Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's Dark Sided Stuff

Best, freakout ever!  Can anyone else recommend some more good freakout videos?

Send me the freakouts and they may make it on the blog!!!

This is awesome!

I know you all have seen the video of the guy getting hit by an Ice Cream Truck....check him out now.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Atheism Shouldn't Offend

Take a minute to watch this video.   I find it interesting that the most offensive belief is in fact the one that denies all others.  It carries some weight to insist on their being no higher power but the insinuation is always infuriating to those who do believe.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Best Video Ever

Who doesn't love this shit

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How To Make God Happy: A Primer

     No matter how many times I read the Bible it has always astounded me the level of commitment that the authors have had to bringing people together, and that is respectable.  Now in the Qur'an I see the same level of apparent commitment to community and the like, also respectable.  However as Islam as managed to stick to the original format of worship (following the Pillars of Faith) for a long time, Christianity is apparently suffering from some sort of dyslexia, and it is infuriating.
     The things that Christians have decided are important as of late are the opposite of what they profess to believe.  It is almost as if the Bible was designed to show Christians how not to act.  Yet we all scream at each other "Go to Church every Sunday!" and condemn those who do not.  Why?  The simple answer is, "Well the Bible says that the church....blah,blah,blah vomit."  Listen, I appreciate that old worn out line as much as the next person but it has no value anymore.  There are "new" perspectives, but they are really old ideas wrapped in new paper.
     Even the concept of giving has been screwed up in the Church.  How many Billions of dollars are Christians going to corporately waste on new tech, buildings and missions trips when people are dying in their cities while they sleep.  How is it that a Church that brings in 100 million a year is applauded for donating 1 million to various caused.  But it is not worth praising someone for throwing their leftovers to a beggar on the street.  Every time this conversation starts up people begin defending the churches and saying, "You have no idea what it takes to run a church!" talk to me after you've had some ministry experience.  I will bet my life that the first elders knew LESS than I did and they preformed their duties admirably.  
     I told my Ethics class a the beginning of the quarter that they are allowed to believe whatever they wish.  The only requirement in the class is that you defend your reasoning.  I also told them that if they could not do that they were stupid.  This is harsh but completely in line with reality.  But in the Christian world defending ones position is no longer in vogue, rather it is easier to shun those with questions and condemn them as they leave saying, "If they would only listen to sad."  In what field of reasoning does everyone take, "God told me so" or "Just listen to God" as an acceptable, well-thought, logical response to everything.  NONE! Even the greatest Christian thinkers dove deep to consider the logical reasons for the statements in the Bible, and would not be satisfied until they were found.
    However, today we are inundated with the gospel of "Contrast" being separated from the world.  Wear these clothes! Watch these shows!  Listen to this music! Pray when you get sick! In fact the culture of the Church in America is designed to keep everyone but the most acceptable members out.  The easy way to find out what God wants it to look at society and do the opposite.  Look like a freak and then feel self righteous about it.  And anyone that tells you to change is going to hell, good!   All I'm saying is that apparently the way to make God happy today isn't to think, question or guess about purpose of scripture and His commands.  To make God happy all you need to do is act like an idiot so everyone around you stares.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Reflection : Why You Should Never Question God, A History

     Having finished the first book in the Qur'an and the first month of writing I want to reflect on an issue that has been raised by the Qur'an and the Bible. Questioning God.  From the time that we were throwing rocks at each others heads and looking up at the night sky and decided there must be a being over asking that being questions has been strictly prohibited.  Oog and Cronk both knew that if they questioned the Great Light during the day that it would retreat and create darkness for some time.  The Great Light of course did this because its feelings were hurt, It was doing the best it could to sustain all life and make sure that the dinosaurs did not eat the little people.  Oog and Cronk both agreed that every day someone was hurting the Great Lights feelings, so they decided that everyone did such should die.  And so our fear of God begins, not from logic but from consequence.

    Oog and Cronk are not too terribly different from the modern theologian, both attempting to attain knowledge about something far above them.  The current thinker however uses more refunded methods than bludgeoning to death with rocks or sticks, but that is a current development and there are still those today that hurl stones at those who would question or defy God or the customs laid out by Allah.  Piles of rubble aside, what are the current reasons for denying our innermost thoughts from interacting with the on high?

    First we have the punishment trap.  You see this trap is quite tricky because it can get you coming and going paralyzing you with fear of any intellectual movement at all.  Upon entering the trap God decides to "test" you and send a trial your way.  Now, this trial will look and feel terrible, almost like a punishment, but remember that God is loving and kind and only kills your parents for good reasons.  No, don't cry I know your only three years old in a war torn country but its all part of God's plan for your life so bear with me.  God has now decided to scrutinize your reactions throughout life.  At any point if you question the great providence that was given you, you will be smote. Boils, plagues and death are old fashioned today you get cancer or lose your job.  All of this becuase you dared question God.  Shame On You!

     Second, is the ever entertaining idea that God is a gigantic hormonal sissypants.  Thats right, God the divine eternal creator of the universe cannot take it when you say nasty things about him or his plans.  In fact when you do it hurts him so much he just wants you to die, and go to hell forever.  I understand that if we react like this we are condemned but you need to remember that this is God we are talking about OK.  And even if we didn't like it there would be nothing that we could do, God is far to powerful and majestic for us to attempt to assail.  Again, you may be confused and say, "But Ben, according to the Bible and Qur'an God/Allah has killed far more people than Hitler, Stalin or Satan combined"  Yes, I know but unlike those people/celestial being we have no means of putting God on trial so we simply let him do as he wishes and deal with the swings in emotion every time a new episode of Glee or Will & Grace come on the in heaven.

