Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts

September 19, 2023

Too bad for House GOP that Biden isn't God since he just wished them lots of luck in impeachment


Who knows what Bible these MAGA Republicans pray to.
Perhaps it's the Bible According to Boebert.

By Hal Brown

Not to split hairs, and far be it from me as a far from religious (okay, an atheist) Jew to get into a Talmudic discussion, but if Biden actually was an all-powerful diety he wouldn't have to wish the House Republicans "lots of luck" in their trying to impeach him. 

He could just either make it happen or stop it from happening. He could also make them look like abject fools in a futile attempt hurling screaming diatribes at him and trying to do a public Jamal Khashoggi on his son Hunter.

Of course the same Republicans frothing at the mouth to strut their stuff, pounding their chests and bellowing like great apes, as they play out their impeachment game to the final buzzer if they believe anyone has Heaven sent supreme  powers it's Donald Trump.

 For the believers among them impeachment is assured. God/Trump will have ordained it.

Related article, with my Trump thought bubble added.

September 17, 2023

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe, Would God go with GOP or Joe?


By Hal Brown

Here's a personal note about my own religious background and beliefs.

This blog is really meant to be an addenudum to what I wrote yesterday, here:

I initially thought of the title of today's blog after reading this article about Evangelicals supposedly losing their grip on the GOP on Raw Story.
Click to read in Raw Story

I tried to make an illustration with this image:

It was taking too long to position the pointing finger properly on something like a stone tablet so I went with the easier to make image you see on the top of the page.

Click to enlarge
The hypocritical irony of beliving that  God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses as the basic rules for mankind to abide by  and how Republicans flout as many as half of them is beyond the scope of what I want to write about today.  Suffice to share the new 10  GOP Commandments (Slate 2021) by Liz Cheney and take note of the failed efforts in Texas to require that public schools to display them. Texas, of course, is the state where its governor, Greg Abbott, is putting barbed wire on floats acrtoss the Rio Grand to stop deperate immigrants from crossing.  

So much has been written about the abject hypocrisy of Evangelicals who support Trump and the other GOP candidates for president who either not only don't have any semblance of so-called the Christian values like those described on this Christian website (and like Trump probably don't believe in God). Then there's the most devout candidate, Pence, who managed to worship the false god Trump as he again and again did things that proved he was as cruel as the Devil. (More about Pence here: CNN's Tapper corners Mike Pence over accusations he used his faith to run cover for Trump)

The question I pose for Evangelicals is who would God choose to be president? 

A great deal has been written about Einstein's quote about quantum mechanics, God does not play dice with the universe, and what he meant by it (here for example). 

I doubt too many Evangelicals consider how quantum mechanics fits into God's plan, but I think they'd endorse the idea that God has a plan and everything He does is for a reason.

In other words, this goes back to my title, God does not play Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe when making decisions that effect life on Earth.

Which presidential candidate actually walks the walk? While Biden doen't talk the talk of the Evangelicals can anyone who thinks clearly about what he believes and what he has done and is trying to do for people is walking the walk that a kind, loving, and compassionate God would approve of?

You don't need to read these 100 quotes from the Bible about the poor, for example, to ask the question.

Click images to enlarge them

There's nothing more I can add to this.

September 16, 2023

"Listen up GOP candidates and your pious flock, according to me and my son, woke is good." God*

By Hal Brown

* Disclaimer: I do not profess to know God actually said "listen up GOP candidates and your pious flock, according to me and my son, woke is good." I think that the Bible's deity probably would say this. There's more about my faith history on bottom of the page.

I read the following in Raw Story:

Click above for article

This was my comment in Raw Story in response:

 If there was a capital G god, the most real tradtional all powerful diety decision maker ruling over Earth and all points in every direction to the end of the Universe and perhaps beyond, you know, the capital G god who looks like one of the images below, why would capital H he have had a son he sent to Earth who preached a message to mankind that in its essence was what the GOP is calling woke. Read (Newsweek) "Evangelicals Are Now Rejecting 'Liberal' Teachings of Jesus" here.


The Newsweek article has as its central premise that Trump, other GOP presidential candidates, as well as many members of the party who are pandering to Evangelicals  have "transformed the political landscape in the U.S. to the point where some Christian conservatives are openly denouncing a central doctrine of their religion as being too weak and liberal for their liking."

I didn't read the Daily Beast article cited in Raw Story since I don't have a subscription but I did look at the other article. It was from The Christian Post (below) describing the speech Ron DeSantis gave which concluded with this sentence: He told the audience, “As president, we are going to leave the woke mind virus in the dustbin of history, where it belongs, once and for all.” 

