Sunday, 30 November 2014

I will sing the wondrous story, HYFRYDOL

I will sing the wondrous story
Of the hitch hiker' guide to the galaxy
Arthur Dent left the realms of Earth
For the SS Heart of Gold. 

Yes, Ill sing the wondrous story
Of the hitch hiker' guide to the galaxy
Sing it with the  Slartibartfast                     
Gathered by the crystal fjords.

I had a question to the meaning of everything
And deep found the answer was 42
Then realized they didn't know the ultimate question
For which they would have to build the ultimate computer the narrow way

Yes, Ill sing the wondrous story
Of the hitch hiker' guide to the galaxy
Sing it with the  Slartibartfast                     
Gathered by the crystal fjords.

He will keep me till the river
Rolls its waters at my feet;
Then at last he'll bring me over
saved by grace and made complete.

I was lost, but Jesus found me,
Found the sheep that went astray,
raised me up and gently led me
... to the narrow way.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Listverse: 10 things everyone gets wrong about angels

"Angels from the Realms of Glory" is a Christmas carol written by Scottish poet James Montgomery] It was first printed in the Sheffield Iris on Christmas Eve 1816, though it only began to be sung in churches after its 1825 reprinting in the Montgomery collection The Christian Psalmist
see the original lyrics on Wikipedia
Here is my parody
Angels from the realms of glory,
Winged your flight o'er half the earth;
Ye who sang messiah's story
waited 1500 years to tell America of Messiah's birth
get a move on, get a move on
prevent the crime and heal the sick
Angels from the realms of fiction 
can't save folk from the tyrant's wrath
nor advise of Tsunami awaiting
were ancient authors having a laugh?
Come and help us, come and help us
show you're real if you are there.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Seth Andrews on how Christianity steals good ideas from secular sources

That was a funny quip at 18:50 about the "Get out of hell free" card in BibleOpoly. Maybe so that everyone can play there would be two cards, one in which you say the believers prayer, declare Jesus is Lord & hope for the best and the other where you say,"I've read the books full of reasons by John W.Loftus supporting the idea that it is wildly improbable that there ever was a cosmic hell and also possible that there is no supernatural realm at all. So I'm out free for sure,unlike the Jesus talisman version where there is always that doubt whether you will be damned by an exclusion clause"

Tell me the whole whole story
Atheism can do a bigger better story that encompasses the whole of history and human learning whereas Christianity relies on people not knowing things.

The Bibleman at 19:20 with the plastic lightsabre reminds me of a record cover with an image of a knight in shining armour with sword to advertise the song The Victor by Keith Green. However I recently saw a video of Keith Green preaching where he admitted that there were a lot of bits of the Bible he had never read and when he did he thought,"Whoa, that's heavy"

My sword fight with the idea of hell is: A loving God would either take people to a happily ever after or let them cease to exist at death, so there is nothing to worry about. A perfectly loving God wouldn't have let a hell come into existence and if it had would have cancelled hell as if it never existed. For Jesus to be a hero he would need to save everyone & erase hell. If Jesus won the victory over hell but only saved a few then he is only a little better than the imagined devil, that is just like changing the jailer but keeping the system intact.

What's Wrong With The Gospel? Part 1 by Keith Green
on Youtube channel
This was 1982 after he had been evangelizing many people
2:54 Keith said he was naive, ignorant, a little stupid & foolish about the Bible
4:20 like every new christian I started getting bitter & asking why this wasn't working
4:30 Don't ever study the Bible unless you want your thoughts changed about the truth
5:34 I started studying the Bible and thought; Wait a minute they didn't talk about this part, they skipped from there to there, why did they leave  out that bit..Wow,that's heavy
5:46 Then I started blaming the church
5:56 When a person is a victim long enough they start identifying with the person victimizing them
6:15 The church becomes a victim of a lack of truthful knowledge being presented 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Tried prayer; It didn't work