     Third and finally is my personal favorite, God is just and angry guy out to get jollies by squishing the unbelievers.  Right away I know your thinking this idea looks exactly like what we do to people that disagree with us, and your right.  There is NO WAY we could have fashioned a God that acted like us NO WAY AT ALL!  So anytime somebody steps outta line ZAP, cancer, finances, economy, hurricanes, earthquakes even rape, murder and hell.  All different settings on the Sin Punishing Raygun in the Hands of an Angry God.  God is exactly like your Dad when he got too upset to think anymore and gave you one whack too many and the police got called, except this time nobody can call the police, because God would kill them too. Jerk...

     Each of these options make a slight bit of sense but I would like to propose a fourth.  God/Allah actually cares about the universe that was created and everything in it.  The creator is not waiting for the "time and day" to become the destroyer.  In fact it would make more sense that God would make every possible effort to ensure the salvation of everything ever made...But that is too nice.  God, when fashioned after human thought, will always fall short of our expectations, or turn out to be a divine un-killable monster.  I'm going to go ahead and place my faith in the creator God and not the one that is bent on destroying everything when the time is right.  If i spent a lifetime creating a sculpture and thought it to be "good" there would not be a time for that work of art to be destroyed.  I would exhaust my life protecting it if some were out to ruin my creation.  And given that God has infinite life and power, the creator is more likely to do that than turn around one day with an hammer and yell "THATS IT!"  So ask away, and fear not the mighty response, because there won't be one.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Religious Evolution of Women's Rights

Quote from the Holy Qur'an

"...And their husband's will have a right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation.  And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them..."
Al-Baqara 228

Quote from the Holy Bible

"But from the beginning of creation he made them male and female.  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no long two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together let no one separate."
Mark 10:6-10

     Even dressing this topic in reference to these two religions is something akin lighting a match in the middle of a wildfire.  There is no doubt in my mind that both Christian and Muslim readers already have their minds made up about gender roles.  Male or Female, on either side of the religious divide most believe that the side of the Gulf they occupy is the "Good" side.  Whether it be the Christian accusing the Muslims of being oppressive of women or the Muslims accusing the Christians of objectifying women.  This conversation has been beaten to death and there has been little or no progress, because of the stalemate of religious authority, so lets go about this a different way.

     For as long as I remember, being a man was a good thing and being a woman was akin to being a second class citizen.  Now, this is inside the Christian community in which I was raised.  Women had to deal constantly with the various prejudices and Biblical conundrum of their role.  Where they to speak, or be silent?  Where they to preach, but just to other women?  What if a woman goes against the drawn conclusion.  Then there is the modesty discussion, a talk which I do not understand.  I am a man, I can control my eyes, my wrongdoing is my own.  No matter what a woman is wearing it never excuses a man from action, unless of course you think were all raging balls of sex only good for procreation.  But we are not, we are humans and so are women, our rights should be the same.

     But inside a biblical system the woman is trapped in between two worlds, her own and the world of the Bible.  In the Old Testament she is chattel more often than not and used to bind alliances or cause sin among the rules of the nation.  The New Testament gives no new rights, perhaps supposed equality in Christ at the end of things but no real equality here on Earth.  So the woman is presented with the puzzle and told, "Listen only to male leaders and suppress, all you can, your desire to listen to female leaders.  Let the men interpret the Bible and teach you, but in your Bible study later feel free to use Beth Moore materials."  It is a schizophrenic, intolerable, domineering, catch 22 mess.  There are so many contradictions in that statement, let alone the whole of scripture concerning women that a logical person would simply divorce the whole thing and be done with it.

     That is they would if there were not the threat of eternal damnation along with rough time here looming over their heads.  Nobody, unless they have extreme will, can break free of that kind of threat and lose the community they once loved.  So many women and men sit in pews listening to things about each other that they profess to believe in church but act out differently as they leave the parking lot.  This is good, it shows how archaic all the rules and laws truly are, we act differently, not out of sin, but because we know the truth is not contained in some ancient patriarchal ramblings but revealed in the world we have grown ourselves.

     I expected that a Muslim woman would have a situation similar to a Christian woman.  This is not true.  Again I will ask you to divorce from your mind the cultural images of Islam and women in burkas, as I have to, and think textually.  As I read through  60+ verses in Al-Baqara regarding legal obligations between man and wife I noticed a key difference.  Women are given rights!  How wonderful it was to read that the rights given a man are the same given to his wife.  That he MUST be fair to her or suffer punishment.  This was not only shocking but revealed to me the times had changed between the authorship of the Bible and the Qur'an.

     It did not show me some categorical divide between the two books but rather the advancement of human thought on gender relations.  The man and woman were beginning to be seen as equally important in Allah's eyes, and as religion is the expression of humanities deepest desires we, as a group, began to realize this truth more corporately.  I am massively confused as to why Muslim nations oppress and abuse women when in their own book they are given equal status as men on at least one occasion (divorce) and growing status in many other places compared to the Bible. Please stick to your beliefs if you cannot move beyond them, then you would at leas have as high a view of women as the Qur'an.  It even allows for you to remain proud of your penis if you need to, because it apparently gives you an "advantage"

    It is sickening to me to see religion used in a way to harm any, and in this area it has harmed half the human race.  We have far to long clung to old pages, ritual, and rites to tell us how men and women should behave.  It is far beyond time we rethink these ancient words, painful symbolic destruction and outdated cultural practices.  We moved forward in thinking from the Bible to the Qur'an in moral discourse.  Is it so wrong to take the final step?  To enforce equality, not just allow it.  Men, stand up for women for you do not want to be on the opposite side when the paradigm shifts for the final time.  Women stand up for yourselves do not let someone else be your voice,  be your own.  Together we can turn the tide against the patriarchs and win back the humanity we all deserve.