Sunday, August 31, 2014


"The advancement and diffusion of the only guardian of true liberty."
Thomas Paine

Listinng things don't make them true

Mark Sandlin's "10 MORE Things Churches Can’t Do While Following Jesus" is complete crap. There isn't a single on on his list that can't be debated. It is true that you can find scriptural passages that support his favored claims but you can also find passages that contradict his views. I have written about this numerous times. The "truth" is that there is not a single Jesus in the the New Testament. There are a variety of personas that get portrayed under the name Jesus. Pick the Jesus you like best and you can find support for that version. There are a handful from Sandlin's list that I find rather entertaining since there are blatant counter-examples.

"3) Turn the poor away....
4) Narrowly define who is and who isn’t a Christian....
5) Define yourself more by what you’re are against than what you support....
9) Love the sinner hate the sin."

A couple passages I've referenced before immediately spring to mind. Mark 14:3-7 is Jesus' cute self centered "fuck you" to the poor that I have commented on previously. If Jesus can decide on a whim to ignore the poor why can't another self-righteous asshole do the same? Then, of course, there's Luke 19:27 where humanity's savior orders his followers to round up all non-followers and slaughter them. That rather short passage seems to kick the shit out of Sandlin's 4,5,9 and most of the other "10 more things..." to boot.

It is really pretty simple. Followers of Jesus can do just about anything they want in Jesus name and justify it with scripture. This might account for why Christianity became and continues to be so wide spread.

Duh, of course

The title question of one of Jonathan Merritt's most recent posts is so blatantly stupid I wasn't sure wether to bother commenting on it. In the end it was too ripe for ridicule to resist. "Have Americans made God in their image?" is yet another example of how willfully ignorant Merritt continues to be. Even the theists in fields like sociology, anthropology, and psychology have long since conceded that to some degree the cultural traits of a given society shape that society's views of God(s). Even when they are unwilling to admit that God is entirely a construction the admit that a great deal of projection goes into the concept. it also isn't a recently reached consensus. This understanding was establish before Merritt was even born.

I do understand that for Merritt the topic came up largely due to his interest in interviewing Matt Turner about his latest book that has this aspect of God as it's subject. He still selected Turner. He also does little to probe the author in any meaningful way. The interview doesn't come close to any new or even vaguely interesting insights. It seems designed more to make both men feel good about themselves. It is mostly unearned self-adulation. This topic has been written about repeatedly and in many instances with far greater depth.

If anyone is interested in the "American God" Froese and Bader's America's Four Gods is a much better choice. It is well researched and researched. It provides more insight and depth into this area theological study.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


"Don't let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them."
Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Idiot

Another pseudo-scandal?

To be honest I know very little about the details of Kendra Turner's expulsion. However, given the track record of such incidences it is relatively safe to assume that the media has once again fucked-up the story. I seriously doubt she was expelled for just saying "bless you" after a classmate sneezed. Considering how most of these stories play out I'd be willing to bet that either she has a track record of interrupting and causing disturbances in class that led to the teacher's actions or she has a record of attempting to proselytize during school. In the end the details once they finally come out won't really matter since the religious right will latch on to their preferred version of the story either way.

"Student Says She Was Punished At School For Saying 'Bless You'"