Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Born Again

I saw a section on CNN about famous people who were 'born again'. I didn't care since I hardly knew who any of these 'famous' people were but it did start me thinking about the concept of 'born again'.

Here are some ways that being 'born again' changes a person (on Wiki). Of course it's different for different types of people of which apparently there are only 3.

  • Its effects vary with the type of person involved:
  • rebirth is expressed in a new alignment of the will
  • to the breakthrough of a "vision"
  • With others it leads to the discovery of an unexpected beauty in the order of nature
  • they develop a direct and personal relationship with God.
Notice the abiguity of all of this? The last one is the one you hear so often but what does it mean? I'll state right now that I myself have a direct and personal relationship with God. Prove that I don't.

To be born again you apparently don't have to do anything. It just happens to you and then you too can be a prosylitizing asshole! No school. No orals (well except for the Catholics). No tests of any kind. How smarmy. "I'm born again". Now you must gaze upon me differently. You see me on a different plane from you don't you?

Try going to a major university and say, "I'm a physicist because I thought about it real hard and hoped I could be one and now I am one. Where's my office? Do I get a window?

Not Going To Fly.

That brings me to the fourth one on the list - discovering the unexpected beauty in nature. Unexpected? I can tell you that my study of physics has led to some unexpected levels of appreciation of nature. Take the rainbow for example. Is it not MORE beautiful to me in that like anyone else observing the rainbow I get all the color and symmetry that it presents plus I get to see a demonstration of some properties of nature that I'm familiar with. I know 'why' the colors are in the order they are in. I know why there are colors there in the first place. I know why the rainbow forms an arc that is 42 degrees around my shadow. I love seeing all this at once. I love seeing that there is a mechanism and reason behind the phenomena of the universe. To me this is MORE beauty and a fuller appreciation than the throw away phrase, "God made it".

And, in the case of the rainbow 'God made it' as a promise to not go on a planet wide killing spree again. I'll take my explanation (and it's verifiable by independent observers) over a promise from a serial killer any day.

So to say you're born again or to say you or somebody is a very spiritual person might just be a way to get some mojo for yourself without really doing anything. Look at Tim Tebow (look quick though as he is quickly moving WAY off the radar). Big guy, somewhat coordinated, can't play in the NFL. AT ALL. But with his none to subtle proselytizing he became . . . what? A lightning rod for others who can't do things so well but who also wear their spirituality on their sleeves. A behavior that takes absolutely no skill.

People say they like church because they like the community that it provides. But at what cost? This might be considered a community of people who are so insecure about their own abilities that they have to join a club of others whose only skill is to say they are born again and they love the baby Jesus. The community supports this view and by everyone agreeing with everyone gives the impression that they really got something there when in fact all they have is vapor. Vapor that is dispersed (vaporized?) at the slightest reasonable question. 

Well, I guess I'll have to be satisfied by just being born once. I'm pretty sure once was enough for my mom!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Cherry Picking

“God’s word explicitly says homosexuality is a choice, a sin,” said Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge in Jacksonville, Arkansas. (CNN)

This in from an article about the southern baptist (southern letting you know that they are even stupider than normal babtists) church kicking the boy scouts out now that they have 'the gay'. The issue I want to discuss though is how these bigots  cherry pick a phrase from the bible to use for their own hatred. I think you have to use them all then right? If the bible is the word of god and needs no interpretation well then let's have at it!

How about the role and treatment of women?

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Whoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death. He that sacrificeth unto any god, save to the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed." (Exodus 22:18-20)


When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.  If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.  If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.  (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

Evolution? OK, don't even get me started! 

How about Murder?

Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death.  Such evil must be purged from Israel.  (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

The point is that on one hand you claim to have a document that is true and perfect by definition because it somehow came from the creator. On the other hand you find some really horrible things in there. How do you pick ONE and not apply the others? Try cutting off a woman's hand for helping her husband and see how that flies in court!