Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
I don't follow professional sports. I sure as hell don't follow golf. I could really not care less about Tiger Woods, who he sleeps with, or whether his wife beat him up when she found out who he sleeps with.
I don't follow FOX News, or any of the talking-head shows on TV. What idiotic thing one of them says usually goes right past me without me paying the slightest notice - I expect *everything* that they say to be idiotic.
I really, really don't give a shit what particular flavor of religion any of these people follow - I figure most of them only choose one that they figure will help best with their careers, and flog that publicly in order to manipulate the rubes. That goes for sports figures who credit Jesus for that touchdown, news anchors who credit prayer with their cancer going into remission, all of it. It's just an act, unless they are actually even more stupid than I think.
But sometimes, one of these numbskulls will do or say something that even gets my attention. Here's a good one:
STANBUL (Reuters) – What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists?
Turkish television station Kanal T hopes the answer is a ratings success as it prepares to launch a gameshow where spiritual guides from the four faiths will seek to convert a group of non-believers.
The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews and Tibet for Buddhists.
Hmm . . . no, I can't see where someone would lie about being either an atheist to begin with, or about their "conversion", just to get a free trip out of the deal (not to mention the fame from being on TV). Nope, can't see that happening at all.
HT to ML for the story.
Oh, this is good:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Zoo has received a complaint about Buddha statues in an Asian-themed area.
David Engle, of Overland Park, Kan., complained after visiting the zoo on Sunday. He said it's "phenomenal to me" that the zoo would put up two smiling statues of Buddha when "we can't have a cross or a nativity scene on public property."
Engle, who said he is Christian, called the statues idolatry and "infuriating to God."
Ed Halliwell on the Guardian's blog makes what I can only assume is an attempt at a kind of charming, I'm-okay-you're-okay détente between believers and atheists in an otherwise benign post about the Buddha's unwillingness to delve into the question of the existence of a supreme being.
I suppose that's all well and good, but in his admiration for the Buddha's disinterest, he woefully mischaracterizes the atheist position:
Part of what makes the argument [over God's existence] so comical is how the concept of "God" onto which atheists project is rarely the same as the one defended by believers.
Whatever images of God some atheists might like to invoke in heated antitheistic rhetoric, the God whose existence is denied is not limited to one or another caricature, but all gods, all supernatural beings, all unknowable, mystical, cosmic consciousnesses. So not only is the concept of God that is refuted the same as the one defended by believers, but every concept of God (that is not merely a shorthand metaphor for what actually is).
I've heard and seen much mockery focused on the Tom Cruise Scientology video over the past couple of days. (I apologize if that link no longer works, but the video has been on and off the net and that's the best link I can find at the time of this article.) The truth is, while I believe that atheists (especially agnostic atheists), in general, have a leg to stand on in this case, I don't think the rest of the godders, or innumerable other groups, do. Let's look at a few things that Cruise says.
Tom Cruise: ...I think it’s a privilege to call yourself a Scientologist, and it’s something that you have to earn because a Scientologist does... has the ability to create new and better realities and improve conditions. Being a Scientologist, you look at someone and know absolutely that you can help them.
"But that’s what drives me... I know that we have an opportunity to really help... effectively change people’s lives and I am dedicated to that. I am absolutely, uncompromisingly dedicated to that.
Replace the words “Scientologist” with the words Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Nazi, Feminist, Vegan, vegetarian, socialist, communist, capitalist, geek, Sikh, or even self help guru and you'll see what I mean. This statement, minus the maniacal laughter, could have come from any of the groups I listed and a whole lot more. Let's move on to the next set; shall we?
more below the fold
Ah, so a has-been pop musician from the 60's is going to open up a new "meditation-based college" and solve all his country's problems. From the AP story:
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Donovan, famous for '60s pop hits such as "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "Mellow Yellow," has announced plans to open the Invincible Donovan University, where students will adhere to the principles of transcendental meditation.
"I know it sounds like an airy-fairy hippie dream to go on about '60s peace and love," said the 61-year-old singer, who was born Donovan Leitch in the Maryhill area of Glasgow. "But the world is ready for this now, it is clear this is the time."
According to the news report, he's hooked up with David Lynch to build this school. Why?
It would seem that the bureaucracy is winning out over theocracy over in China. I must admit that they have a novel approach.
Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people.
That's right. There will be absolutely no reincarnating without a permit.
For three years the priests would eat a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds, while taking part in a regimen of rigorous physical activity that stripped them of their body fat. They then ate only bark and roots for another three years and began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, which contains Urushiol (same stuff that makes poison ivy), normally used to lacquer bowls. This caused vomiting and a rapid loss of bodily fluids. Finally, a self-mummifying monk would lock himself in a stone tomb barely larger than his body, where he would not move from the lotus position. His only connection to the outside world was an air tube and a bell. Each day he rang a bell to let those outside know that he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb sealed.
If anyone is interested, I regularly post on another blog called anklebiingpundits.com. These folks are a bunch of righ-wing christianists who are absolutely insane and a lot of fun to mess with. I go by the name Rich_White just to fuck with their heads. Todays topic was: Rebranding the GOP.
If you don't want to read the whole thing, my comments are #2, #14, #55 and #63.