Click above 

Here are two other Raw Story comments with illustrations (click to enlarge):

A commenter who goes by SailorRet posted many more images here.

Below are a few of the other comments in Raw Story which I think make excellent points:

“I don't know how you could be a leader without having faith in God," DeSantis said. 

The only member of the Founding Fathers who had beliefs similar to Evangelicals was John Adams, and get this, he was also the only member of that group who was an abolitionist.

(Yeah, maybe that was a big reason he and Thomas Jefferson hated each other. But the point is clear.)

Yeah. Woke is why young people are putting off getting married and having kids. Not because they can't fucking AFFORD to have kids thanks to 40 years of union busting and trickle down pushed by their own party. 🙄

Too bad for them, the young people aren't buying their line of bullshit the way boomers and a chunk of my generation (X) did.

No lie. My 20 year old asked me what they could do to avoid struggling with bills and stuff the way I sometimes do. I looked them straight in the face and said "Don't have kids unless you have a great job and you're living with someone who also has a great job. I love you and your sister, but kids are expensive and you need two solid incomes to raise them" (my ex, their mother, was stay at home and ran off with her affair partner just as she was supposed to go back to work, but that's a different story). My 20 year old is LGBT and doesn't want kids anyway. My 20 year old also votes. And NOT for RepubliQans.

So thank 40 years of GQP union busting and trickle down. Not woke (whatever the fuck that is).

"And it’s the faith in God that gives you the strength to stand firm against the lies, against the deceit, against the opposition."'s having a strong moral compass and a desire to do the right thing (for others as well as yourself) that keeps people unwavering.

It's very weak, and irresponsible, to act as if some invisible being is directing and supporting you, because it's a lie and you know it. You do what you want, giving into your hate and fear, because then you can take it out on others - and blame the outcome on your deity.

As for "COVID-ism", Vivek? We all know every single one of you candidates is vaccinated. So you can fk off with that bs.

And you'll never eradicate "wokism", because that's just respect for others and not trying to control who people are. Us telling y'all to stop banning books is not the same as you telling us which gender we are. You're just so convinced you're right, when you're very, very wrong!

Ex-Vice President Mike Pence told the audience, "The facts speak for themselves. Today more young people are delaying having a family altogether. The share of never-married adults has tripled since 1980. People are getting married later, having children later in life; declining U.S. birth rates" — all the "hallmarks of decline."

Phvck YOU Q-Tip! That's called freedom to decide when or what to do in ones life. What is declining is American's showing up on Sunday mornings for sermons, which now a days at many churches are white Christian nationalist propaganda.

These. Christofascists. Are. Insane. I've posted this quite a few times over the past several years on quite a few threads, but it bears repeating: When you mix religious fanaticism with political fervor, you have big trouble. Wasn't it Barry Goldwater who said, "when fascism comes to the United States, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible"?

...""protect children from 'indoctrination' in public schools.""...
Now THERE is projection on steroids... Religious schools of ANY religion are breeding grounds for extremism and bastions of indoctrination. Manipulation at its finest.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" ... OOPS forgot about that, did you? If we all followed the dictate of keeping government out of religion and vise-versa, and ENFORCE that, we'd be much better off.
But NOOO, they claim to be pure and god-fearing, but then reality bites ... right, Kristi Noem and Corey Lewandowski? Donald Trump and (..MANY..)? Ken Paxton and his side piece?

As it is, there are millions running around proclaiming that they "live by" the demands in their religious texts, but they fail to even provide a modicum of proof that their god exists.
Should that not be STEP #1 before committing to your chosen cult? ... I.E. Prove there is a basis for your beliefs in magic? Asking too much, I know...

A personal note:

I was raised a secular Jew.

I suppose I am so un-Jewish that I just had to be reminded what today was, so I am adding this to the blog:

My town of Mt. Vernon, NY at the time I lived there had a very large Jewish population and I barely knew any Christians. There was one Christian family on my block. 

As a adult I was amazed to learn that three of the major players in the failed illegal attempt in 1947 (when I was three) to buy the soon to become a sovereign country of Israel a surplus aircraft carrier named the Attu for $125,000 (described in article here) were my neighbors. They lived literally next to my house or one house away. I discovered that the men I knew, the fathers of my best toddler friends, were being investigated by the FBI and there were agents prowling the treelined streets of my  tranquil neighborhood.  I am still in frequent touch with two of these friends.

