Whenever someone writes a book about religion, the writer pays tribute to mammon. Interviews are given, TED talks are given, and the printed donkey flogged within an inch of its life. The book of the moment is Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion. The author is Alain de Botton. A chat on blogginheadstv goes over the same material.
The idea is that atheists can learn a thing or two from the believers. Mr. de Botton also gave a TED Talk about this concept. TED provides a transcript, which makes the bloggers endeavor a bit easier. Quotes below,from the transcript, are in blue. Editorial comments, by the house, are in green.
One of the most common ways of dividing the world is into those who believe and those who don’t — into the religious and the atheists. And for the last decade or so, it’s been quite clear what being an atheist means. There have been some very vocal atheists who’ve pointed out, not just that religion is wrong, but that it’s ridiculous. These people, many of whom have lived in North Oxford, have argued — they’ve argued that believing in G-d is akin to believing in fairies and essentially that the whole thing is a childish game.
We may as well began by questioning the entire belief paradigm. Christians believe G-d exists, and a few other things. Atheists do not believe G-d exists. What no one seems to be questioning is whether belief is the best way to go about the G-d issue. The word gnosis (the root of agnostic) refers to having a knowledge of G-d… to feeling her presence in your soul. There are some who say that man and G-d are one and the same. When all you have is a belief… a strongly felt thought… you just might be missing most of the picture.
Christianity is a religion based on beliefs. One of the central beliefs is the notion that having the correct beliefs will cause you to be “saved”… to go to heaven when you die, instead of hell. This is a big deal to Christians, who find it difficult to deal with someone who is not as fascinated by belief in “salvation” as they are. Some say Jesus is appalled by this obsession with life after death.
Atheism seems to be a reaction to Christianity. If they Christians did not tell them about G-d, how would they know what not to believe in?
“they’ve argued that believing in G-d is akin to believing in fairies and essentially that the whole thing is a childish game.”
Oh my, what a terrible thing to say about faeries. Maybe faeries are not something to believe in either. Just wear the fabulous fashions, and don’t worry about that silly religion business.
Mr. de Botton laments the lack of community is atheism, and he may have a point. PG has often envied the sense of extended family that churches seem to offer. If only those pesky beliefs didn’t get in the way. Does religion fulfill a tribal need for conformity, rather than spiritual fulfillment?
“Now religions start from a very different place indeed. All religions, all major religions, at various points call us children. And like children, they believe that we are in severe need of assistance. We’re only just holding it together. Perhaps this is just me, maybe you. But anyway, we’re only just holding it together. And we need help. Of course, we need help. And we need guidance and we need learning.”
It is a common rule of public speaking… you treat children as though they were adults, and adults as though they were children. The concept of being “born again”, of having a second childhood… these are very appealing notions. Can an atheist church offer these good times? Or would it spoil the fun by treating “worshipers” as adults?
Another point about education: we tend to believe in the modern secular world that if you tell someone something once, they’ll remember it. Sit them in a classroom, tell them about Plato at the age of 20, send them out for a career in management consultancy for 40 years, and that lesson will stick with them. Religions go, “Nonsense. You need to keep repeating the lesson 10 times a day. So get on your knees and repeat it.” That’s what all religions tell us: “Get on you knees and repeat it 10 or 20 or 15 times a day.” Otherwise our minds are like sieves.
So religions are cultures of repetition. They circle the great truths again and again and again. We associate repetition with boredom. “Give us the new,” we’re always saying. “The new is better than the old.” If I said to you, “Okay, we’re not going to have new TED. We’re just going to run through all the old ones and watch them five times because they’re so true. We’re going to watch Elizabeth Gilbert five times because what she says is so clever,” you’d feel cheated.
PG listened to the embedded TED talk twice, the second time taking notes in the transcript. The idea of listening to this lecture three more times is horrific.
The other thing that religions are really aware of is: speak well — I’m not doing a very good job of this here — but oratory, oratory is absolutely key to religions. In the secular world, you can come through the university system and be a lousy speaker and still have a great career. But the religious world doesn’t think that way. What you’re saying needs to be backed up by a convincing way of saying it.
