a literal way. In recent years, exegetes have pointed out that the so-called ‘exodus texts’ should rather be interpreted metaphorically. The author supports this, and accordingly seeks to continue this discourse by systematizing, intensifying, and deepening the argumentation for a metaphorical reading. He argues that most of the way-texts in Isaiah 40-55 are interrelated, and gradually contribute to explore questions regarding the way-situation of the people. The way-theme appears in the prologue, and in 40:27 a problem approach is established when the people is addressed: “How can you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right passes by my God’”? Several subsequent way-texts are related to this text, and together these draw a coherent picture in which the problematic way-situation of the people in the past and present is transformed. JHWH establishes new ways in which he leads his people through their difficult landscape. Øystein Lund argues that such a coherent reading of the way-texts gives good meaning, which is consistent with the over all message of Isaiah 40-55.

Teh way, it be blocked
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jacob Neusner, Bruce D. Chilton and Baruch A. Levine
Torah Revealed, Torah Fulfilled: Scriptural Laws in Formative Judaism and Earliest Christianity
Reviewed by James D. G. Dunn


The authors seek to identify the recurrent tensions, the blatant points of emphasis, the recurring indications of conflict and polemic. Framing the issue of the disposition of the Scriptural heritage in broad terms, they describe what characterizes the Gospels and the Mishnah, the letters of Paul and the Tosefta. In other words, if they take whole and complete the writings of first and second century people claiming to form the contemporary embodiment of Scripture’s Israel and ask what they all stress as a single point of insistence, the answer is self-evident. Nearly every Christianity and nearly all known Judaisms appeal for validation to the Scriptures of ancient Israel, their laws and narratives, their prophecies and visions. To Scripture all parties appeal — but not to the same verses of Scripture. In Scripture, all participants to the common Israelite culture propose to find validation — but not to a common theological program subject to diverse interpretation. From Scripture, every community of Judaism and Christianity takes away what it will, but not with the assent of all the others.

*****

The Runners Ups!

Who win a collective consolation prize this time around, just because that is the kind of guy I am!

UNWORTHY TO CARRY HIS SANDALS
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Jason S. DeRouchie
A Call to Covenant Love: Text Grammar and Literary Structure in Deuteronomy 5-11
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=7004 Author(s
Reviewed by Max Rogland

Larry R. Helyer
The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=6909
Reviewed by William Wilson

Richard S. Hess, Gerald A. Klingbeil, and Paul J. Ray Jr., eds.
Critical Issues in Early Israelite History
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=6942
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton
A Survey of the Old Testament
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=7091
Reviewed by William Barrick

Neil R. Parker
The Marcan Portrayal of the “Jewish” Unbeliever: A Function of the Marcan References to Jewish Scripture: The Theological Basis of a Literary Construct
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=6639
Reviewed by Adam Winn

Daniel Patte, ed.
Global Bible Commentary
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=6489
Reviewed by Gerrie Snyman

Robert M. Price
Jesus Is Dead
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=7049
Reviewed by Tony Costa

Émile Puech, ed.
Qumran Grotte 4.XXVII: Textes Araméens, deuxième partie
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=7071
Reviewed by Aaron Rubin

Paul A. Rainbow
The Pith of the Apocalypse: Essential Message and Principles for Interpretation
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=7013
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Jacqueline C. R. de Roo
Works of the Law at Qumran and in Paul
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=5997
Reviewed by Jörg Frey

Lothar Ruppert
Genesis: Ein kritischer und theologischer Kommentar 4. Teilband: Gen 37,1-50,26
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=6706
Reviewed by Mark Elliott

Susannah Ticciati
Job and the Disruption of Identity: Reading Beyond Barth
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=5202
Reviewed by Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton

NEW ORLEANS, HERE I COME!

*News flash, New Orleans evacuated AGAIN!*

Dr. Jim is almost ready for SBL in New Orleans.
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Yes, I have found my passport (it is still unexpired), I have plane tickets, a hat, a hotel reservation in the right city (!), a suitcase,  someone to mind the kitties, and so I’m almost all ready to go! Yippee! I’m forgetting something, though. I just know it. But what?