I tried prayer for decades, it didn’t work.
I slammed the door on the God hypothesis and that did work. It pays to be firm.
The minister I listened to during childhood said,”Don’t close the door on God or you will come to realise too late that the God/heaven/hell thing is real but by then it will be too late, you’ll not be able to get back even though you long to”
Why did it take me so long to think,”If there is no hell then you will have been worrying about nothing, how would the Bible authors know of an unseen supernatural realm when they didn’t predict the essential things that could have been known about the material realm?”
I don’t regret concluding that ‘God’ is a failed hypothesis, an imaginary construct. I wish I had got on the www sooner and read the books of Dan Barker, John W. Loftus, Robert M.Price, C.Dennis McKinsey etc sooner. To me they turn the frightening Babble claims into funny fiction. [See Youtube video, Identifying and Harvesting Wild Thistle on Survival HT channel for an analogy how to chop off the spiny parts of a thistle to get to the nutritious stem. It is the negation of the Babble & Coran which is good]
Hector Avalos in his book,”Fighting words” explains how religion provokes violence by creating imaginary scare resources. Priests make the places in heaven scarce, open only to those who earn a valid ticket.
As a way of reducing religious violence it could help to rewrite the game plan. For peace religious leaders should make the new plan something like:
If there was a loving God then either people would go to a happily ever after or cease to exist at death.
A perfect loving God would not allow a hell to come into existence and if something untoward like that had happened then a God for whom all things were possible would have fixed it as if it had never happened.
If there is no supernatural realm and you put a lot of time & energy into defending the idea that there was a supernatural realm then you will have wasted that investment.
There is an element of hypocrisy in religious leaders standing at the London War Cenotaph when in recent conflicts the texts they endorse have played a large part in causing those deaths. But on the other hand I suppose they show it is possible to stand side by side with people who hold opposing views.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Popocatepetl eruption in 1947, mentioned by Ogden Nash in 1949 Poem

There was a major eruption of Popocatepetl in 1947. Ogden Nash wrote a poem that mentioned it in 1949:  A WORD ABOUT WINTER

Now the frost is on the pane
Rugs upon the floor again
Now the screens are in the cellar
Now the student cons the speller
Lengthy summer noon is gone
Twilight treads the heels of dawn
Round eyed sun is now a squinter
Tiptoe breeze a panting sprinter
Every cloud a blizzard hinter
Squirrel on the snow a printer
Rain spout sprouteth icy splinter
Willy-nilly, this is winter

Summer-swollen door jambs settle
Ponds and puddles turn to metal
Skater whoops in frisky fettle
Gold club stingeth like a nettle
radiator sings like kettle

Runneth nose and chappeth lip
draft evadeth weather strip
doctor wrestleth with grippe
in never-ending rivalship
Rosebush droops in garden shoddy
blood is cold and thin in body
Weary postman dreams of toddy
Head before the hearth grows noddy

On the hearth the embers gleam
glowing like a maiden's dream
now the apple and the oak
paint the sky with chimney smoke
husband now without disgrace 
dumps ashtrays in the fireplace

Married CCCP a brutal state
turned out to be a geat mistake
claustrophobic like the iron maiden
in heaven the marriage was not made in
thought I was signing up to matrimony
but she seemed to think it was acrimony
Cats claws tearing down the glass
Sometimes lying quietly fuming
Rumblings of discontent
before the great eruption
drove me to a tent
Wife is popocatepetl
Full of fury
She the judge and she the jury
Marrying her was catastrophic
but divorcing was cataclysmic 
separated from child by iron curtain
acting more melodramatic than Richard Burton
Weary postman dreams of Lawon's stake and gravy pie
and resting the warm fire by
 maybe partaking of a toddy
before  head becomes too noddy

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Switch to the English common law

Dear Sir,
               I note your sign quoting Ex 20v8-11, "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy". I once heard a man say that if you had worked 6 days of the week then that was enough. Who would want to work everyday ? It is healthy to take a break sometimes.

               I wonder how much you have read of the history of Bible scholarship or the history of archaeology in the Levant? I found it eye opening to read about the religions of ancient Greece, Egypt,Babylonia and Persia.

               I wonder if you have listened to the debates on Premier Christian radio show,"Faith explored" also known as "Unbelievable?" hosted by Justin Brierley ?

               I wonder if you have read, "The reason driven life" by the Bible Geek, Robert M. Price? It is his reply to,"The purpose driven life" by Rick Warren
Valerie Tarico also has an interesting book,"Trusting doubt"

               There are many interesting debates on Youtube for example between William Lane Craig and Bart Ehrman.

There is ambiguity in the Bible, everyone reads a different interpretation.
However what about Paul's writing in Romans about being free from the O.T. law
Romans 3v28 We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
Romans 13v10 Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law
1 Corinthians 6v12 " Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial"
Galations 5v1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery
Gal 5v18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the O.T. law
Ex 34v17 shows the second attempt at writing the tenth commandment, "Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk"  Is that of cosmic importance.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

What would a real god have written on tablets of stone ?