So if you go to an African American Pentecostalist church in the American South and you listen to how they talk, my goodness, they talk well. After every convincing point, people will go, “Amen, amen, amen.” At the end of a really rousing paragraph, they’ll all stand up, and they’ll go, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Christ, thank you Savior.” If we were doing it like they do it — let’s not do it, but if we were to do it — I would tell you something like, “Culture should replace scripture.” And you would go, “Amen, amen, amen.” And at the end of my talk, you would all stand up and you would go, “Thank you Plato, thank you Shakespeare, thank you Jane Austen.” And we’d know that we had a real rhythm going. All right, all right. We’re getting there. We’re getting there.
This is one issue where PG has a big, big problem. Jesus worship is an emotional affair. Powerful feelings are stirred up. This power, and fury, can be a terrifying thing if it is used against you.
This use of Jesus driven emotions is an issue in American politics today. The force and thunder of a screaming Jesus worshiper, leading his flock of angry sheep, is a terrible thing to have used against you. It is hoped that an Atheist church would be more “humanistic”.
No, we need to be polite about differences. Politeness is a much-overlooked virtue. It’s seen as hypocrisy. But we need to get to a stage when you’re an atheist and someone says, “Well you know, I did pray the other day,” you politely ignore it. You move on. Because you’ve agreed on 90 percent of things, because you have a shared view on so many things, and you politely differ… That’s what the religious wars of late have ignored. They’ve ignored the possibility of harmonious disagreement.
Two wrongs do not make a right. Jesus worshipers are notorious for interrupting you if something is said they do not like. Perhaps this is another function of the belief based religion. When you believe something, and do not understand why someone does not share your belief, you don’t have time to listen. This rudeness does not speak well for Jesus. Hopefully, atheists can be a bit better.
This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress. Russell Lee took the pictures in October, 1938. “Crowd, listening to the Cajun band at National Rice Festival, Crowley, Louisiana.”
NOTE: This feature was originally published in March 26, 2013…. As you may have heard, SCOTUS is hearing oral, and possibly anal, arguments about gay marriage today. In a stroke of irony, this is day after March 25, nine months before Christmas. In other words, a crucial day, in the most famous unconsummated marriage in history.
PG began to ponder the traditional marriage of Joseph and Mary. Apparently, Joseph’s last name is lost to history. The question of the day is “when did Joseph and Mary get married?” Facilities such as Liberty Gospel Tracts and Fish Eaters Traditional Catholic Forum have answers.
LGT (the B got kicked out for some reason) contributes a bible passage, Matthew 1:18-19. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
Put her away in the privy? That is some kinky business there. Maybe the Christians and Jews have it all wrong. The thirds Abrahamic religion, Islam, might have the answer. A site, TurnToIslam, has another point of view about the traditional definition of marriage.
What about Mary, Jesus’ Mother peace be upon both of them? How old was she when she got pregnant? Not only was it a custom in the Arab society to Engage/Marry a young girl it was also common in the Jewish society. The case of Mary the mother of Jesus comes to mind, in non biblical sources she was between 11-14 years old when she conceived Jesus. Mary had already been “BETROTHED” to Joseph before conceiving Jesus. Joseph was a much older man. therefore Mary was younger than 11-14 years of age when she was “BETHROED” to Joseph. We Muslims would never call Joseph a Child Molester, nor would we refer to the “Holy Ghost” of the Bible, that “Impregnated” Mary as a “Rapist” or “Adulterer”.
“….it is possible that Mary gave birth to her Son when she was about thirteen or fourteen years of age….”Mary was approximately 14 years old when she got pregnant with Jesus. Joseph, Mary’s Husband is believed to be around 36. Mary was only 13 when she married Joseph. When she first was arranged with Joseph she was between 7 to 9 years old.”
According to the “Oxford Dictionary Bible” commentary, Mary (peace be upon her) was was 12 years old when she became impregnated. So if I want to be as silly and ridiculous as many of the Christians, I would respond to them by saying that Mary was psychologically and emotionally devastated for getting pregnant at a very young age. And speaking of “child molesting”, since most Christians believe that Jesus is the Creator of this universe, then why did G-D allow himself to enter life through a 12-year old young girl’s vagina? Please note that we Muslims love and respect Allah Almighty, Mary, Jesus and Allah’s Message to the People of the Book (The Jews and Christians). In other words, we Muslims would never make fun of Christianity through such childish topic like this one as many ridiculous Christians do make fun of Islam through our Prophet’s (peace be upon him) marriage.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
In 1980, I was staying at a place called the Sea Haven Hostel, affectionately known as Sleaze Haven. This was in Seattle WA, which is about as far as you can get from Atlanta, and still be in the lower 48. I was working through Manpower, and staying in a semi private room for $68 a month.
