Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Video: Sarah Silverman, Jesus, and Abortion

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It is good to focus on Jesus being used in religious satire rather than Mohammed (see previous posts), and I can vouch for the good behaviour of the Jesus in the video. He gave me my camera which I had left on a bench in DC – admittedly at first did not recognise him. But we know that can happen with even close acquaintances of his.

Not quite up there with him visiting as I raid the fridge, as happens to Sarah Silverman in the video below. A discussion on when life begins, and current legislation which is being pushed through in States of America which are reducing health care options for women. For example in Texas from over 40 clinics to a handful.

When it comes to a woman’s choice to be pregnant or not, that is a matter between herself and a medical professional – the state should not be looking to guilt trip or reduce the opportunities to seek this clinical need.

The only thing known to really reduce unplanned pregnancies effectively is proper contraceptive use. I do like the point on the awareness of sperm as potential life, which needs protecting before jerking off.

The punch line did make me winch though.

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Merry Christmas! But I’m Dreaming Of A Solstice For All

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Let me quickly tell you my dream – a “Christmas” for all that is not sectarian, nor dogmatic but life celebrating and all encompassing. Some Christians will say you need the Christ in Christmas. Some atheists may deride this as religion without the supernatural, and with two thirds of humanity not being Christian, many may be concerned I am choosing one particular religious festival to writ large for all. Especially given majority of people do not celebrate December with Christ’s birth in mind.

Yet this dream may be embraced by all as a universal festival for a shared human spirit. Like all dreamers I am not the only one. Perhaps an interfaith approach of celebrating a religious festival as it is, with all the trimmings and inclusive, may work for those that do faith and feel comfortable celebrating another faith. However, I am calling for something that is not religious – though it may borrow (or reclaim) from them – but an observance of the season, marking time, and celebrating life with each other. Something for everyone.

Which makes the Winter Solstice and Christmas the platform to build on.

Not Biblical But Pagan

Christmas was seen by puritans as celebrating a non commemorated event by the apostles, in the style of a modern day pagan Roman worshipping Saturn in December, where his festival:

“Saturnalia was famous for copious feasting, excessive boozing, light-hearted pranks, big gatherings of family and friends, and the exchange of gifts.” [Greg Jenner – read more on his history of Christmas here]

The merrymaking in December is one that transcends the Christian calendar. Even today some Christian sects (like Jehovah’s Witnesses) prohibit followers celebrating Christmas because of the God Saturn.

As coincidence would have it, the Solstice falls on Saturn’s day of the week – Saturday 21 December.

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Commercial intoxication

Most activity this month involves the ringing of tills over bells of joy. Wringing purses to celebrate the presence together of humanity in a crowded mall purchasing the latest must have presents. Later gathering for an orgy of food to gorge and getting the booze in, training in preparation for the following week to vomit out the old year seeing in a new one through blood shot eyes.

So while some American Christians get narked at bill boards with atheists saying you don’t need Christ for Christmas, there is perhaps another way of seeing the Solstice that might include everyone of goodwill. With more to it then getting plastered and deeper in debt, but less to do with a divine baby being born to be crucified as the greatest human sacrifice of all time.

Narrative Beyond Nativity

Humanism is finding a universal idea which recognises cultural festivities as stressing the human needs and wants which all can relate to. Invoking a good life while having a good time.

Religion and traditions get this by invigorating us with celebratory festivals. The traditional over the theological for popular customs enhances the cultural aspect – for example it was St Francis of Assisi who popularised the barn animals at the birth of Jesus. Not biblically accurate, but an excuse to have a child dressed as the back end of a cow at the local school nativity play. A community sharing a common experience that is timeless through generations via a common narrative of storytelling that stretches back towards antiquity.

The Solstice is experienced by all, those noon time shadows are the longest with the low arc of the Sun in the Northern Hemisphere, as the shortest day approaches on Saturday December 21 2013. The marking of it goes even further in human history.

Gifts of Kindness

 

Buying a well thought out gift to someone shows you have been paying attention to them as a unique person. It makes the “better to give then to receive” adage come true. In the harshness of winter this is a time for family, friends, even strangers to come together as one. To celebrate life, as short cold day gives way to harsh long night, and renewal as after the Solstice the night begins to gradually fade.

The Romans during this festive time had slaves the equal with masters. This is the time to remember that whether as Children of Creation, or citizens, we are in equal need of the milk of human kindness. Striped bare we need the same fundamentals to survive. If anything is sacrilegious, people dying due to lack of food, water and shelter on this earth is. A baby born in this world should be celebrated as a messiah – wherever and whenever it takes place.

Using symbols of nature to brighten up the home as a reminder that life carries on, whether bearing fruit on the holly or with a kiss under the mistletoe in the hope that unrequited love just might be reciprocated to kindle a romance to warm cold winter nights.

My Dream

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This photo theme comes from publicising a Winter Solstice event at Liverpool Cathedral marking the world’s traditions across cultures and centuries.

Being festive is tackling the somber atmosphere of rain, wind and snow. We try to romanticise the bitter weather – a “White Christmas” becomes the perfect setting. Irving Berlin with that song, despite having lost a child on Christmas Day and not being a Christian himself, could get that. To commemorate not just the season, but life, hoping to do so with joy and kindness despite the highs and lows.

Such a festival is one I would like to invite all to celebrate together at this time of year. In a world where Ahmadi Muslims can be arrested for celebrating Islamic festivals in Pakistan, puritanical Christian sects ban Christmas inspired frivolity for followers or Christians seeing my suggestion as a secular war on Christmas, this might be a big ask.