Anyway, I will be flying in to New Orleans on the Friday night on LETHBRIDGE AIR!
bearplane2

Unfortunately, I only have an economy class seat. If the Canadian Tire store has a special on duct tape, I might get upgraded to First Class! WHOOT!

bearplanePhotos from BC Hunting: http://www.huntingbc.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=40783

Cheap Shots at Sheffield from the Peanut Gallery. Witherington just doesn’t get it, does he?

There was an outpouring support last month for the almost-abolished Dept. of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield. Fortunately, the most innovative department of biblical research in the world was saved. There is some discontent, however.

Ben Witherington III, who teaches New Testament at the evangelical Asbury Theological Seminary, is featured in an article by Collin Hansen in Christianity Today (Oct. 15) about the affair. Hansen writes that the initial vision for the department, originally led by F. F. Bruce had been abandoned.

Bruce, the noted author of books such as Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free and The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, founded Sheffield’s department of biblical history and literature in 1947. But not all faculty have shared Bruce’s conservative convictions. Evangelically minded faculty, including Andrew Lincoln and Loveday Alexander, were not replaced with scholars who held similar views. Other faculty were “bent on the deconstruction of the Bible, and indeed of their students’ faith,” according to Ben Witherington…

Now, as many bloggers and bloggatorial (I just made up a word! I rock!) commentators have pointed out, Witherington simply doesn’t know what “deconstruction” means, but that’s not the real point. The real point is that he is accusing people of attempting to undermine the religious beliefs of the students attending Sheffield University and the University hiring staff based on religious belief (or lack thereof).

Breaking News - Deconstructed Cat found. Cops search for Clever Suspect, David Clines
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Stephanie Louise Fisher took Witherington to task in asking him in a comment in an unrelated blog post if he would apologize. She also wrote a brief guest post on the non-faith-descontructing blog of Jim West, writing “I think he doesn’t understand what good critical Biblical scholarship is and ignores the fact that Sheffield encourages students to form their own opinions and do not dictate to them.” Three cheers for Stephanie!

In any case, Witherington said on his own blog:

I doubt there will be a public apology. There are too many wounded in action to account for. Honestly Stephanie, Sheffield did not act wisely in not hiring folks like Loveday Alexander or Andrew Lincoln once they were gone, as they at least nurtured people in their Christian faith.

A bit on an exchange between himself and Fisher ensues, in which he says:

Do a little historical research. Start with F.F. Bruce and the original purpose and focus of the Biblical Studies Faculty at Sheffield. Then compare that to where we are now.

Then he says:

The issue isn’t hiring someone on the basis of their faith especially if they do not have the credentials and the critical training for the job. The issue is deliberately avoiding hiring people of faith, and further the issue is deliberately trying to deconstruct someone else’s faith.

And finally writes:

All the positive testimonies of Sheffield students past and present attest that good things have happened at Sheffield. My own colleague Ruthanne Reese can attest to it. But this in no way comes to grips with those Sheffield students over many years who found the denials of historical substance in the Bible, among other things, not merely disturbing but problematic.

Witherington has also been taken to task by James Crossley (of Sheffield U.) here, here and most recently here, who  rather vociferously defends the reputation of the dept. from Witherington’s serious charges.

Rather than simply repeat those points, I’d like to take off in a rather different direction which might not endear me to too many readers, but what the hell? Before turning to a few choice phrases used by Witherington, I’d like to return briefly to the Christianity Today article. There one reads how Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary lamented the proposed closing (despite being rather conservative himself). The article continues:

Bock said dropping the historic discipline of biblical studies signaled a tendency toward secularization in British universities. Others noted, however, that evangelical scholarship is much stronger today than when Bruce launched the department following World War II.

