halialkers: J. Edgar Hoover, right profile view. Receding hair line, short nose, beady eyes (Agati)
Homo sapiens seldom reflect on the degree to which chance affects the history of the species. Humans often don't reflect that when our ancestors speciated from the chimpanzees that the process does not have to be neat or clean to satisfy modern times and our demands for such. Nature is a red-handed harridan with a temper problem. The first steps on the road to Man as commonly seen were not steps at all, humans represent a specific mutation of the ancestral ape, one which as per my Christian beliefs and the general attitude of God in the Bible prevailed over its stronger and more intelligent cousins despite its weaker and inferior nature.

Humans are no more the inevitable result from the ancestral human-chimp ape (my Christianity notwithstanding) in a pure sense than the tuatara alone of the sphenodonts surviving would be. Indeed, the survival of Man at present poses such problems that I am content to see the hand of the Biblical God, who favored the younger shifty Jacob over his older brother Esau and has a record of His supporting the weak and the underdog in it. And the Biblical God is a figure of violent brutal wrath, and well, I hardly need to recount the savagery of His Image, now do I? But the Biblical God is also love, and well, I hardly need to recount the love of His Image, now do I? 

God is Absolute Perfection, where Man lives in a world of horrors both natural and of Man's own creation. Yet the God of both the Tanach and the New Testament shows love and wrathfulness, and Man is the Imago Dei and too has love and savagery. Yet thin, gracile Man surviving in a world of gigantic animals such as the American Lion or the Irish Elk which would be a challenge to the Westerners of today presents both irony and paradox. The evidence clearly points to the ancestral animal to the modern human and the modern common and pygmy chimpanzees as one and the same, and it also points to only two surviving species of chimpanzee and one surviving Man-like creature. And that the ancestral genus Homo were simply a particular specialization of the apes into full-fledged terrestrial bipedalism. Yet a single member of the genus, its sole surviving representative, managed to expand itself globally because God in that manner He so loves chose the weakest and thinnest of them to survive into the modern age.

Hence to me, Creation and Evolution do not have to be contradictory. The animals over 4.5 billion years eventually gave rise to the apes and thence to Man, and God chose Man for His own design, which I need not question. The really infuriating thing is when other people of mine own religion make outright denial of the genetic, fossil, and modern-day resemblance of Man and the Apes (recognized even by Carolus Linneaus who named the chimpanzee Homo sylvestris and by the tribes of Indonesia, who call the Orangutan "Forest-Man") integral components of the Faith, the Trinity (along with banning gays and outlawing abortion) around which the Faith revolves not such weighty issues as how to define the Trinity in the modern globalized age when knowledge of other Triads is clear and certain and how to make the Church which has stood for 2,000 years and its Tradition an aspect of the modern world yet still the Church. >.> This is one reason I am disgusted with American Christianity, they cannot even see the parallels in the science with the actions of the God of the Bible as they zealously defend Him from assaults of their own imagining. >.>
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My only comment is that these Anglicans will no longer be Catholics, the Lite version, but instead will be Catholics, the Rite version.

And upun that note I beg your leaf.

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The modern Right is more puritan than the Puritans.

I doubt many modern fathers, for instance, would tolerate bundling.

So that makes the likes of the Purity Movement more Puritan than old Cotton Mather. O.o. Now that's something. O.o
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The Bible is by no means really that female-friendly in a modern context. Guess what the oldest portion of the Bible in terms of its Hebrew content is? The Song of Deborah, written in Archaic Hebrew, instead of the more general Hebrew used to write most of the rest of the Tanach. That's right....the oldest document in the Abrahamic religious context was written about a Jewish Boudicca figure that was a wee bit more successful than Queen Boudicca.

Ah, history....you do throw the screwballs at us...
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On occasion, I like to quiz my friends who obsess on certain topics. If I go into a literary major crowd and hold the door open for everybody, I say "Enter freely and of your own will." So....keep in mind that I don't just pick on the "Bible-Reading Bible-Believing" crowd here.

I attend a SoBap Church, where many people claim to both have read the Bible and know everything in it. So....my little tripper-upper is that when they ask me what I've been doing I say "I've been going to and fro the Earth and up and down in it."

Only one person has gotten that so far, and that person doesn't even attend the Church. I've yet to spring it on the pastor, but I'm shooting for that this Sunday.