Having watched Brian Cox on “Human universe” talking about the solar location map on the Voyager Probe Golden record, I wonder if such a diagram might have been more useful on the tablets of stone than the second attempt 10th Commandment as seen in Exodus 34v26,”Do not cook a young goat in its mothers milk” [use a slow cooker with olive oil, onions & carrots instead]

How come the tablets of stone went missing (last reported as being in the Ark of the covenant in the temple) and none of the Bible authors even notices or at least never comment? If the Bible tales had been real wouldn’t there be real angels guarding the real tablets on display in a museum to this very day?

It would have been useful to have instructions for making lenses for telescopes and microscopes.
A real god wanting the commandments to circulate could have given them in three languages on same tablets like the Rosetta stone to aid translation, could have had Egyptian hieroglyph, Hebrew and Greek.

Interesting to see real life extant law codes e.g Hammurabi code of 1754 BCE, also the ancient Egyptian 42 negative confessions (though they weren’t a law code as such)

11th commandment: Observation beats revelation any day.

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Vicar of Dibley

"Vicar of Dibley jumps in puddle" is one of the funniest IMO, it is on Youtube Maria DelVecchio channel. One comment puts it at season three episode one 'autumn'
Was Jim (played by Trevor Peacock) a parody on the Bible ? Yes yes yes, no,no
Ex Preacher John W. Loftus describes the Bible as a book at war with itself, with each author trying to subtly refute or ammend previous ones.
Higher criticism of the Bible can be quite funny.
Did "The Vicar of Dibley" mention Exodus 34v26 which puts the 10th commandment on the second set of tablets as, "Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk"?
Or what about the idea of wave offerings as seen in Exodus 29v26, "Wave the breast of a ram before the lord before you put it on your barbecue" ?
Numbers 6v20 has a similar idea. I have never done that before serving my guests at the BBQ, will I be struck down as allegedly happened to Herod in Acts 12v23 for merely failing to give praise to God ? One wonders why this didn't happen to other tyrants in history? Would have saved a lot of trouble.
Bible Geek Robert M. Price does a lot of funny lines in his books, such as "The reason driven life". In chapter 36,"Made into missionaries" , paragraph "You are the salt of the earth" he mentions the idea that if you are in a hurry and can't be bothered with the Jehovah Witnesses at your door then you could say, "I wish the rapture would happen right now and whisk you away"the 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Love and Hate

I admire this high resolution article by Jerry Coyne, it shows his eye for detail and demonstrates how to make comments that are specific, to the point, accurate.
I wonder if there is a comparison with image resolution? There is a good illustration on Wikipedia:
I wonder if early human language was like ZX-81 resolution?
It is so easy to make generalized, exaggerated, conflated comments like, “I hate you” which most often means, “I hate the thing you did just there” or “I am furious at being told to do that”
If a super intelligent brain surgeon who has an IQ of 160 is driving a car and breaks the highway code at some point, due to being distracted by solving some three dimensional trigonometric equation then does it make sense for the person who is at risk of injury to shout,”You idiot” ? It would be more accurate to say,”That was idiotic behaviour” but maybe more helpful to say,”Don’t get distracted from driving, concentrate, watch out, keep your mind on the task in hand”
I think it is interesting to look at the changes that the Coran has made to the Babble stories, however I hate the idea of hell that is proposed in the Coran. I think it is hateful to propose that hell is real. It makes me angry when I hear people make such proposals but then I focus on what I have read that says it is wildly unlikely that there is any afterlife let alone one of suffering. So then I can laugh at the stories of religion and pity those who are blinded by it. Their religion is only one aspect of them. I like some of the Islamic melodies & architecture etc.
If I love one aspect or point of a film it doesn’t mean I love it all equally, just as if I loathe one scene it doesn’t mean I have to reject the whole thing. However it is maybe just part of life that our first comments about something give a vague impression to what we witnessed; “loved it, great, abysmal” and only later do we fill in details once we are more focused on it.
(It can sometimes be funny to deliberately exaggerate but can also be done destructively)
It is just to easy to make distorted, over the top comments in the heat of the moment. Later we hope the other person will ignore it as nonsense. The,”I’m annoyed that you forgot to put the bin out” becomes,”You always do that. You’re hopeless” but could have been,”Please try harder” Does it matter?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo and his telescope

Sometimes religion unwittingly mocks itself. The history behind the Islamic star and crescent emblem is quite funny due to the irony. The star has been imagined as planet Venus. In 1610 Galileo was the first to use a telescope to observe planet Venus and notice that it goes through phases like our moon, from this Galileo worked out that Venus must be orbiting the sun and therefore the 140 CE Ptolemaic geocentric model was an illusion and the 1543 Copernican heliocentric model was real life.  For centuries the Islamic astronomers had been holding to the Ptolemaic model of the Earth at the centre of the solar system. How is it that the Coran failed to point them toward the idea of the Sun at the centre ?
Divine revelation failed to help. If the Coran or Babble had drawn pictures of Venus as a sphere with images of its phases then that would have been a bit of a miracle, pre telescopes. However Aristarchus of Samos proposed a heliocentric model in 200 BCE that seems to have been mostly ignored.