If the proposed closure represented a deliberate turn towards secularism it was certainly a misbegotten one, since that department had already been secular for many years (of course, religious people can do excellent secular work). If anything, the recent situation reflects the common misconception that teaching about religions is essentially a religious act itself. This is hardly a necessary equation but it may have been held by some higher administration folks at Sheffield when they proposed shutting the department down. Folks in biblical studies and religious studies face it all the time. Many people just do not believe that religion can be studied non-religiously. I do not know the history of the department at all, but whatever it was when it started, it became a secular department and has been for some time. I see no reason for anyone to apologize for that. Still, the department has had on staff many ordained clergy over the years.

I think that the more secular a university (or society as a whole) gets, the more it would be willing and wanting to talk about religion as a factor in human history and culture. To refuse to talk about it is to concede the field to religious mystification, and that is the opposite of proper academic goals no matter how you slice it. What happens in, around and through human actions and experience is a fair subject for human inquiry. That is the essence of the humanities and social sciences. Religion is hardly some special dimension of experience or knowledge impenetrable to those who do not share the specific “secrets” of whatever faith someone else holds. Its strategies of mystification and curtains marked “Don’t look behind here” are exactly the sort of things that secular research is intended to probe. To mix a few metaphors, the “wizard” behind the screen is a little short, self-conscious and self-appointed emperor with not a stitch of clothes on. (For a recent example of this kind of thing, read Rick Wadholm’s post on how non-religious biblical scholarship is impossible because his religion is right).

Now, back to Witherington. First of all, what is this “bent on the deconstruction of the Bible,” stuff?  He says it like it is a bad thing. As I’ve noted, Sheffield is a SECULAR university. It is supposed to analytically dismantle, poke, prod, turn upside down, inside out, interrogate,  question and generally be a busy-body nosey skeptic about ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IT DECIDES IS WORTH STUDYING! That is simply what universities do. I’m sorry if Witherington never got the damn memo about it, but it is just one of those things most scholars (religious or otherwise) can figure out for themselves. What does Witherington think his religion is OWED by Sheffield University?

In any case, given the large number of people who have been associated with Sheffield and have written about modern reading strategies et. al. for the Bible, it is hardly the case that Sheffield has sought to “deconstruct” as in “destroy” the Christian scriptures. It has sought a myriad of new ways to understand them as the product of human culture and a tool for the creation and evolution of human culture.  I suppose for Witherington, that amounts to destruction, but it is a charge that says more about Witherington’s lack of understanding about academia than it does about Sheffield.

And what of the department “deliberately trying to deconstruct someone else’s faith”? No details. But lets suppose the worst case scenario: some faculty member forcing on students a “deconversion” rhetoric under fear of failing exams or having dissertations rejected. That would, of course, be despicable, and any such students have the right to complain to the relevant university (indeed legal) authorities, and should. Is this what Witherington is charging? If so, he had better cough up the details of the “too many wounded in action to account for”. What hordes are these? Sounds more like a martyrdom complex to me.

Here is the clincher. It seems as if the wounded in action are the “Sheffield students over many years who found the denials of historical substance in the Bible, among other things, not merely disturbing but problematic”.

Oh the poor  babies!

This calls for a lolcat!

Why did you say Moses didn
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If there are problems with the historicity of the biblical text a university professor would be doing her or his students a disservice by letting them persist in the belief that such problems did not exist. If the problems are such that the biblical account should be rejected outright, then that is what must be done. Student protests be damned. People unwilling to get with the program should expect to have difficulties.

Historians do not owe Latter Day Saint students kid glove deference to Mormon beliefs about the age and origins of the book of Mormon or the settlement of North America. Palaeontologists do not owe respect to those who propagate misinformation about fossils and proper analytical methods. Moses did not write the Pentateuch, there was no exodus from Egypt that corresponds to the biblical account in any meaningful way, David and Solomon never ran an empire, donkeys never said a word, and once the Romans killed him, Jesus stayed dead, just like dead people are supposed to do. The rest is myth making, and people have been making myths for millennia. Why treat the Bible any differently?

