There is a spanking new book out called 5o Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists. If ever you found yourself straddling the fence, wondering on which side to jump off, this book is for you. I don’t have a copy yet, but so far it looks promising, and definitely better than whatever the latest fatheist scribbler has to say about the moral necessity of faith. It feels like we’re at a watershed. Homosexuals came out in the ’70s, after the taboos had been destroyed. The last six years have seen a great destruction of the taboos against being openly atheist. Perhaps the ’10s will see an even bolder stance (oh, please stop using the word militant to describe those of us who simply voice opinions about faith) than that of the New Atheists, or an integration of this stance into public life and political activity. Wouldn’t that be a nice goal for the next decade: to create a climate in which most Americans would potentially vote for a nonbeliever (alias atheist) for president? Perhaps a black Jewish lesbian atheist or something will pop up out of nowhere in time for the 2016 elections, and people will be cured enough of all their phobias to vote for her (provided she is qualified, naturally). But now I’m fabricating reality. I know this will never happen – not in America.
It doesn’t really matter if you understand Italian or not. For the record, these people are discussing Islam and whether or not it poses a threat to Italy. Just watch the devolution of discourse. Nobody gives anyone else the chance to speak a full sentence before jumping in with “Fascist!” or “Islamist!” Adele Orioli, representing the non-affiliated, can’t even make her point that a truly secular society wouldn’t have to face such problems because no religion would have preferential treatment. She just gets drowned out by the blathering heads on either side.
We were in Assisi for a few days and we went to the living manger scene (I’m writing a poem about this, so stay tuned), which is a kind of reenactment of the night Jesus was (supposedly) born in a stall near Bethlehem. At least that’s what happened in the play. I’d have to go and check my NT for the details, assuming they are the same in all four gospels. At the end of the imaginative scenery – complete with faux-synagoge and dress-up rabbi, a rare sight in Umbria – there is the family portrait, sitting patiently bathed in firelight from the burning oildrums (all of this took place out in the cold, a realistic touch). Yosef, Miriam, and little plastic baby Jesus. In this manger scene, most curiously, Jesus had a sister. She looked to be about six or seven, and she was real flesh and blood and DNA. And a hell of a lot more convincing than baby Yehoshua! What she was doing there, assuming the (dubious) virginity of Miriam, is anyone’s guess. But it occurred to me that this is the reason they sell those little baby dolls in religious shops, along with shepherd’s gear and staffs aplenty. It’s a costume party every Christmas.
Afterthought: it occurs to me that perhaps they use a plastic doll for Jesus to accentuate that he was not born of dirty sexual intercourse between two humans. Apparently they prefer a supernatural kind of rape, which is considered holy. But still, plastic is so cheesy don’t you think?
Santa stopped visiting my house the minute I confronted him, demanding he reveal himself to me. It turned out he was a middle aged Jewish woman with a florid imagination.
Mexico City has (very) recently legalized gay marriage. Some Mexicans are (not quite understandably) pissed off about this, and feel their Christmas will be ruined by the equal rights of others. Mighty Christian of them. Long live “family values.”
If this is what the “great religions” teach – and it most definitely is an integral part of any othodox instruction – should we be so willing to let it slide? Are great religions so great if they continue to uphold bigoted positions modern civil society has begun to reject?
Many people in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America remain opposed to gay marriage, and the dominant Roman Catholic Church has announced its opposition.
“They have given Mexicans the most bitter Christmas,” said Armando Martinez, the president of the College of Catholic Attorneys. “They are permitting adoption (by gay couples) and in one stroke of the pen have erased the term ‘mother’ and ‘father.'”
I’m surprised this isn’t one of the most watched videos on YouTube. There really is no explanation other than the fact that there is no toilet humor. There is some blood, but only on the operating table. There are no wild animals battling it out on the savannah. It’s just a succession of edited “moments”: licking an ice cream cone, kicking a soccer ball, waking up, batting an eyelash. There is a little music. The whole thing is very tastfully done. Try not to be moved watching it. It’s utterly amazing.
Via The Frontal Cortex.
I have precious little time to do any writing these days, much less blogging. Anyway, you should read the Restored New Testament because you probably haven’t even read the unrestored one, and because (yes) it’s a major work of literature. Should you think the NT stale and boring, this is a new version just for you.
From Buffalo News:
Here, from the same publisher and officially published a week apart [The Book of Genesis Illustrated By R. Crumb Norton], are two of the most important books of 2009. Willis Barnstone’s “Restored New Testament” is the Samson attempt of one great scholar and translator to knock down ancient pillars of error, injustice and persecution. In that endeavor alone, it may be the most important book of the year.
If you’re against gay marriage becoming legal, perhaps you’d better take a deep breath before watching the following speech before the New York Senate.