There was a Christian group that met in the basement on Sunday Night. Now, as some of you may know, I am a recovering baptist. However, the lure of a free meal was hard to resist, so I went to a few meetings. One night, after doing quality control work on the local beer supply, I joined the after dinner discussion. This was the night when I realized that the Bible is not the Word of G-d. This concept that has been very handy in dealing with efforts at conversion.
They seemed to like me, though, and welcomed me back. Maybe it was the southern accent. One Sunday, it was time to have a prayer to begin the meeting. I raised my hand.
Jesus Worshipers enjoy prayer as entertainment . When they bow their heads, you see them stretching and deep breathing, in anticipation of a lengthy message to G-d. My message was a bit of a disappointment. Instead of a long winded lecture about Jesus and the magic book, I said what was on my mind. ” Lord, thank you for letting us be here today.”What else do you need to say?
This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.
There is a discussion brewing in the Jesus Worship blogosphere on the question of “Is Christianity really monotheistic ”. This is in response to a post, on the subject of the unquestioning Christian .
There is a “motivational” poster, with the headline “Ten signs you are an unquestioning Christian”. One of these (either number one or ten) deals with monotheism. To wit: “You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of G-ds claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your G-d.” Some writers are promising/threatening to write about all ten of these arguments, and the feature on monotheism is the first.
PG is a recovering Baptist, who is severely alienated from Jesus. He does suspect that there is a G-d, and is in no way an “atheist”. The tracts linked to above tend to break down the discussion to atheists vs. christians, which is highly misleading.
PG has been knocking around for some time the idea of a post about the six G-ds of Jesus Worshipers. The appearance of this series…at blogs that ban PG from commenting…has spurred him into action. Whether or not there will be more comments (from PG) remains to be seen.
Christianity claims to be a monotheistic religion. This means, there is only one G-d. In contrast, the Romans and Greeks had G-ds and G-ddesses galore, and the Hindus have literally millions of deities. In what was claimed by some as an advancement, the Jews worshiped one G-d. (Zoraroastrians are said to be monotheistic, and did it before the Jews. There may be others.)
One of the sacred tracts of Judaism and Christianity is the ten commandments . The first three relate to the concept of monotheism, and the proper way to talk about G-d.
1-Thou shalt have no other G-ds before me.
2-Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy G-d am a jealous G-d, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
3-Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy G-d in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
As a side note, PG has heard something about the use of Lord as a name for G-d. The riff is that “Lord” was an expression for an English nobleman. When the Bible was translated by James I, his workers used the L word as a synonym for G-d. The words for G-d in the Greek and Hebrew texts that comprised the Bible do not translate as Lord…that word was inserted by the anglocentric workers of James I. This is something that PG read in a book by Tom Robbins, and has no other source for. It may, or may not be true. If it is, then it just might be a violation of the third commandment.
Getting back to monotheism, does Christianity live up to the first commandment? This may seem to be a silly question when you consider the concept of the trinity. At some point in the early days of Jesus Worship, a decision was made to split G-d into three parts. We now had the father, the son, and the holy ghost. (Which makes for a neat blessing…the father the son the holy ghost, whoever eats fastest gets the most) The first commandment is still in effect, but, well, you just have to understand. The Jews continued to worship one G-d, and when Mohammed started his franchise, he changed the name to Allah. In that version, there is no G-d but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger.
Meanwhile, the Jesus Worshipers were good at converting and reproducing, and soon had a very popular religion. But was it one G-d only? The faith had a book of ancient texts that they call “the word of G-d”. The fact that it was written, copied, edited and translated by man did not stop folks. The first commandment would seem to prohibit this custom, but, you just have to believe.
PG is willing to concede the point that he doesn’t understand the concept of the Trinity. He thinks it is a concoction of the Council of Nicea, and a violation of the first commandment. This is something that seems to happen a lot with Christianity…to proclaim one thing as a rule, to apparently violate that rule, but have a clever explanation that few seem to understand.
This does not explain the other G-ds of Christianity. For this discussion, we will focus on three…the Bible, Satan, and Salvation.