Yet, beyond the troublesome issues of the Bible not being as historically reliable as many assume, or how its multifarious versions, manuscripts and variants complicate the issue of canonicity, or the clear evidence of tendentious redaction, addition, editing, rewriting, messes with perceptions of its unity, there is  the fact that people in their late teens and twenties WILL challenge their most dearly held beliefs. It happens to everyone; it is called growing up. One does not have to be religious to experience it.

Universities only shape the nature of the questioning that people would do anyway. This is not a bad thing, either, and universities should not have to apologize for it. Complaining that newer faculty members at Sheffield did not follow the example of their predecessors who “at least nurtured people in their Christian faith” is part of the same ignorant bluster and posturing at which Witherington seems to excel. Professors are not hired to be pastors. At least not at real universities. Universities often hire councillors for students (and staff) going through rough patches, and most (all?) universities also have chaplains, too (are religious students more psychologically needy than their non-religious class-mates?). Religious students can also attend the church, synagogue, mosque, gurdwara or temple of their choice. Why should professors be judged for not tending to the spiritual “needs” of their students? The strength that comes from faith seems rather fragile sometimes.

Of course,  professors do not wish their students to become despondent. We wish the best for them, but if they are there to learn about the world as scholarship understands it, then we would be liars if we hid or swept under the carpet what we understand to be the most reasonable conclusions about the world just so we don’t upset someone’s feelings.

Professors in departments of Political Science are not expected to nurture the Conservative, Liberal, Republican or Marxist perspectives of their students. Historians do not have to nurture the conspiracy theories some students accept about JFK, 9/11, or fluoridated water.  Mathematicians do not have console students who feel ridiculed for liking the odd numbers more than the even ones. Why should Christian faith have to be nurtured by professors?

I wonder if Witherington would nurture the faith of a Buddhist student (should any attend Asbury), or would he try to convert her?

In a comment to one of Crossley’s posts, Witherington tries to weasel out of his this accusation, saying that he knows secular faculty can’t be expected to nurture faith, but it strikes me as a bit of disingenuous damage control. He continues:

Going forward one of the questions that ought to be seriously discussed is the issue of sensitivity to and tolerance of theological differences in the students and a thoughtful addressing of issues when students feel that pejorative comments about the Bible or about their faith are at the least not fair, and hardly value neutral.

“Pejorative comments about the Bible”? Again, is that a bad thing? What would these precious little debutantes think a fair comment about the Bible is? Good chunks of it strike a lot of people as dreadfully boring. Why should they not say it? The morality of Yahweh is often deplorable, he demands genocide and gives orders demanding that women raped in cities be executed for liking it. He engages in massive corporate punishment while Ezekiel meditates like a little pervert on whore Jerusalem’s breasts. Why should anyone in a post-holocaust, post-slavery, and post-women-aren’t-legal-persons, world say anything good about that despicable old tome? All of the Bible’s literary, ethical, theological values are open for discussion and debate. Why hold back?  Dr. Witherington, are YOUR views on the Bible value-neutral?

All of this drives home the need for the guild of biblical scholarship to pay more attention to the great divide between secular scholarship and religious biblical study as an extension of the church’s (or synagogue’s) intellectual engagement with its own traditions. At some point there is nothing but complete incompatibility between the two. The continued blurring is doing no one any good.

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Seventh Day Creationists Petition the Teaching of Reality. Hopefully La Sierra will evolve into a real university.


La Sierra University in California, a Seventh Day Adventist institution, is facing a a bit of a mutiny of the faithful because some of its science faculty are teaching evolution in biology classes without including sections on the “Truth”™, i.e., creationism.  Needless to say (but I will anyway) Dr. Jim thinks La Sierra should dump the religion and teach the science.

According to the Press-Enterprise:

More than 5,600 people from around the country have signed an online petition that will be presented to the La Sierra University board of trustees at its Nov. 12 meeting. It states that creation occurred in six 24-hour days, expresses concern that evolution is presented as fact in Adventist universities and calls for the universities to explicitly inform students and parents how evolution is taught.