           Mohammad is claimed to have flown to the seven heavens on his trusty Buraq and Jesus also is said to have flown up past the clouds. Why did they not take a close look at Venus on the way past ? Perhaps they were both short sighted and needed glasses but didn’t know how to make them ? Mohimmad backed the wrong horse.

 The Islamic crescent is imagined as a phase of the moon. However they have drawn a distorted/fictional crescent which extends past the poles- with the points of the crescent reaching about 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock This has happened because they have taken a lazy way out;  using a smaller circle to draw the internal curve. Even if they had used a larger circle it would have given a closer approximation, the illuminated area needs to stop at the poles. I wonder if the astronomers and mathematicians during the Islamic golden age would have been able to draw a more accurate crescent moon using trigonometry ? Are there any ancient accurate drawings ? (The crescent on the modern flag of Singapore is closest to real life)

It is also funny that the star and crescent have close association with religions and cults more ancient than the Islam or Christianity:
 From Wikipedia:

During the 1950s to 1960s, the star and crescent symbol was re-interpreted as a symbol of Islam or the Muslim community.

It has been associated with the Moabites (14th or early 13th – 6th century BC), as the symbol or symbols appear on what are thought to be Moabite name seals. Crescents appearing together with a star or stars are a common feature of Sumerian iconography, the crescent usually being associated with the moon god Sin (Nanna to the Sumerians) and the star (often identified as Venus) with Ishtar (Inanna to the Sumerians). However, in this context, there is a third element often seen, that being the sun disk of Shamash.

The star and crescent was also the emblem of Mithradates VI Eupator. “His royal emblem, an eight rayed star and the crescent moon, represented the dynasty’s patron gods, Zeus, Stratios, or Ahuramazda, and Men Pharmacou, a Persian form of the native moon goddess.” Other scholars have suggested that the star and crescent are more directly related to the cult of the god Mithra. Ustinova associates the star and crescent motif attested in a number of finds in the Bosporan Kingdom (which date from the 5th century BC to the 1st century AD) with the cult of Mithras, and indicates the star and the crescent together constituted the emblem of Pontus and its kings, asserting that it was introduced to the Bosporus by Mithradates and his successors, where it is attested on coins, locally produced jewelry and other objects. She suggests that this emblem indicates “the possibility of an earlier association of the Pontic dynasty with the cult of mounted Mithra. Mithra in fact must have been one of the most venerated gods of the Pontic Kingdom, since its rulers bore the theomorphic name of Mithradates […] although direct evidence for this cult is rather meager.”

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Fools for Christ

1 Corinthians 1v18,"The message of the cross is foolishness"
1 Cor 1v21 The foolishness of what was preached
1 Cor 1v22  Jews demand miraculous signs
                    Greeks look for wisdom
                    Christ crucified is foolishness to the gentiles
1 Cor 1v25 The foolishness of God is wisdom (if you practice double speak)
1 Cor 4v10 We are fools for Christ
1 Cor 15v12 Some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead. If there is no resurrection of the dead then not even Christ has been raised.
Acts 23v8, Mark 12v18, Matt 22v23: The Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits
1 Cor 15v14 If Christ has not been raised our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God"
1 Cor 15v19 If Christ has not been raised your faith is futile and you are to be pitied more than all men (especially if you have given a lot of your money to the church)
1 Cor 15v32 If the dead are not raised then as Isaiah 22v13 says, "let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die"
 (but if there is no Hades or God then there was nothing to worry about anyway)
1 Cor 16v55 quotes Isaiah 25v8 Death has been swallowed up in victory,
Hosea 13v14"Where o death is your victory, Where, O death, is your sting"

Ecclesiates 9v5 The dead know nothing, they have no further reward and even the memory of them is forgotten never again will they have any part of what happens under the sun.
Ecclesiates 3v19 Man's fate is like that of the animals, the same fate awaits them both, as one dies so does the other, all have the same breath, man has no advantage over the animals. Everything is meaningless, all go to the same place, all come from dust and to dust all return, who knows if the spirit of man goes up and if the spirit of animals goes down into the earth.
Acts 17v18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with Paul. Some of them asked,"What is this babbler trying to say?" (They asked Paul,"Have you heard the Epicurean parodox:"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" )