What makes it really humorous is that those who say loudest "I read the Bible every single day," almost never recognize the quote. *feral grin.*
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One of my ancestors was this man: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_of_Guise. The reason I have him on this list was that he helped orchestrate the St. Bartholomew's Square Massacre. Effectively, one of my ancestors was guilty of orchestrating a crime analoguous to genocide, and that is one of my real problems with having such people like that in my family tree. I'd list my ancestors that fought in the Crusade, but none of them were generals, so....*wan smile.*

This man was responsible for the death of thousands of French Protestants for no greater a crime than their disagreement with their Catholic Brethren over who was and wasn't a proper Christian. And as God says "I YHVH am a Jealous God, avenging the sins of the fathers unto the sons unto the third and fourth generation...."

And yes, I know that three and four generations have already passed, thank you.
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Related to my two saw horses of religion: Christianity and Islam, with a couple of things on Hinduism as a bonus:

In the case of Islam 1) it is not in decline. It is currently the religion practiced by 1 billion people. 2) The Middle East would be just as bad-off under majority-Christian rule as under majority-Muslim. Perhaps worse, because then the Crusades would have been intra-Christian wars of heresy. 3) Islam is egalitarian, lacks a clergy class, and is extremely rational and free of superstition.

In the case of Christianity: Going by denomination: Orthodox: 1) They are not a poor man's Catholicism, they are a separate sect with much to salve the disaffection of the current West, and unlike the Neopagans actually have had the benefit of governing a few societies. 2) The Orthodox Church is very much a beacon of Traditional Thought, and missionizing places like Russia and Greece is disturbing on so many levels.

Catholic: 1) Having to rebuild civilization because the secular, economic, and political authorities disentegrated under their own rotten weight is a difficult thing to do. 2) Having to do this when pagan Magyars and Germans and Huns and Muslim Arabs are invading you every time you start to get on your feet is somewhat harder. 3) In a religion of Creed that is the state, theology is politics and politics is theology.

Protestants: 1) It's an ad hoc term that describes distinct sects with no real natural unity. 2) Have as long a history of persecution and intolerance as they've been around. 3) Protestant societies are less gay-tolerant than Catholic and Muslim societies. Don't look at me like that, it's true. 4) Just because a doctrine is wealthy does not make it correct.

Non-Abrahamic/Hinduism: 1) This is modern-day paganism. If it's Zeus you want to worship, Indra beckons you. If Aphrodite, Shakti. Paganism isn't dead, it developed its own unique monotheism and theology. 2) This has Fundies, too, folks, and its own version of fascism, to boot. And 3) Hindus are everywhere. They aren't just in India.

Thank you, and good night.
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Defenders of Sola Scriptura defend the Scriptures as unalterable. Yet Martin Luther attempts to tear the Epistle of St. James out of the Bible entirely, and the Deuterocanonicals were retained in the King James Version until the 19th Century. Does Sola Scriptura mean "I decide what's Sola and what's Not-So-Scriptura?"

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As I said on a Christianity community, whoever had the bright idea to spread the Gospel to this particular Asian should be shot in both knees, strung up, and disemboweled before being strung up, and a sign hung around his neck that says "The Road To Hell Is Paved In Good Intentions."


^The man in that link was witnessed to by a missionary inspired by a Presbyterian. He had been having visions of a figure that told him to slay "evil devils." Upon learning of the concept of God the Son, he considered himself God's Chinese Son. He received most of his Christian information from our Bio-Denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (Liang Fa only spurred his interest). Having learned of the Christian religion, he proceeded to start a millenarian war that murdered 25 million Chinese. This is Mao Zedong under Christian ideals, and Mao even admitted as much.

That's right. Missionary talks to one dude, who promptly proceeds to spark a civil war at the same time as our own and kills 25 million people for Jesus. Much as I believe in spreading the Gospel, there are some for whom it is not intended. This guy was one of them. And the nightmarish part I could see is if he attempted to Maoize China a century earlier, he would have been acclaimed a hero of the Faith by the Christian powers of the era for having brought true religion in place of paganism.