The ultimate goal of the petition drive is to require Adventist teaching on creation in La Sierra biology classes, said Shane Hilde, the Beaumont man and La Sierra graduate spearheading the petition drive. If that doesn’t happen, petition supporters may push La Sierra to disassociate itself from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he said.

dino_love_jesus

Stolen from Devil's garage

Of course, the university administration is caught, not wanting to compromise the school’s reputation with the non-anti-intellectuals in the world, and maintaining the denominational ties. The article also reports that Hilde is “ looking into allegations of pro-evolution biases at other Adventist universities”.

“Pro-evolution biases”? Holy chattering clam-lips, Batfuck! We can’t have 150 years of intensive scientific research by tens of thousands of highly educated people using the most sophisticated tools in the world create ‘biases’ in the study of Biology! That would be terrible! Oh the Humanity!

(ed. note: That was an editorial)

Long Lost Relatives  Kind of annoying, actually.
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The petition does not call for the dismissal of the three La Sierra biology professors who are at the center of the storm. But Hilde said “that ultimately is what happens in these situations.” What a fucking self righteous asshole.

“I would blame the administration for hiring people like this,” he said.

Lee Greer, one of the three targeted professors, declined to comment publicly. In an e-mail, Professor L. Lee Grismer called the matter a “minor controversy” and declined to discuss it further. Professor Gary Bradley did not return phone calls. In September, Bradley told the Web site Inside Higher Ed that he will not denounce or contradict evolutionary theory in his class.

University spokesman Larry Becker declined to reveal the professors’ religious affiliations. About 90 percent of La Sierra’s professors are Adventist, he said. Only Adventists are granted tenure.

“People like this”. My shattered nerves. I really do feel sorry for the profs involved. If they were hired on the agreement that they could teach according to accepted science, then it is a damn cruel thing to change rules after the fact. Hopefully they will be able to find employment at a real university soon, and they won’t have to play with these clowns anymore.

I
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According to the newspaper, in view of the protests, La Sierra now forces all biology majors to take a seminar on Seventh Day creationist doctrine that includes creation in six 24 hour days. The story doesn’t say if they subscribe to a young earth. Now, apparently there is no move to stop the teaching of evolution per se, but to merely acknowledge in class that it doesn’t fit with church doctrines. Well, whoopdie doo. Scientific facts qualified are facts denied. There is no controversy to teach and the conclusions of scientific experimentation do not constitute a “world-view” as Hilde would have it.  La Sierra’s president, Randal Wisbey, didn’t want to interviewed.

In a written statement, he said, “We expect that students will be introduced to the prevailing scientific views within a supportive classroom environment that values the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s contribution to the understanding of biblical creation.”

What a load of diplomatic hooey. Where is the value on the academics that lie behind the “prevailing scientific views”? Does this guy want to run La Sierra as a university or a church?

Worldwide Adventist Church President Jan Paulsen addressed the evolution controversy in June by calling on all Adventist university professors to advocate church teaching that creation occurred during six 24-hour days.

“Faith is certainly not subject to the findings of science,” he wrote.

Paulsen’s got it freaking backwards.

The finding of science–or history,  anthropology,  religious studies or biblical studies, for that matter-are not subject to faith.

Finally, one clever species of Catfish decided to leave the water for good, vowing never to return.
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This kind of thing really pisses me off, and only reinforces my belief that universities that answer to religious belief first and not to the conclusions of advanced research that is subject to open scrutiny are not true universities and should be shunned, blacklisted and mocked by academics around the world. If a school wants to teach science, then teach it, don’t water it down with religion or make excuses for it. If they want to teach religion, then fine, but don’t pretend to be giving your students a good education in  something else.

I feel the same way about the study of the Bible, too. Regardless of what seminaries, churches, Bible schools and Sunday Schools teach about it, it is also a subject for secular research into the history of human thought and behaviour. This secular approach to learning ABOUT religion is diametrically opposed to the teaching that any one body of religious teachings represent “truth”.

