Thursday, October 30, 2014

God's QC Special: Wild Billshit For America

A poem for YouTuber WildBillForAmerica

Truth
jesus christ
Truth
Wrong

jesus christ
Should never be permitted
jesus christ
Should not hold public office
jesus christ
Should not be around Children
jesus christ
Bullshit

Truth
Wrong
Thinking people
Wrong
The right path
Wrong
Smart people
Wrong

Faith
You'll fall for anything
Religion
You'll fall for anything
jesus christ
You'll fall for anything
Horrible fate
You'll fall for anything

Men and women of faith
Dismember Truth
Manipulate Children's beliefs
You'll fall for anything

jesus christ
Truth
Bullshit

Faith is a bad thing

Religion
Immoral
Perversion
Immoral
Beliefs
jesus christ
Immoral
Perversion

Anyone who is not willing to

Protect
Children

From such things
Should not be around Children

If you don't stand for what is Right
You'll fall for any immoral perversion

Monday, October 27, 2014

God's QC 10.8: Jesus And The 99%

Here I continue my thoughts on the question whether Jesus can be regarded as a compassionate figure, moving now to his attitude toward the needy. Naturally, most of what we can learn on this topic will be found in his teachings. But in this video, I'll take a few moments to consider the backdrop for those teachings. Specifically, the circumstances into which he is born, and the lifestyle he chooses as an adult. Let's have a look:

The bible tells us that the infant Jesus has to sleep in a barnyard feeding trough. This is frequently taken as a sign that he is born into poverty, but that is to ignore some important details of the story. For example, it isn't because they are poor that Jesus sleeps in a manger. It is because there are no available guest rooms. Even if this were to suggest that they couldn't afford a room, soon after the child is born, Magi from Herod arrive with expensive gifts, including gold.

But there is a good reason that the biblical nativity stories don't say that Joseph and Mary are poor: they're not. Consider how much traveling they do. Before Mary leaves her father's house to live with Joseph, she visits her cousin Elizabeth in Judea, to celebrate the news that Mary will give birth to the Messiah. Although Christian tradition makes this an eight-day round trip, the bible isn't specific. But it does seem that the journey can't be fewer than four days. It's unsafe to go alone, so she must join other travelers, or bring her own companions. Food and other supplies must be drawn from a household surplus, or they must be purchased along the way.

These same conditions apply later, when Joseph and the heavily pregnant Mary travel four days from Nazareth to Bethlehem. With their new child, they head back to Nazareth via an indefinite stopover in Egypt. Given that Egypt is a good 200 miles in the wrong direction, that's a full month away from home, even if they were to stay for only one night. But apparently they spend some time there, awaiting the death of Herod. It seems unlikely for the average Joseph to walk into a foreign town and immediately find work. Either manna falls to them from heaven, or the family has respectable material reserves available. We also find that they make the customary pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year--a round trip of eight days.

It must seem to Mary that every time they make the trip, it is with one more child than the time before, as she bears at least six more after Jesus. But having so many mouths to feed does not seem to drive the family into poverty. Consider: it is in Capernaum that Mary and her other sons attempt to take Jesus home for fear that he has lost his mind. This is the second time we find his family making the three-day trip from Nazareth to Capernaum and back. Or perhaps the first time was just a reconnaissance mission in preparation for completely uprooting their lives to move to Capernaum. Also note that Jesus begins his ministry with a fast lasting 40 days. Voluntary fasting is a luxury; 40 days of it extremely so, enough to suggest that he is reasonably well fed in general.

Jesus and his pals are shown quite a bit of hospitality over the course of their ministry. To keep up their strength between extravagant feasts, the well-to-do Mary of Bethany and "many other" women provide material support for his entire horde. And Jesus had the extravagance part worked out in advance: a "great banquet" for him and a large crowd of tax collectors is hosted by none other than homeboy Matthew. Maybe Jesus doesn't suck at choosing disciples after all. The wedding reception at which he converts water to wine is a gala affair attended by servants. Soirees are held at the homes of a couple of different Pharisees, but these are humbler affairs, servants not included. Passing through Jericho, Jesus invites himself to stay at the house of Zacchaeus, a very wealthy chief tax collector. The Last Supper, secretly prearranged by Jesus, takes place in a home with a furnished upstairs guest room large enough to accommodate 13 men.