The Catholic Church had a conference to establish a consistent canon for their church. This conference became known as the Council of Nicea. (This conference is where the concept of the Triune G-d was formulated.) The texts in use by the church at the time were collected in one book. Some texts were not used, and there is a good possibility that the texts that were used were edited. This committee effort became known as the Bible.
During the protestant reformation, the new churches needed a source for their authority over the people. It was during this time that the concept of the Bible as the “Word of G-d” became known. This in effect made a G-d out of a book. This is in direct defiance of the First Commandment, which teaches to have no other G-d before you.
The book has been interpreted into many languages, and the interpretations have been interpreted. The star of the New Testament, Jesus, spoke Aramaic. His words were recorded, in Greek, many years after he *died*. Any quote from Jesus has been translated at least twice. This is from texts that were written many years after he lived. And yet, people talk about what Jesus taught, and have confidence, that they know what they are talking about. (The only things we know about Jesus is what the Council of Nicea chose to tell us.)
At some point, the idea began to float around that the Bible was not only the word of G-d, but that it was inerrant…that is, without errors. This would presume that no body in the chain of production made a mistake. This includes a scribe copying a text, and a Catholic editor assembling a canon. Nobody translating ancient languages, from ragged source materials, made a mistake. The people who make this claim seem to assume that they have a perfect understanding of this text. Is it a coincidence that the spell check suggestion for inerrant is ignorant?
This one is too blatant to let slide. When you declare a text to be the “word of G-d”, you are making a G-d out of a book. There is a semantic argument to be made… you can say that this isn’t worship. Lets say it out loud… calling the Bible the “word of G-d” makes a G-d out of a book, in violation of the First Commandment. This is not monotheism.
A quick look at the way Satan is treated by the church shows a curious similarity to worship. Yes, it is backhanded worship, and lots of negative things are said about Beelzebub. He with the horns and tail is given credit for all kinds of powers, and needs to be fought (with human collateral damage). Yes, Jesus Worshipers give the Devil his due, and then some.
The last “G-d” that we will look at today is Salvation, or the Christian scheme for life after death. Anyone living in the USA has heard this plan a thousand times, and many agree with it. Some do not agree with it. It is none of your business how PG feels. (Your guess is probably correct.)
What is undeniable is the importance placed on salvation in Christianity. It is discussed in every church meeting, often at top volume, and with dramatics that would shame a ham actor. Salvation is said to justify all the rudeness and verbal abuse that Jesus Worshiper inflict on their neighbors. If you do not agree with the concept of Salvation, you have no business belonging to a Christian Church.
Does this hysterical emphasis on Salvation make a G-d out of the concept? As with the Bible and Satan, it is a matter of perspective. A good argument could be made that Jesus Worshipers treat these three items with G-d like devotion, and make G-ds out of them.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.
There is a video making the rounds now. The title involves Jesus, and a certain racial slur, delicately known as the N word. The video is embedded above. You can feel the magic for yourself.
Here is a story about the song, with the edgy language bleeped. “One pastor is trying to spread the word of God with an edgy rap song. The rapping pastor and his wife claim they have “Christian swag” while tossing around the n-word. … The video of the rapping pastor was recently uploaded to YouTube but it’s not clear when it was filmed. It was taken at a church in Iowa which closed in 2004.” Another helpful interneter has the lyrics.
In case you didn’t know, Pastor Jim Colerick, and Mrs Mary-Sue Colerick, are melanin deficient. They are, as Bette Midler once said about Karen Carpenter, so white they are invisible. It is not considered good manners for Caucasians to use this word, with or without salvation.
There is another angle to this equation. Many Jesus worshipers see not using cusswords as a sign of righteousness. As a result, many Jesus worshipers use the words G-d, and Jesus Christ, as tools of their anger. This violates the third commandment. Now, this use of a sacred name, as profanity, is being extended to using a sacred name as a racial slur. Someone is always ready to manipulate language to serve an agenda.
When you call a book “the word of G-d”, you give certain words too much power. When you designate the lazy way of saying black as a super duper naughty word, you give those six letters way too much power. Now, we see the convergence of these two taboos. Let the party begin.
This is a repost. Pictures of Pastor and Mrs. Colerick are taken from the video. The other images are from The Library of Congress.
The body of kkk big dog Frank Ancona was found in a Missouri river the other day. People who like to say rude things about the klan celebrated the news. It is safe to say that few of these people had heard of Mr. Ancona before his demise.