Hopefully, the board of governors will put academics ahead of appeasing the anti-intellectuals in the Church, and if that means breaking its ties with the Church, so be it. The students will be the ones to benefit.

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Carrie Prejean, A Cat Fight, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Ceiling Cat is watching you…

Well, its Friday, I’ve just about survived the cold, swine flu, or whatever the hell it was that was trying to kill me for the past 10 days or so, and so, I’m back to my old tricks, and its time for some good old smut and opinions here on the Thinkings Shop!

How about Carrie Prejean, eh? You shoot your mouth off about good old ungay family values and get pitched from a nice, family oriented body-rating contest, sue the jerks and next thing you know your home videos of you skronking yourself show up and you have to abandon the suit. And then you are off the bill of some Religiously Right function in New Jersey.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Carrie Prejean!
Of course, abandoning her suits, dresses and most other items of attire sort of comes naturally to her, doesn’t it?

 

0923_carrie_prejean_spidergirl

Carrie modelling halloween costumes.

 

 

CarriePrejeanByPhilKonstantin

Carrie. At least mostly clothed. No telling where her hands are, though.

Defender of the Family

From TMZ.com

Now, I wonder what Bill and George’s excellent adventure was. Did it involve Ms. Prejean? Was there any Whippanying going on? Wait a while, the tapes are likely to surface soon enough!

with_your_tongue

Anyhoo, it seems that Prejean was suing the Miss California USA Pageant that dumped her for mor than a million bucks after he ant-gay marriage remarks, but then a tape magically appeared of Prejean enjoying her own company. TMZ reports that the movie is pretty racy, but the buggers haven’t posted it so you will have to use your imagination (presumably she was, too).

The video the lawyer showed Carrie is extremely graphic and has never been released publicly. We know that, because TMZ obtained the video months ago but decided not to post it because it was so racy. Let’s just say, Carrie has a promising solo career.

We’re told it took about 15 seconds for Carrie to jettison her demand and essentially walk away with nothing.

Oh well. Shit happens.

But really, how the hell did the pageant’s lawyers get the darn tape? And why can’t I have a copy? How many did Prejean distribute? Was it an ex-boyfriend out for revenge, and decided to give the tape to the lawyers? If so, will he be selling it to the highest bidders? Inquiring perverts want to know!

jesusboobs2

From Zaius Nation blog.

Another report has it that Prejean denied that it was her on the tape until the lawyer zoomed in on her face (no report on what was zooming in on before).

Now, Prejean was supposed to appear (in clothes, presumably) at an anti-Gay Defenders of the Family function in Whippany N. J. She is no longer appearing, clothed or otherwise. No word on who dumped who.

Well, there is a biblical way of understanding Prejean’s undoing and her various doings…

“Why do you strain at the gay in your neighbour’s bed and ignore the unreimbursed boobjob,  dildo, and camera, in your own!”

Gay Marriage Miss CaliforniaCarrie, reading the operating manual.

~~~~~~~

In related news: It would seem that it’s a tough world, that of the beauty queen. This according to the Huffington Post via Jim West, who has probably been beat up by many women. H.P. reports how Miss England, Rachel Christie, recently got into a brawl in a bar with another pageant winner, Miss Manchester, Sara Beverley Jones. Christie lost her crown and has withdrawn from another pageant. No word on who won the fight, or if Jones is now Miss England.

Rachel

Photo from UK Today News

SBJ
~~~~~

In related news: Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina are undertaking a study on sex toys. Again, I found out about this from Jim West, the purient little weirdo that he is… The main story comes from the paper, the News Observer.

For much of October, researchers recruited female Duke students to take part in a “sexually explicit” study on Tupperware-style parties in which sex toys, not kitchenware, are the draw.

The ads, which were posted around campus and on a research study Web site, sought female students at least 18 years old to “view sex toys and engage in sexually explicit conversation with other female Duke students.”

Needless to say, this has got some folks a little hot under the clerical collar. Father Joe Vetter is particularly steamy.