Jesus is born into comfortable circumstances. He chooses friends from comfortable circumstances, some lavishly so. He loves being wined, dined, and put up in cozy accommodations, and he's not shy about demanding it. This is the backdrop. The stage is set for Jesus to demonstrate his attitude toward the needy.

That's 10.8. Thanks for watching.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

God's QC 10.7: Jesus: Meanie Or Dimwit?

Here I continue my thoughts on the disconnect between what the bible says about Jesus and what most people, superstitious or otherwise, tend to believe about him. In this video, I'll continue to explore the question whether Jesus can be considered a compassionate figure.

Now that we've spent a solid 20 minutes draining a sea of caustic sludge away from the Jesus character, have we finally found signs of compassion? No, but we have finally begun moving in the right direction. Now, rather than a bewildering nightmare, we just have a meanie.

Many of you have heard of the concept known widely as Hanlon's Razor. The idea is that that one should not attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. So maybe, rather than a meanie, just a clueless dimwit. Or maybe both. To answer the question, let's look at Jesus through the eyes of his victims.

Of all the cruelty Jesus dishes out, he saves some of his best for his own disciples, Peter in particular. In Matthew Chapter 14, when Peter makes a gigantic leap of faith and then wavers slightly, Jesus fails even to notice the leap, but instead scolds Peter for doubting. In Chapter 16, Jesus announces to his disciples that he will soon be tortured to death. When Peter expresses perfectly sane and normal outrage, Jesus severely chastises him, calling him a stumbling block, even calling him Satan. In Chapter 26, Peter affirms his steadfast loyalty to Jesus. Rather than expressing the slightest warm sentiment in return, Jesus smacks him down with a good shaming, sniping that several times in the near future, Peter will deny that he even knows Jesus. A surprise in Chapter 17: Jesus pays Peter's taxes. It seems rather unfair that he doesn't pay taxes for anyone else, but perhaps some karmic force is at work here, providing a small consolation to Peter for the excess of bad treatment he receives from Jesus.

In Chapter 8, we see Jesus contemptuously dismissing the grief of a man who has just lost his father. Also in Chapter 8, he deliberately causes significant losses to innocent pig farmers. In Chapter 19, he verbally bitch-slaps a man for asking how to avoid hell. In Chapter 22, he announces that there is no sex in heaven. This, he could have kept to himself.

Jesus is clearly a racist, as he demonsrates in Chapter 10, when he expressly denies to the Gentiles and Samaritans the privilege of hearing the Gospel. There's more in Chapter 15, but now accompanied by worse than racism, at every possible level. A woman follows him and his disciples, begging them to heal her daughter, who is demon-possessed and suffering terribly. Jesus ignores her. The disciples, by now fully initiated to his hateful philosophy, fail to ask Jesus to help her, but instead urge him to send her away. Having no regard for real suffering, but not wanting his buddies to be inconvenienced, he obliges them, explaining to her that her terribly suffering daughter, having been born to the wrong parents, is ineligible for mercy. The woman falls to her knees and begs him again, and he rebuffs her again, calling her a dog. But when she pumps his ego by abjectly endorsing his slur, he is so flattered that he abandons all his principles. Having heaped breathtaking abuse on her for annoying him and his pals, he turns effusively generous when she engages his metaphor, rolling like a dog onto her back in wretched submission.

In Chapters 8, 9, and 15, we find Jesus commending and rewarding six different people for their exemplary faith. Strangely, he doesn't invite any of them to become his disciples, although clearly they would have been far more effective than the disciples he chose. Here, the stupidity explanation seems likely, given that he spends so much of his time complaining about the inadequate faith of his chosen ones. On top of stupidity, a pronounced failure of introspection, as he always blames them for their lack of faith, rather than simply admitting the truth: that he sucks at choosing disciples. Further examples of incompetence and finger-pointing can be found in Chapters 15 and 16, when he scolds them all for their inability to understand his badly presented, nonsensical teachings.

The character we have found in this video is perfectly summarized in Chapter 20. As Jesus departs the town of Jericho, two blind men call out, begging him for mercy. His response? "What do you want me to do for you?" Given the circumstances, only a bastard or an idiot would ask such a question.

That's 10.7. Thanks for watching.