My great-grandfather was one of the founders of a major synagogue tthere.

Click above to enlarge

Most of my male friends and all of my boy relatives went to Hebrew school and went through the   bar mitzvah ceremony with the attendent big party afterwards. My parents couldn't afford this and didn't believe it was important anyway. 

They taught me that God was simply a force for good.  I used to say the "now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to God my soul to keep, God bless Mommy and Daddy etc." prayer every night when I went to bed. I stopped believing in God when I pretty young after one experience. I had terrible stomach cramps and was sitting on the toilet. I was already doubting that there could be an actual God but was in such pain I said out loud "God I promise that if you stop the pain I will believe in you." The pain persisted for a long time. I figured nobody with the power to stop it existed because after all I knew I was a good kid and didn't do anything which I needed to be punished for.

Now if I had to describe my position on matters of faith I would call myself an ethical atheist.

August 21, 2023

Is Trump the greatest man whoever lived, even greater than Jesus, or just the brand new Jesus?


If you want to save yourself the ordeal of listening to this decidely untalented excuse for a country singer just check out the lyrics to this song. They call Trump the greatest man who ever lived which I suppose means the writer either doesn't think Jesus was a man or that he thinks Trump is greater than Jesus. 

The singer/songwriter says Trump is the brand new Jesus. It you believe that Jesus was fully a man, as many religious scholars do (see reference) and Trump is the greatest man who ever lived, it stands to reason (that pesky word, reason, again) that Trump is greater than Jesus.

Here's the first verse:

Here comes Donald, 

The greatest man who ever lived. 

Here comes Donald, 

The most important man on the planet. 

I vote for him and I'm not afraid to show it. 

He's changed my life and he doesn't even know it. 

God Bless Donald, 

The greatest man who ever lived. 

and when I praise the Lord, 

I'm thinking 'bout the President x 3 

Donald Trump is the Brand New Jesus Christ

I was prompted to write this after reading this on Raw Story:

Click above to read
The article above rferences this interview in The Bulwark

I found the Trump is the Brand New Jesus song when I read the article about Trump and the evangelicals and thought of writing a blog about it so I looked for a picture to use as an illustration searching Google Images for "Trump as Jesus" and the found the image on the second row far right linked to the webbage with the song.

Obviously there's a contradiction between the Rambo warrior Trump thinks he is and wants other people to see him as and a beatifically smiling Jesus figure holding a lamb.

Here's another similar illustration from a Who, What, Where article titled Trump the Secong Coming (here).

I haven't found any record of Trump ever having a pet and I doubt he'd acutally be comfotable even holding a lamb. There is a new digital Trump card showing him with a dog however:
Since he's made money off of these so-called trading cards (which aren't even on cardboard) I wonder if we'll see more of them only now they may be depicting him as a muscle bound Jesus like in these:
This is quite the contrast with Jesus as imagined by Renaissance artists:


July 2, 2023

What would Thomas Aquinas say?

Thomas Aquinas, Altarpiece in
Ascoli Piceno, Italy,
by Carlo Crivelli
 (15th century) Public domain

By Hal Brown

We recently binge watched Madam Secretary. If you're familiar with the show you know that the star Téa Leoni plays Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord and that her husband Harry (played by Tim Daly) is a theology professor who often quotes Thomas Aquinas who has been described as "the most influential thinker of the medieval period and he greatest of the medieval philopsher-theologians. 

In a few episodes he related a "Thomas Aquinas walks into a bar" joke. Here's one of them:

Thomas Aquinas walks into a bar, and the bartender pours him a big goblet of mead.

Bartender says, "How ya doin?"

Aquinas says, "Oh, not so great. I've been working on this treatise for seminarians. Uh, basically explains all the major points of Catholicism. It could be the most important theological document of our time, and I even thought of the perfect title: Summa Theologica."

Aquinas continues, "So, I finish it, and I misplaced it. I can't find it anywhere, and I can't understand why God would inspire me to do this and then allow it to be taken away. What is God trying to tell me?"

Bartender says, "Eh. You win summa, you lose summa."

I am about as far removed from being a religious scholar as I am from being Kafka's cockroach, well, probably further removed. Still, I decided to see whether Aquinas had anything to say applicable to the politics of today and to my life in general. Not about to read his collected works I turned to the website AZ Quotes for his best known quotations. Below are a selection of quotes with my annotations.