“I’m concerned about promiscuity also,” Vetter said. “And to be honest, I don’t have the solution. … My concern is these students are in this developmental phase, and I don’t think it’s a good developmental practice to just tell somebody to just sit around and masturbate. I don’t think that promotes relationships.”

Vetter hopes to take up the topic on Sunday with students. He wrote for the Sunday bulletin: “Can We Talk About Sex in Church?”

SexChurch

Well, if people starting having sex in church they would probably be asked to leave. You can’t please some people!

Well, talking about sex in church sounds like fun, doesn’t it? And given the number of Catholic clergy that do more than talk about sex, in church or other places, one wonders what the hell Vetter hopes to accomplish other than the get the thrill of talking about forbidden fruit in church. The Catholic church is chockfull of clerical prejeaners, some with cameras and some not. Given their enforced celibacy, the coverups of sex scandals, anti-safe sex policies and their obsessiveness with other people’s bedroom, the virginity of Mary, Jesus and who knows who else, why the hell should anyone listen to what Vetter has to say about anything. Let him stew in his own “Covenant Spice” juices.

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Dr. Jim Puts Down Dawkins’ New Book

Yup, I’ve finished it. It’s a pretty darn good read, too.

DawkinsShowThe book is intended to provide evidence for evolution, but I doubt any true believer in the opposite positions will be convinced. No matter, it gives people with confidence in people’s ability to educate themselves a lot to think about, and a fairly easy to understand overview of the many different kinds of evidence for a very old and ever-changing life on this planet.

I’m not much of a science guy, but I really like fossils and so forth, and it was interesting to read Dawkins explaining how evolution can be demonstrated without relying on fossils at all. There are all kinds of other proofs, from comparison of living species to DNA analysis.

I appreciated the bits on protein folding and Origami. It was pretty fascinating stuff.

What I really liked was the descriptions of some of the different kinds of experiments that show evolution happening, e.g.,  balancing sexual selections with predation levels in guppies. Guppettes like their men brightly coloured but such dedicated followers of fashion tend to get eaten a lot. With high levels of predation, the gentle-fish that survived to pass on their genes were well camouflaged and this influenced the whole male population in several generations. Where there was no predation, the males were eventually became more flamboyantly coloured.

Here is a cool website I found this morning: 12 Elegant Examples of Evolution And there are some more guppies.

Not a guppy. Tiktaalik Image: Ted Daeschler / Nature

I should say that I was originally a bit put out by Dawkins likening creationists to holocaust deniers. I don’t think the vast majority of evolution-deniers are evil, wicked or hateful. They are just wrong. Yet, I do see his point, and my initial resistance has faded.

Why should historians of the twentieth century have to keep defending the fact that the Holocaust happened against a minority that refuses to accept what has happened? There probably are more creationists trying to get science degrees than there are holocaust deniers trying to get history degrees.

Similarly, why should Religious Studies profs have to keep going over the need for a secular approach to religion? Religions cover the tracks of their own origins sometimes rather blatantly, denying that events happened, etc. to push the traditional myths of revelation and so forth (e.g., the origins of the Book of Mormon). Oh well, that is a topic for a different rant.

Anyway, if you want a good read on evolution, give Dawkins’ new one a read. Unless you know the field already, you will learn lots and it is rather well written.

Now, what is my next non-work related read?

It’s this: The First Fossil Hunters: Palaeontology in greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor, who collects a lot of evidence of Greco-Roman fascination with fossils. Just started it, and it looks like a fun read.

Now, all of this evolution stuff reminds me. I need a new Know Yer Nuts article! And I know just the right bunch to feature! Stay tuned!

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Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Public Professor

It’s been a while since I posted the Public Professor columns from the Lethbridge Herald. They even stopped putting them online, too (Grrr).

Anyway, here is the latest by yours truly from last Saturday.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: the old lie.

One of the most insidious documents produced in the 20th century was the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, a cornerstone in the anti-Semitic library. It purports to contain the speeches of a Jewish leader of a conspiracy controlling the world’s banks, industry, governments, and press. The book is a plagiarized forgery, but this has not stopped it enjoying a huge audience willing to believe its patent untruths.