PG saw the headline, and remembered a story from last year. Mr. Ancona was quoted in that story. He was trash talking another klan organization. He said the klan is a secret society that shuns publicity. Mr. Ancona has a knack for getting attention, which may be a reason he was killed.
The murder might be the result of a marital dispute. Mr. Ancona’s wife, and step son, are in trouble. Malissa Ancona had a legally unwise chat with a tv reporter, Exclusive: Malissa Ancona, Wife of murdered KKK leader, speaks only to News 4. A twitter account, @malissa72, is still up. The picture shows Mrs. Ancona kissing Mr. Ancona.
Prosecutor: KKK leader may have been killed because he wanted divorce. The St. Lous Post-Dispatch has been on top of the story. This report has an interesting passage: “Mark Potok, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate organizations, said that Ancona’s group was “not very significant at all. This was one of the smallest groups out there.” Potok said the members received a lot of attention because they frequently handed out leaflets. He said he would be surprised if there were 40 members spread out among chapters in Potosi, Hayden, Idaho and Pennsylvania.
Ancona had been in a dispute with other Klan leaders, Potok said, who accused Ancona of being secretly Jewish and Malissa Ancona of being a Wiccan. Both were untrue, Potok believes, but the accusations are typical of the Klan world today, which consists of 29 different named organizations, “each one claiming to be the one true Klan and denigrating the others.”
People who like to be seen denouncing racism love to hate the kkk. Nothing you say about the bedsheet boys is out of bounds. The truth is that the kkk has as much influence, and respect, as the bad guys in professional wrestling. The kkk is a fashion challenged version of the westboro baptist church. You have to wonder why people get so much enjoyment from trash talking the klan. Maybe this is a distraction for their own unresolved racial conflicts.
“…the Klan world today, which consists of 29 different named organizations, “each one claiming to be the one true Klan and denigrating the others.”” How did all these groups, that hate each other, get together for a national meeting? Do they call it the grand dragon con? Was this the meeting where they endorsed Donald Trump? That endorsement was reported by the Washington Post, and Rachel Maddow. Millions of Trump hating patriots accepted this news without a moment’s hesitation. The spell check suggestion for Maddow is Maddox.
If P.T. Barnum had ever said “There’s a sucker born every minute,” he would have been correct. The truth is, there is little evidence that he did. Here is a phony quote, about suckers, that is widely accepted as truth. There is a bit of synchronicity there. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
The word Ecclesiastes has a poetic tingle. It’s place in the Old Testament is between the poetry of Proverbs, and the enticements of the Song of Soloman. Richard Brautigan counted the punctuation marks in Ecclesiastes, and found no errors. Ecclesiastes 3 was even the lyrics for a top forty song.
Turn Turn Turn is taken almost verbatim from the book of Ecclesiastes. Pete Seeger wrote a melody, and added a line. “There is a time for peace, I swear its not too late”. TTT became a hit for the Byrds in 1965, as the escalation of the Vietnam war was in full bloom.
TTT is about the dualities of life, and how there is a place for all these things. When PG was collecting rocks from destroyed houses, it was a time to gather stones together. TTT can serve as a companion to the vibrations of day to day living.
Pete Seeger died January 27, 2014. PG first heard of him when he was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was during Vietnam, and Mr. Seeger did a song…”Waist deep in the big muddy”… about how “The big fool said to push on, push on”. The CBS censors did not allow this the first time he appeared. Many thought he was talking about Lyndon Johnson.
“Pete Bowers” was a stage name for a young Pete Seeger. This was to avoid making trouble for his father. The band he played in, the Weavers, popularized a gullah spiritual, “Kumbaya”. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
PG had heard the phrase “white privilege” a few times, and decided to ask Mr.Google about it. The top choice was White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack “This article is now considered a ‘classic’ by anti-racist educators.” It is four pages long, which might not break the attention span.
A document like this is almost impossible to read with an open mind. You are a member of a group, such as a white male like PG. There are a lot of things here which PG agrees with, a few his disagrees with, and a few that are dependent on the reader’s point of view. The sentence that PG felt obliged to copy was ” I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitudes”. It is as if the attitudes of black people did not matter.
There are more headshakers in this article. In a list of privileges white folks take for granted, number 18 was ” I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.”. That might have true once, but is not today.