Still I dream – celebrating life, hope of renew and kindness while making merry in December.

So however you were planning on celebrating December 25, have a Merry Christmas. But might I encourage you, and those that never celebrate Christmas Day, to consider this Saturday what happens on earth to all and how humanity has marked the passing of time.

So this Saturday 21 December when the Solstice takes place, see if you can live the dream I have outlined here too.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Jesus Jukes – An Atheists Response

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The concept of a Jesus Juke will be familiar. It is how someone casually slips into the conversation that they are at that moment more au fait with Christ than you. Obnoxious enough done to another Christian, down right insult to an atheist.

7 Obnoxious Jesus Jukes goes into this from a Christian counter perspective. Thought I would answer them from my own heathen non turning the either cheek, you have the dirt of the earth if you like, perspective.

1) “Why do you make things so complicated? The answer is Jesus.”

Nothing like turning a situation anyone can find themselves in and saying consolation and acceptance is faith. Yet that never ends the question. Children being born with bone cancer does not strike me as the answer being Jesus.

Life is very complicated, and simplistic solutions can be much worse than recognising the complexity of a problem.

A sense of proportion to the problems in the world is invaluable to lend some perspective.

2) “You seem to be interested in what people want, but what about what God wants?”

Anyone who claims to know what God wants, and to give you a list from, is not only arrogant but possibly delusional. Treat with extreme caution and skepticism.

3) “You worry too much. God will take care of it.”

Parents who prayed rather than called for an ambulance for their children literally took this advice. If you can do something about it than do it. If you cannot than take the time to accept and move on. Use worry as an alarm call to act and think – not to procrastinate or ignore.

4) “You know, I used to talk the way you do back when I was a fundamentalist/liberal/etc.”

You really have no idea about me … Apostate and loving it. Never again.

5) “When I had your problem, I read [insert Bible verse] and everything made sense after that.”

Funnily enough that also helped me realise screwed up people like myself were writing the bible. Other books are available.

6) “I guess I just believe that Jesus meant what he said about hell/poor people/other topic.”

You haven’t read “Zealot” by Reza Aslan have you? Or the other books on historic and Christ version of Jesus. Go for it. Get the man, not the Son of God.

7) [A long, non-sequitur string of scripture references without commentary that generally involve some kind of prophetic “warning” of apocalyptic destruction that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.]

Gently head towards the exit, and do not look back … remain calm.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Zealot: Reza Aslan and Sam Harris on Twitter

On 8 August in the UK Reza Aslan’s book “Zealot” looking at the historical Jesus of Nazareth is out. Much publicity was generated by the infamous Fox News interview above which basically kept asking why would a Muslim want to write about Jesus?

Sam Harris suggested that competence was not the thing but credibility in the argument.

Sam here about Reza:

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Many tweets later, Reza agreeing with another tweeter user delivered a rebuke to Sam.

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Having watched the interview interested in reading the book. On twitter starting a virtual book club do use the hashtag #razbc (Reza Aslan Zealot Book Club) as I imagine #zealot will be more difficult to follow each other on.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Pope woos Atheists, do not fall for it

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My comrades, my fellow anti theists, atheists and contrarians, if you really think this is an olive branch to us with the pope saying:

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

“Doing good” the Pope explained, is not a matter of faith: “It is a duty, it is an identity card that our Father has given to all of us, because He has made us in His image and likeness. And He does good, always.” Vatican Radio

Then we need to talk about original sin.

Christ died for the original sin of Adam. That covers all of us, whether we believe it or not. Without that sacrifice we would all be unworthy of redemption. Nothing we could do on earth would recover us from this sin we ourselves did not commit, but was imprinted on us by what took place before the human race begat with a vengeance. Yes the pope said, atheists could do good. However the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ is what redeems us in the end.

As the Vatican explains:

IN BRIEF

413 “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil’s envy that death entered the world” (Wis 1:13; 2:24).

414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.

415 “Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him” (GS 13 § 1).

416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”.

418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”).

419 “We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, “by propagation, not by imitation” and that it is. . . ‘proper to each'” (Paul VI, CPG § 16).

420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20).

421 Christians believe that “the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator’s love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one. . .” (GS 2 § 2).

The redemption that spreads much further than loaves and fishes ever could in the economy of salvation.

389 The doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the “reverse side” of the Good News that Jesus is the Savior of all men, that all need salvation and that salvation is offered to all through Christ. The Church, which has the mind of Christ,263 knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ.

This is no new revelation. You have this imprinted on you, transmitted by descent. It was a problem for humanity for hundreds of thousands of years till a sacrificial scapegoat became the ultimate offering of flesh and blood born without man’s seed of a virgin for double purity. We would be wretched things if we had to believe this.

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404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man”.293 By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” – a state and not an act.

405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

406 The Church’s teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine’s reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God’s grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam’s fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)296 and at the Council of Trent (1546).297

To fully seize this you must accept baptism (my emphasis in above quote). There is a chance for you atheist. Lead a good moral life, pope says you can you know. Just before you push off this mortal coil a splash of water will give you God’s grace. The priest will wait, your whole life if necessary, to help in this final act of salvation. Your moral life would have been a lot easier with a little of the religious cool aid.

I hope if in my last moments of time I do not succumb to invitations to seek the spiritual side, coaxed perhaps by well wishers concerned for all the blog posts I have written. Christopher Hitchens reminded us:

Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.

The rational response to the pope is thanks but no thanks. I do not want to be considered worthy and redeemed only by an un-biological tortured zombie fairy story, helped by holy water taken externally.

Follow Up Post: Audio of Hitchens on metaphysics and a conversation on pope’s offer

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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