Since Hitler and the Nazis and Tojo Hideki and Imperial Japan came along and succeeded him. he's been forgotten. And yes, this is the second Chinese person in a row. The next individual's going to come from somewhere different.
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If the Earth were created 6,000 years ago: humans would be hardly even to the outer reaches of Europe yet, let alone Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. The human groups steadily expanding would be various small principalities pursuing a Hellenistic form of imperialism. Most languages would be derived from the language categories of the Hebrew tribes: namely, Hittites and other non-Semitic peoples would be Hamite-speaking, Japhethite would still be spoken, and Semite would be spoken in other parts of the world. The human race would also be able to make by means of prayer clear demonstration that a specific people's God is the only entity and this would be obvious to all so that none are without excuse. A person would be able to pray to wet wood to set it on fire and on fire would it be set.

Earth as a whole: multiple ecosystems co-exist, and the megafauna are spreading throughout the world, also. Much of the planet is empty except for plant life and insects needed to sustain it. Animals are spreading around and monsters in the sea will prohibit spreading onto even Mediterranean islands due to their sheer horrific size and power.

Universe and Solar System: The system would revolve around the Earth and the sky would be supported by pillars. It would also be a much smaller and dimmer sky with living stars, not big-ass balls of gas stars.

Is that our world?
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It appears historical revisionism is no longer a Neo-Nazi aspect of ideas. That Stalin was an atheist does not make all atheists bad. Instead it says that atheism is like any other opinion, it can be perverted into a dark corner of existence.

But if anyone wishes to explain how Stalin was a theist, then please tell me what kind of religious person would kill Christian priests, Buddhist monks, Islamic Imams, and pagan leaders with little or no thought as to who or why he was killing them except that they held to the opiate of the masses? Surely if he was a theist, he'dve picked one of them to spare, right? *eyebrow raise.* That the USSR spared no religion from horrors done in the name of atheism should be a damn big indicator that to call the Stalinist Soviet Union anything smacking of a religious society is a FUCKING LIE. Stalin himself commented on how he had become an atheist and a Marxist and disputed with the believers. Now...if you really wish to discredit the atheism-is-bad-because-Stalin-did-X, it should be noted that Hitler was a nominal Catholic until the day he committed suicide. Either way, Stalin was an atheist. So were Mao and Pol Pot.

To claim they weren't is Irviningism in a dangerous form.
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Compare these two religions:

Both Judaism and Islam have Semitic languages as their liturgical languages (Hebrew and Arabic.) Both encompass radically different cultures (the Lemba, Sephardim, and Ashkenazim in the case of Judaism, and groups everywhere from the Javanese to the Bedouin to the Somalis for Islam). Both have a religious basis around right-action, or Orthopraxy, and both have an attitude of libertarianism in regards to the religious worlds they inhabit. Both Islam and Judaism have a religious law, the Halacha in the case of Judaism, and the Shariah in the case of Islam. And both have commentaries on their respective texts, the Talmud and Mishnah in the case of Judaism, and the Sunnah and Ahadith in the case of Islam. In terms of the respective ways and means of life, the 1 billion, 13 million souls that practice Islam and Judaism are far closer than any other group of related religions. And Christianity is the statistical outlier to both of these religions.

Curious, eh?

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And yet I have some things I think should be mentioned when this topic arises:

1) The nature and kind of separation required to be fair across the board is drastically different depending on the religion involved. Different procedures are required to ensure that top-down religions like the Apostolic wing of Christianity and Brahmanistic Hinduism get treated equally fairly as religions like Islam or most of Protestantism where any damn fool can do what he pleases.

2) Religion and science should be kept separately. Evolution is not a tool of the devil, nor is religion itself a spawn of evil designed to keep the human race down.

3) Religious fundamentalism is harmful to liberal democracy. Period. Dictatorships have great freedom to deal with it, just compare the number of terrorists in Iraq before 2003 to after it. Or compare the repeated domestic terror incidents from both the Right and the Left in the USA to the pittance that happened in the USSR.

4) The Quran has it right "Let there be no compulsion in religion," and lest I hesitate to add, the irreligious are not fair game to convert just because they happen to disregard gods or a god. If you want to convert, fine. If not, that's fine, too. The desire or its lack does not give atheists the right to create Gulags and Tuol Slengs, or believers the right to create Inquisitions.
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An image of Muhammad...

done by Shia Muslims in the time of Tamerlane.

Yes. Muslims made this.

Any wannabe Jihadist comes after me, fuck 'em. Twas their ancestors that made this.


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