Getting back to White Privilege (and ignoring the White Privilege Conference results), there are lots of people thinking about this subject. The University of Dayton contributes Defining “White Privilege”. In the text, the author mentions starting a site, Whiteprivilege.com. This site is currently under construction. It does give you the opportunity to buy “Privilege Car Insurance”.
A feature, What is white privilege?, compares every person with pale skin to the Palin family. “White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.” This runs counter to line 21 of the Invisible Knapsack list, ” I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group. “
PG went looking for answers, and got more questions. He does not deny that being caucasian has advantages in our society. These advantages do not mean that one should lay down quietly and let black people get their revenge. We are all G-d’s children. You should be proud of who you are, without taking advantage of your neighbor.
After publishing a feature about white privilege , PG thought it would be fair to look into black privilege. When you visit Mr. Google, some of his suggestions are black privilege checklist, black privilege furniture, and black privilege fact or fiction. The top result is a feature in American Thinker. “Personally, I have never had a moment of white guilt in my life. Now this is a significant statement given that I am Jewish and from New York. I feel guilty about pretty much everything!”.
NPR has an audio file called Black Male Privilege? . It is downright fascinating.
Prof. LEWIS: I think youve unfortunately identified one of the central issues of black male privilege. So often, black men are used to being under attacked that when it comes to being accountable for the actions we may have, we quickly say, well, I couldnt possibly be doing anything wrong. Look at all the ways in which Im oppressed. Look at all the ways in which Im at the bottom of the barrel. What that does is rob us of an opportunity to actually build stronger community and it robs black men of a chance to actually take hold of the actions that they have so that we can empower the community.
MARTIN: What reaction do you get when you talk to people about this?
Prof. LEWIS: Among black women, in particular, I get a lot of amens and saying, thank for actually exposing this. Among black men, one of the most common ones I get is, well, this seems ridiculous. Its an oxymoron. How could black men be privileged? Its like jumbo shrimp. It doesnt add up. … And they say, you know, what did my black male privilege get me? Im unemployed. … : Initially, my first exposure was actually around the Million Man March. I felt that I was transformed by the Million Man March, and I thought it was one of the most powerful events ever. And I was having a conversation in class with a professor, Dr. Beverly Guy Sheftall, and she said that she couldnt support the Million Man March because it was very patriarchal and it put black men at the center. And I said, well, it doesnt always have to patriarchal. You dont always have to put black men at the center. And if she said, isnt it an amazing privilege to tell someone else what they dont have to take seriously? And that paused me for a moment. And I said, wow. What is it in my past that makes me say I can define what someone else would think of as important? (Here are more thoughts on this subject by Dr. L’Heureux Dumi Lewis )
Times are tough in the US of A. To an unemployed white person it is easy to say, what good has this privilege done me? And isn’t it a form of privilege to label anything you don’t like about someone as being due to privilege? Has privilege become a catch22 for anything you don’t like about a person?
This feature is not a complete recap of the google results for black privilege. There were a couple of white racist sites that are best ignored. Two wrongs do not make a right. This is a double repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is written like H. P. Lovecraft.
Jack Thomas Chick is someone you know, but have never heard of. He created the gospel tract. Go to his site, and you can read his story. Born in California in 1924, he seemed an unlikely candidate for religious superstardom. After a turn in the Army, he became a Jesus Worshiper. In 1948 he married Lola Lynn Riddle, who he describes as being ” instrumental in his salvation”. He hit on the idea for the palm sized comic book for Jesus, and an artform was formed.
The tracts are the result of a rather narrow view of Jesus. The King James Bible is the perfect word of G-d. The tracts have a last page, with instructions on how to be “saved”. Anyone who disagrees is going to go to hell. Many of the tracts tell a story. A kid trusts a drug dealer, only to be disappointed. The Titanic is going to the bottom of the sea, and what will happen to the passengers. A man is about to commit suicide, and Jesus comes to the rescue.
Mr. Chick has a special distaste for the Catholic Church. He had an associate named Alberto Rivera. Mr. Rivera claimed to be an ex bishop of the church, who had been privy to some unsavory secrets. Many of his tracts proclaim conspiracy theories about the Church. Other targets of his scorn include Mormons, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and anyone @ChickPub does not consider “saved.”
