Some links:

From stonemirror: Inanna’s Descent into the Underworld, as performed by Barbies.

From bradhicks: A Jack Chick tract for Zeus.

Just two things to make your day a bit more surreal.

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Published in: on January 22, 2005 at 13:46  Comments (2)  
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Where is Islam now?

An interesting op-ed piece by Peter Bergen raises a good question: For all that the various Arab leagues spend time decrying the way in which the West oppresses Muslims and so on, why are they – both as a community and as individual countries – so conspicuously absent when it comes time to help fellow Muslims? The recent disaster in Asia is just an example – even though the hardest-hit area is one of the most predominantly Muslim parts of Indonesia, the Muslim country that gave the most – Saudi Arabia – gave only $30 million, as much as the Netherlands, and the other countries gave even less. But this is hardly a unique incident; these countries are always the loudest when it’s time to claim victimization, and the quietest when it comes time to doing anything about it, especially if it may have a cost to them.

Published in: on January 8, 2005 at 15:46  Comments (4)  
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Responsibility

And the sons of Aaron, Nadav and Abihu, took [coals] from their censers and put them on the fire, and put on them incense, and they brought before ADONAI a strange fire, which he had not commanded them. And a fire came out from before ADONAI and consumed them and they died before ADONAI. And Moses said to Aaron, it is as the word of ADONAI said, “by my intimates [priests] I shall be sanctified and in the sight of all the people I will be honored,” and Aaron was silent.

[Lev. 10:1-3]

The priests are the intimates of God; since they have this intimacy, they may not use it for themselves and in secret, but only openly, and for the people.

The soldier is granted the power of death; since he has this power, he may not fight on his own account, but only for the safety of his country.

The king is granted rule over the land; since he has this authority, he may not use it for his own benefit, but only for the benefit of the people who are his responsibility.

Published in: on December 26, 2004 at 02:48  Comments (6)  
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A worthwhile read

For those of you who don’t read ‘ journal (you should), here’s a pointer to an excellent article from the Arkansas Times about the role of religion in politics in the past few years. Short and well-written.

Published in: on December 24, 2004 at 16:40  Comments (4)  
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Faith and madness

Robert Suskind has an article in the past week’s New York Times Magazine about the role of faith in Bush’s presidency. It’s not quite what you would expect, and I recommend reading this – not so much for the information as for the piecing together of things and for the rather fascinating quotes from various administration and party officials.

For some reason, this article has disturbed me more than almost anything I’ve seen in the news in the past several months. The conjecture and the analysis ring too true, and the possible consequences are far more alarming than most possibilities of war.

What concerns me

Published in: on October 19, 2004 at 23:01  Comments (10)  
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Allow me to be a cynical bastard…

The New York Times has an article about how European countries are working to train Europeanized imams for their mosques.
Two better solutions

Published in: on October 17, 2004 at 23:28  Comments Off on Allow me to be a cynical bastard…  
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net.gods, reexamined

A church has set up a virtual church on the net. In 3D.

I’m fighting off a certain urge to set up a large server farm, have a 3D interactive world with a full street of small gods. Virtual Methodists over here; virtual synagogue down the block; the imam’s tower is about the same height as the cathedral spire, and the temple of Athena is on a hill nearby…

Published in: on May 16, 2004 at 14:16  Comments (2)  
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Things you learn…

One of my favorite Jack Chick tracts. (For those of you not familiar with these, they’re… shall we say… very Christian little pamphlets that evangelists hand out on street corners. This one in particular is about evolution, and why it’s obviously incorrect and against all religious law)

According to this tract, quantum chromodynamics is a lie, gluons do not exist, and strongly interacting particles are held together by the direct force of divine intervention. (Which is, apparently, somehow distinguishable from gluons. Maybe it has different scattering properties or something.)

That’s going to be a very busy personal divinity. There are a lot of baryons in this universe.

I think I’m going to have to start using the phrase “As busy as the Holy Ghost during baryogenesis.”

Published in: on February 16, 2004 at 01:04  Comments (6)  
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Lunatics. All of them.

So Focus on the Family, a political group headquartered out of Colorado Springs, has issued a statement about the recent South Korean research on stem cells, describing it as “nothing short of cannibalism.” (news story)

(1) I am, once again, embarassed to be from the same state as these idiots.

(2) It’s a fscking blastocyst. The South Korean group has found a way to manufacture a large volume of cells from any donor starting from cells from that donor. It uses a denucleated egg cell from another donor as a component. I fail to see the moral difference between this and taking a skin scraping and culturing it in a petri dish.

(3) “Nothing short of cannibalism” sounds like an excellent motto.

Footnote: I suppose this is a good place to quote Dr. Keuntz from Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death:

This is war! The battle between the sexes! Anything short of cannibalism is just beating around the bush!

Published in: on February 13, 2004 at 17:23  Comments (10)  
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Word games (Cabbala)

I’ve been reading through a book by Zetter on the Cabbala, which is overall nothing stunning but has some interesting insights. And some of these got me thinking, so I’m just going to muse here….

Please be warned that at some stage in this I’m going to descend into alphabetic analysis, which should not be taken too seriously. It’s a way to get at ideas more directly, but the ideas are the goal and the alphabet is just a rather odd means to get there.

Also, please note that it’s late, and I’m really not thinking in English at the moment, so the following may be really incomprehensible at times, and is probably not of interest to anyone who doesn’t do these things for fun. So be warned!

(more…)

Published in: on February 9, 2004 at 01:29  Comments (1)  
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