In the brief book, the leader of a Jewish conspiracy recounts the twenty four “protocols” or facets of a global conspiracy that stretched back over centuries. He claims the conspiracy invented the features of the late 19th century European world that brought so much promise and misery. Free speech sowed dissent. Communism and capitalism were both part of the plot. The theory of evolution, alcoholism and pornography were tools to distract and disrupt. Political upheaval ensured that the Elders’ enemies were divided and conquered. Education and the press were controlled; memory and history selectively erased and manipulated.

The book reformulates earlier fears that the rapidly modernizing and changing world was actually run by a secret organization; sometimes imagined to be an alliance of occultists and Free Masons, although Jews were also sometimes implicated. In the 19th century, the role Jews played in these fantasies increased to the point where the Masons were seen to be but pawns in their hands.

In the mid 1800s, the French author Eugene Sue wrote a novel called The Mysteries of the People in which Jesuit monks plotted against the world. This story was adapted by Maurice Joly in 1864 in a political pamphlet called “Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu” that mocked the ambitions of French ruler Napoleon III. Neither writer mentions Jews. Protocols also bears the influence of a chapter in the anti-Semitic writer Hermann Goedsche’s novel, Biarritz.

With calls for drastic reform and social upheaval sweeping Czarist Russia at the turn of the twentieth century, Joly’s pamphlet was rewritten to deflect bitterness onto Russia’s Jews, who were already badly mistrusted and mistreated. Thus, Protocols was born. Instrumental in this was Sergei Nilus, who had connections at the Russian court. He produced his own version of the Protocols as a chapter in a book he published in 1905, and it was this version that spread around the world in a myriad of translations and editions. Its plagiarized origins were exposed in the early 1920s, but that hardly slowed its sales.

1934 U.S. edition, photo from Wikipedia

 

Among its avid readers was Adolph Hitler who praised it in his own book of 1925/26, Mein Kampf. Henry Ford serialized it in his anti-Semitic newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. Also influenced by the book was Major C. H. Douglas, whose Social Credit financial policies were meant to counter the influence of a perceived international financial conspiracy. Through Social Credit, the notorious forgery has strong Canadian and Alberta connections.

From Wikipedia

 

In the 1940s, Social Credit MP for Wetaskiwin, Norman Jaques, tried reading the Protocols in the House of Commons. Lethbridge MP John Horne Blackmore (MP 1935-58) was considered by many as subscribing to belief in a Jewish world conspiracy, although he denied any feelings of anti-Semitism. The Quebec Social Credit Party newspaper actually printed the Protocols. Alberta’s Social Credit government in the 1930s and ‘40s were often accused of anti-Semitism. While Premiers Aberhart and Manning made no accusations against Jews, the provincial party’s newspaper often did not. When Manning finally suppressed the anti-Semitic voices in the Alberta party after WW II, he was accused by some of selling out the party’s principles to Zionism.

cameron

"Bible Bill" Aberhart, radio preacher and Social Credit Premier of Alberta. Photo from the Glenbow Museum's archives of cartoons by Stewart Cameron

 

 

A good book about this infamous forgery is A Rumor about the Jews by Stephen Eric Bronner (St. Martin’s Press, 2000).

This site has a number of resources on the Protocols.

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Christian Ethics Lesson #1 by Jim West. Turn the Other Cheek

After “exposing” Scott Bailey of Scotteriology’s mishap with PowerPoint during a service (apparently, some of Scot’s “personal” pictures got mixed in with the more churchy ones, Jim West is proudly showing off photos of a project he did during seminary on “Ethical Evangelism in a Prophetic Context. Know the signs”.

judgementday

Not only did West get an “A” on that assignment, and publish his findings in a paper called ”Why doth the Heathen Rage?”, he got most of his data for his thesis, ”Getting both cheeks slapped, a quick how-to guide”, and he got a glorious idea for a post-doc project on eschatology: “Left Behind, getting it anti-christly kicked. Another how to guide”.