Jack Chick is his real name. Any drag queen using that name is probably not the same person. He is reclusive, is rarely photographed and does not give interviews. He drew his early tracts, until he hired a man named Fred Carter in 1972. Mr. Carter is a much, much better artist than Mr. Chick. An advanced search of the Chick website does not show a mention of Mr. Carter.
Mr. Chick has sold hundreds of millions of his tracts, translated into over 100 languages. The tracts sell for sixteen cents each, or a 25 pack for $4.00. This is one cent a tract more than in 2008. Arguably he has sold more copies than any author working today.
This feature was originally posted in 2008. Through the miracle of spare time, aka the devil’s workshop, more information will be added today. A photograph has emerged, that reportedly is the image of Mr. Chick. HT to Dangerous Minds.
Jack Chick is still alive. This obituary is a hoax. movie about him has been released, God’s Cartoonist:The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick. (Here is the trailer.) His website has been updated, with a trendy emphasis on Islam.
Bible tracks have kept up with the times. You can buy an android application with ten popular titles. “Here are 10 more tracts to take with you to view on your phone! … Everyone is talking about Global Warming. Show them this popular title and get a REAL discussion going! With over 800 million Chick tracts in print, they are used by Christians all over the world to fulfill the Great Commission (Mark 16:15-16). Make sure your friends don’t miss out on eternity!”
The internet has had mischief makers poking fun at Mr. Chick. Someone named Psycho Dave put up the Jack T. Chck parody archive in 2000. It inspired an exchange of lawyer letters. More recently, Topless Robot supplied us with The 10 Most Awesomely Insane Jack Chick Mini-Comics.
Not everyone is impressed. Many people who consider themselves Christian disagree with the POV presented in the Chick Tracts. Here are a few Amazon reviews of Chick Tract Assortment.
RACIST, CULTURALLY INSENSITIVE, EXTREME November 3, 2011 “virtuous10” (somerset, NJ) There may be around 10 out of the 100 that were acceptable, but the vast majority of the others were so off the wall it was crazy. If they weren’t weird they were racist and culturally insensitive. To name a few, theres a black man in jail named Leroy who is super sexual and angry, you have Native Americsns drunk, white missionaries who came back from Africa pale faced after there were attacked so often by “those poeple”, you have the catholic church being called evil and the vatican trying to control the world, you have an angry Arab muslim man saying we’re taking over America like we did England, a tract which consisted of scene after scene of a little girl being brutally beaten by a man then left to live on the street….I mean on and on.
Maybe these are popular because you still have pockets of the country that are not diverse, and where churches that don’t believe in interracial marriage abound. Maybe these awful stereotypes or extreme messages are not a big deal there. However I live in the Northeast (and the 21st century) and I dont find this acceptable. I don’t understand how this organization can believe offended people will be open to the gospel. The pure gospel message is unicversal and powerful enough and filled with love to change the heart of any person from any culture. Why add all of this mess? Do a search for “chick tracts offensive”. So many non believers are using this to show Christians are crazy. Thank God I spent only 30 dollars. They will not receive another red cent from me. And AMAZON NEEDS 0 STARS!!! This would be the perfect candidate.
Hate for the Lord August 4, 2011 Matthew Sanborn “Monsterfashion” (Arkham, MA)
Nothing really says religious intolerance like a good Jack T. Chick tract. Molesting your daughter, killing for money, robbing, rape and torture can all be forgiven by God if you simply check “yes” you belive in Jesus at the end of one of these amazing comics. But be warned, if you are Catholic, Musilum, Jewish, gay, play role playing games, have relgious tolerance, read Harry Potter, have any money, or are a Protestant who reads anything but the King James Bible, then there’s a myriad of demons just waiting to throw you in the pit. Well worth the money for the sheer hilarity as you won’t belive anyone, even the insane, could possibly take this stuff seriously. The only problem is that Chick will get some cash from you. But if you want to see religious bigotry and misguided hatered at its best, look no further than here.
spread the good news! July 5, 2011 Provident Savings “bible man” (spring valley,ny usa)
I personally would like to thank Jack Chick for his wonderful work in ministry,by providing the resource the christians to help spread the good news to the lost.The package arrived on time.I highly recommend this seller!