This is totally irrelevant to me personally since I don't believe in God. However it should be a quote to live by for all those who do believe in God. You can ask yourself whether members of the far-right could say the above if there was a real lightning hurling god who would strike liars and hypocrites and burn them to a heap of cinders would be around to vote in the next election.
 Whether you love money, power, your family, or humanity or various combinations to different degrees, I believe this.
I agree, but this quite obviously far easier said than done. As someone who was a psychotherapist for 40 years the saying "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink" comes to mind. Of course the horse first has to be thirsty and then is willing to ask you for directions to the watering hole.
This is a tricky one because it is possible to be consumed by anger over injustice to the point where you can be immobilized. I agree it is immoral not to feel angry at immorality and injustice but anger enacted upon in a moral and productive way should be the highest goal.
When Aquinas refers to faith he means faith with no evidence he means believing in God without questioning. His going on to say that those without faith will ignore evidence of God's existence seems to be highfalutin dismissiveness.
There's love and there's love and there's hate. I love people who are in my life, and I can and do have love for people who I admire, and can have a kind of empathy which isn't really love but isn't hate either for people who I understand even though they are to varying degrees intolerant and hateful. While it is risky to be consumed by hate for someone like Trump or DeSantis or their ilk I can feel it and haven't an iota of guilt over this.
I don't know whether this is meant to mean an individual man or mankind. Either way, the assumption that there's a supernatural entity that is capable of such a feat seems preposterous to me. As a cynic I ask why if God is real what is he (or He) waiting for to do this?
Here Aquinas makes an observation tIhat seems to be his being a goody two-shoes engaging in wishful thinking. Getting back to the politics of the day, why should I will the good of Trump or Putin? I wish they were good people but I only wish bad things for them.
Before Anton van Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope there were invisible creatures nobody knew existed. Today we know we sleep because there are scientific ways as simple as being video recorded, to prove we do. If somebody invents a way to prove angels exist I won't believe in them.
By this I assume he means mankind. By ought to believe this seems to mean God. While belief in and acting on all the best of religion would indeed lead to the salvation of mankind, this isn't about to happen. The second and third ideas make sense to me. If you know that you ought to desire and act, for want of a better way to phrase it, that you live by The Golden Rule I agree.
He sure nails it here. One of the emotions that drives the hard right, that drives white nationalism, and also motivates individuals to lash out at other, is fear. 
This seems to be an indictment of self-aggrandizing narcissism. If this is what he meant I certainly agree.
Wow! Sure a person leads a happier more fulfilling life the more joy they experience. But again he has to interject spirituality when this is irrelevant to leading an ethical, moral, and happy life. You can be an abject atheist and still lead a laudatory life. He's goes even further here. What's this carnal pleasure addiction? He probably means sex although the term also means anything of the body so this could be a condemnation not only of sexual gratification but also of enjoying any other kind of sexual pleasure from sensual touching to eating tasty food to enjoying the sun shining on your skin.
Somehow the universe of which Earth is but a minuscule part of came into being. Nobody knows what was here before the Big Bang. I suppose we could call this unknown God, nothingness, Rootie Kazootie, or hell, why not El Squeako Mouse, the great Mexican matador.
This appears to be an appeal phrased as an admonition to reason and critical thinking. I'd put it as saying that it's best in decision making to consider all factors without prejudging and bias.
This is basically a prayer which I find nothing to object to about for believers who find it helpful assuming they don't distort the means of the words to justify evil behavior.
I assume this is a metaphor for an individual never taking risks. It makes sense to me.
You don't have to believe in God to do what's right. The heart is an ancient metaphor for emotions, the saying "follow your heart" usually means taking actions that feel right to you. Unfortunately for some people doing what feels right is morally and ethically wrong.
One the face of this, without going too deeply, this sounds like a valid statement. Unfortunately it could be used to exact what one group considers justice against someone who does deserve mercy. The second part describes how punishment is all too often exacted against groups of people today.
I would add true love to true friendship but I certainly agree with this. 
100% agree.
Add love and I agree.
100% agree.
This is a version of "the ends justified the means" which is often addressed in the study of ethics. Was dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified is a frequently used example. It would be interesting to bring Aquinas back and ask him what he thought.
In the language of his time soul meant something deeper than just saying person, but assuming this is what he meant, I can find an argument to support this. Everyone wants to achieve some kind of happiness even in people with some psychiatric disorders, it is by making themselves experience pain. Everyone, even those struggling to survive to the next day, wants to have some kind of meaning in their life even if it is just keeping themselves and their loved ones alive.

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