Tuesday, April 19, 2005

All Hail Eggs Benedict the 16th!

The world has a new Pope whether it wants one or not. He is the guy who blamed the media for the sex abuse scandal. Fascinating logic.

As an atheist/agnostic/anything-Ratzinger-is-not I could not be happier that the Cardinals ignored both the third world by not choosing one of them and the West by choosing an old German codger from the Spanish Inquisition (we were all expecting that weren't we?). This will further undermine the legitimacy of organized religion in the eyes of many westerners. The only better Pope from an Atheists point of view would have been Cardinal Law himself; an act which would have resulted in the sudden and complete death of Catholicism in the West.

We are told not to label this new Pope as a conservative. He was only following orders from JPII. Give him a chance they say. Look at his warm pastoral side.

I would rather see a logical and open minded side; a side that does not accuse all who disagree with Papal dogma as "relativists".

Well, two cheers for Benedict the XI... the XIVIV... the XVI... the 16th! Damn those Romans and their stupid numerals!


At Wed. Apr. 20, 02:54:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Robert said...

Since I'm such a lazy bastard, I'm gonna recycle one of my comments that I graced another blog with earlier. Why bother, you ask?...because it’s that damn good, naturally.

Benedict XVI will likely serve Catholics well. However, scrutiny of Catholic dogma/doctrine and its myriad adjustments over time reveals that it is nothing more than an international organization that uses the Bible as mascot. That is, an objective analysis of what the Bible actually teaches (whether it’s taken as truth or not) versus Catholic theology reveals major conflicts. Martin Luther’s and John Calvin’s critiques and the subsequent Protestant Reformation, for example, demonstrated irreconcilable differences between Scripture and Catholic teaching.
Also, the 500+ years of Protestant theology has shown that they are not immune from developing traditions that alter the original interpretation of the Bible. The bottom line with most, if not all of the bureaucratic mega-religions is that the desire to manipulate drooling masses of adherents is commensurate with the desire of those masses to be led.

At Thu. Apr. 21, 12:42:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

You're right. And recycling comments is no problem. Since I can't read more than 20% of the Internet in a day I probably didn't see it the first time.

If you go back to the early institutionalization of the Christian church; the decisions of doctrine and custom; you find that the church which the Roman empire adopted had some very different beliefs than the very early Christian communities. But then they themselves were were far from unanimous in their beliefs with Gnostics, "divine Jesus" groups, "non-divine Jesus" groups, "resurrection as spirit" groups, "resurrection as flesh" groups no resurrection groups, etc. There were even likely some Christians who saw the entire story of Jesus' life as a work of fiction to inspire holiness and teach righteousness, much like the Roman historian Livy did when he compiled the history of Rome. "It is not all true he said, (paraphrasing) but it is good enough to be true because it will inspire young Romans to achieve... it ought to be true."

Unfortunately for these other Christians, one group won the numbers to comfortably decide that the others were heretics. That was pretty much it for them. It was the winners and their successors who made the decision about which books would be considered part of the Bible. Christians have ever since relied on faith and trust that the Holy Spirit helped the "right Christians" win and that the "right books" got into the Bible. It is funny that they give the devil so much credit for leading other religions astray and yet are unwilling to entertain that this same fellow could have tricked their ancestors.

(Later of course we would see some competing versions edited and translated. Sixty six books? Seventy two? Do you choose the one with more books for the buck or the more efficient one? Many people rely on faith but if that works why do some people end up having faith in one and some in the other? Not to mention faithful Mormons and Moslums. But then we covered that in a different discussion so there is little point in rehashing my views. UMMMM! Hash!)

One of the big distractions for what would later be called the Roman Catholic church was that various Popes were enamored with the Egyptian civilization and their sun worship imagry. (The egyptians had a brief flirt with monotheism in which the sun god became the one and only, which for a the newly monotheist culture of Rome, no doubt added to the Egyptian mistique) This is the reason there is a big-ass Egyptian obelisk in the center of the Pope's patio. I suspect their is a secret barbeque in it that opens up when you say "Opus Dei!"

I agree that the none of the organized religions, even the literalists have much of a claim to being Biblical. Most Christians see the Gospels as a pleasant little prelude to quote from to impress the newbies while taking their entire religious dogma from Paul's writings about how much he hated his lustful urges. (No issues there! cough--{gay}--cough)

It is quite something to separate these works; Paul's and the Gospel authors' writings and think about how different Christianity would have been without Paul. But then, he was the one that made it acceptable to a gentile audience. It might be cynical of me but it looks like Paul is the world's first image consultant.