This repost was written like Raymond Chandler. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. Jack T. Chick ” died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday evening, according to a Facebook posting Monday by Chick Publications, based in Rancho Cucamonga, California.” The facebook posting is no longer available. The penultimate tweet from @ChickPub reads “@ChickPub Dear ones in Christ, Is your tummy upset over our political circus? Are you fearful about the way everything is…”
When PG was a kid in sunday school, he heard about the the golden calf. It turns out that, splendid allegory aside, he didn’t really know much about the story. With the help of google and Bible Gateway, the text of Exodus 32 showed up. G-d bless public domain, and copy paste. The Bible is the main source for this tale. It doesn’t really matter if it is the inerrant word of G-d, it is a pretty good story. And much of the message rings true today.
1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
This is a modern story. The church is begging the people for gold. The sons are wearing golden earrings. The church takes these ill gotten gains, and forge a make believe G-d. This time, it looks like a cow. Billy Graham will come much later.
7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 9 And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
Moving down a few verses, the story gets good. 19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. 20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. 21 And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? 22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. 23 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 24 And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. 25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies) 26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord G-d of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. 28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: there fell that day about three thousand men.
Lets get this story right. Moses comes back from somewhere, and sees a naked party by the golden calf. He has a hissy fit, threw the golden calf into the fire, and tells people to start killing each other. Over three thousand men are killed. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
PG has reread How to choose a guru, by Rick Chapman. The book is a look at spirituality of all sorts, with a special emphasis on Meher Baba.
HTCAG can be a frustrating book. The main focus is on finding a “perfect master”, and the path to enlightenment under his guidance. If one is not inclined to this level of dedication, you can be left feeling inferior. This is similar to the despair people feel when they think they are going to go to hell, because they don’t have the correct ideas about Jesus.
Thie book takes a look at spirit from the perspective of all religions. A central concept is the avatar, the idea of G-d become man. (This was long before the movie with a similar title.) The avatars of recorded history include Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed. Some say that Meher Baba is the modern avatar.
Mr. Chapman has a knack for phrasing. There are expressions that PG remembers from reading HTCAG in 1978. They are still there 34 years later.
Creation First, there was G-d. Then, there’s you. Then, there is G-d.
Speculation The average persons speculation about consciousness…has “the stink but not the weight of his turd”
Evangelism An authentic Master will encourage you to let your life itself be his message.
Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds Don’t be sidetracked by elaborate creeds and doctrines- the truth is as simple as it is profound. From the ancient teachings of Zoraster to today, these three principles have been the heart of the message of every G-d realized Master.
Books “Excellent guides until you find the Way.”–Abu Sa’id
Books Part Two …the scriptures of the past compare to the writings of a present-day Perfect Master just about the way that dust compares to honey.
Satan Worship If you have been toying with the thought that any form of Satan worship can lead you to higher consciousness, sober up by reading the story of Dr. Faustus. There are many paths to enlightenment, but this back alley isn’t one of them.
Sex A real guru never has any form of sexual relations with his followers. If a person posing as a guru tries to seduce you in the physical sense, then you can have no clearer indication that he is a phony, a pathetic and hypocritical collection of unresolved desires.
Truth, Old and New One time the Buddha was approached by a young man who was skeptical about Gautama’s renowned divine status. “Does the Blessed One teach a path that is new and original?” he asked. One of the Buddha’s close disciples, Sariputta, turned his gaze from the Master to the skeptic and replied, “If the Blessed One taught a path that was new and original, He would not be the Blessed One!” “Well said, Sariputta,” smiled the Buddha, “well said.”
Several of these quotes are available in copy/paste form at Meher Baba Information, for which this reporter says thank you. This site says that Rick Chapman is a follower of Meher Baba, and met him in 1966. This relationship is never made explicit in HTCAG. A glowing chapter is devoted to Meher Baba, and this relationship is not surprising. Still, HTCAG might be a bit more upfront if this relationship was clearly spelled out.
Meher Baba was born February 25, 1894 with the name Merwan Sheriar Irani. The name Meher Baba means “compassionate father”. From July 10, 1925 until his death January 31, 1969, he maintained silence, and communicated by gestures that were interpreted by his followers. Meher Baba believed that he was the avatar of our age.
With all of it’s human imperfections, HTCAG is a valuable book. It is easy to read, will expose you to ideas about spirit, and get you to think. When you grow up in a Jesus Worship tradition, one can be aware of a spirit within. At the same time, you get tired of the obsession with life after death. You sense that there is more to G-d than scheming to live after you die. HTCAG shows one path.
This is a repost. It was written like Vladimir Nabokov. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.