"Dudes, Disciples, you know I love you guys but this circumcision thing is not going to fly with the Roman demographic. And the pork prohibition won't play in Peoria! Trust me! J.C. and I had a chat. We did lunch at a little place on the road to Damascuss. I've got to take you guys there! Anyway, he is totally down with the changes I made. Not changes really just tweaks. Hey! Bubulas have I ever lied to you guys?"

I recently read that one of the American founding fathers; I can't remember which one; was of the belief that Paul ruined Christianity. He even published his own version of the New Testament that had those writings which were attributed to Paul removed. It must have been a lot easier to carry around. Unfortunately for him it never caught on. Imagine what Tom DeLay and Pat Robertson and the rest would do if someone tried to pull that today. If time Machines were possible they would go back in time and kick his ass. Maybe it is better that I don't remember which one it was, for his temporal safety.

But then as a scriptural skeptic, the idea that so many denomination are unable to agree on what constitutes living by the Bible is not too worrying to me. In fact, as long as they are pointing fingers at each other they are unable to point any at me for not even trying to be in accordance with the Bible.

At Thu. Apr. 21, 03:49:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Robert said...

You are so bad…and hilarious.

You seem to be more knowledgeable about “church history” than most atheists. I wonder if you have had a poor previous experience with religionists, as I have, or did you just merely satisfy your curiosity?

Also, do you equate the post-Christ/pre-Rome believers with the Roman Catholic cabal that usurped their texts in the 4th Century? And just one more, did you read a book by an Episcopal Priest that suggests that Paul was a closet queen?

At Thu. Apr. 21, 10:04:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

Actually I was raised in a very moderate but sincere religious environment. No ministers asking me to play "pull the bell rope", no forced full-immersing Baptism while I ran out of air, no exorcism. I just sort of moved to a nonreligious view point over a period between puberty and university. Even as a little kid I would think about the things I was being told and pondering their consequences. "What was God doing before creating time?" "What is it like for God to exist if there is no time?" stuff like that.

It was only after I began to adopt a non religious point of view that I began to look at how strange some of the beliefs of the world were. I became interested in how people's beliefs differed and most importantly, what some of the moderate religious and skeptics said to challenge the positions of the highly excitable faiths. I especially became interested in how society came to be the way it is which is why I did some looking in to the history and beliefs of Christianity, Islam (more the beliefs than the history) and other major historical trends.

I would say that I am more of a non theist and I remain agnostic on Deism but the atheist position is also the justification for agnosticism.

I would doubt that the early Christians were much like the later "early church" just as the early church is different from the middle ages church, the renaissance church the modern church etc. But then it is hard to know what the first group(s) were all about given that they don't get around much anymore.

I have heard that fellow's theory, I never read his book but while I am sure he makes a lot of plausible points it is a bit too common to ascribe homosexuality retroactively to historical figures. It could just be that Paul was a totally straight but completely horny babe-hound who felt guilty about it. Knowing that the theory is out there though, makes it fun to throw out every once in a while and see if anyone freaks out.

"PAUL!?!?! A GAYLORD!?!?! Why that's BLASPHEMOUS!!!!"

I can't believe I just used the slur "Gaylord"-ha! Boy that takes me back to the seventies. Maybe I should have used the word "Poofta" like those 18th century Brits used to do.

"I say Watson you don't mean to say that St. Paul was... a poofta, do you, wot?!?!"

At Thu. Apr. 21, 11:46:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Robert said...

You just won't do, as "those" southerners are fond of saying. Now that my laughter has subsided, skepticism seemed to creep in with puberty for me as well (an obvious sign of intelligence, he says in all humility). Late 80’s Punk was the outlet I chose to rebel against my Christian parents…they were not pleased. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t change a minute.

By the way, Enlightened Caveman currently has a post that suggests that Elvis Pressley was, in fact, a “pole smoker”. It’s a riot!

At Wed. Apr. 27, 10:50:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

I suppose that the fact that he started dressing like Liberace would not have help him look straight. Not to perpetuate stereotypes or anything but how many heterosexuals wear glittery jump-suits? Former sweat-hogs and Scientology followers not withstanding.


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