Read the bible backwards – it’s epic!

18 Sep

Yes, that most unholy and abhorrent of all works of fiction, the bible, actually does make for a decent story – but only if approached from the proper perspective.  And that perspective, it turns out, is from back to front.

Here’s just a few highlights:

Jesus

God decides he wants to get rid of his son, so he sends him to Earth, cut and bruised, where some blokes nail his corpse to a cross to recover. Luckily for Jesus though, some kind and helpful Romans are around to help him get down, remove the crown of thorns from his head and clean up his wounds.

Jesus soon develops a reputation for being a bit of a bastard. At one point, he walks up to this guy minding his own business and deliberately pokes his eyes out. Another time he goes up to some random bloke just happily strolling along and cripples him.

Soon he comes across a huge open-air picnic where thousands of people are having a lovely feast of fish sandwiches, more than enough to go around. Being the twat that he’s become, Jesus steals all the food and leaves everyone with fuck all to eat.

Later he ruins a wedding by confiscating all the wine and replacing it with water.

He goes about like this, randomly maiming people he happens to meet, before going into hiding. Presumably he’s realised how many enemies he’s made.

The next time anybody sees him he has apparently developed a severe case of Anageria, causing him to grow smaller and younger. On his birthday, as he lies there on his death bed in some smelly little manger, with his parents apparently happy to see him go, three blokes on camels turn up unannounced and nick all his presents.

Exodus

A man named Moses decides to round up a nation of kind and happy Jews and tells them he wants to take them on a journey. They all leave their Promised Land of Milk and Honey and set out across the burning desert, where they spend the next forty years wandering around aimlessly.

There’s a little vignette about the Jews giving up worship of a Golden Calf and Moses giving a set of commandment to God, but on the whole it’s pretty unremarkable until they eventually reach Egypt.

After chasing the Egyptian army out of the Red Sea, Moses makes a deal with the local Pharaoh and sells his entire people into slavery.

Genesis

A lovely young couple named Adam and Eve, who seem to be made for each other, are very sad; so God decides to allow them to play in his garden. Adam all of a sudden regurgitates bits of an apple, followed by Eve.

God gets unaccountably angry and starts smashing things. He kills Eve, chops her up and shoves the bits into Adam’s body. Shortly afterwards, he kills Adam, grinds him into dust and sprinkles him over the ground.

Then, clearly on a psychotic rampage, he wipes out all life on Earth, then vaporises the Earth itself. Over the course of the next few days, God destroys the entire Universe.

And the real beauty of all this is it makes just as much sense as the boring conventional method of reading it, if not far more!

Behold the birds of the air

23 Nov

The wisdom of animals…

There is a church in the Swedish city of Gävle, north of Stockholm, at which a hatch in the tower has been left open since the 1980s. Over the decades of exposure to the elements, it has left the church exposed to other things as well. Generations of pigeons have taken the opportunity to express their opinion of the building and what it stands for. Two tons of opinion.

The church’s property manager says the layer of droppings was 30 centimeters (12 inches) deep when it was discovered during a May inspection of the Heliga Trefaldighets Kyrka

[. . .]

Lennart Helzenius said on Thursday that church staff had been shocked by the sheer number of bags of excrement cleaners were removing from the tower. He says the droppings filled 80 bags in the first round of cleaning, and then just as many in the second round.

I can’t help wondering how much birdshit they found as well. Nor can I help picturing the birds organising the avian equivalent of coach trips to give ‘tourist’ pigeons the golden opportunity to make a huge steaming statement on the supposed Biblical supremacy, not to mention wilful delusions, of those funny monkeys.

If nothing else, I smell a gritty Hitchcock reboot.

The chances of anything coming from Mars (you know the rest)

21 Nov

Something is stirring on Mars.

NASA’s Curiosity rover, in situ since the start of August, has apparently disturbed something previously unknown.

The onboard suite of detection and analysis instruments, called Sample Analysis at Mars – SAM – whilst investigating soil samples, is reported to have made a discovery of such significance, it’s got scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena very excited. Few, perhaps, more so than the rover mission’s principal investigator John Grotzinger, who described the discovery as “one for the history books”…

So what could it be?

Teasingly, frustratingly, NASA are remaining tight-lipped for at least the next few weeks. However, the fact that this announcement has been made in advance is a good sign that they are pretty damn confident about whatever it does turn out to be.

I can’t help noticing, though, that this is cutting very close to the Mayan end of the world™ thing that’s coming up.

Space science. It’s not rocket surgery.

Wonder what Nostradamus had to say about this?

20 Nov

Atheist bloggers and forum owners are breathing a sigh of relief right now at the news that serial cyberstalker Dennis Markuze – AKA David Mabus – the seriously disturbed troll from Montréal with the obsession for Depeche Mode and Nostradamus (hence the dubious “Mabus” thing – DM, see?) has been arrested for the second time. He was first picked up last August and given a thirty-day psychological evaluation plus an eighteen month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to sixteen counts of criminal harrassment, though it took a five-thousand-signature-strong petition before the Montréal Police actually took the case seriously. Part of his sentence stipulated that he must stay well away from internet discussions and fora, which he did – for two months or so. Then it was business as usual.

He is infamous for spamming atheist blogs, message boards, fora and email inboxes with incoherent rants, obscene death threats and (perhaps most worryingly) random Depeche Mode videos and pictures of a Henry Hoover, all sprinkled liberally with triumphant crowing about how Nostradamus beat the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge. By “spamming” I don’t mean simply posting the same thing over and over; that’s amateur stuff. No, what set this guy apart, other than the Norman Bates ranting, was the sheer volume of his output. At the height of his career – a word chosen deliberately, as he was clearly out of control – Markuze must have spent literally hundreds of hours doing nothing else but venting his vitriolic vomit on the internet. Even automated spambots need a break now and then… well, okay, no they don’t, but it still takes nothing away from the fact that this is not normal behaviour. Particularly when he escalated from posting online death threats to showing up in person to atheist events, most notably when biology professor and outspoken atheist blogger PZ Myers, whom Markuze has been targetting for almost twenty years, attended the 2010 AAI Conference in Montréal. Luckily all he did on that occasion was make gun-fingers at the lady who papped him with her camera and then bugger off. It might have been a different story.

Many bloggers and forum users got seriously worried for the state of his health, especially his mental health, which is where the petition came in. Clearly he wasn’t going to seek help of his own volition, so the authorities were eventually persuaded to step in. Good thing too, since his psych evaluation diagnosed “bipolar disorder, compounded by alcohol and substance abuse”, which won him a spell in rehab.

Bets are now being taken on how long it’ll be before before he breaks his court order again.

PS – It’s become something of a tradition that, just like the famous Drury Lane Theatre’s “Man in Grey” whose materialisation guarantees a play’s success and longevity, so Markuze’s appearance is (or was) a sign that a blog or forum has made it, puts it on the map as it were, become something worth bothering about. Wonder what would happen if I said his name three times in front of a mirror..?

Canon fired

19 Nov

Ok, misleading title but I simply couldn’t resist. Ronald Johns

who looks like this, kids

is actually already the ex-canon of Carlisle Cathedral in Cumbria and he’s just been jailed – for four years! – for child molestation offences going back some thirty years.

Naturally, once the Church officials found out about this turbulent priest, they lost no time in alerting the police.

No, of course not. His bishop moved him to another parish and fresh victims. How far away? About half an hour down the road:

The court was told Johns was demoted by his bishop instead of police being informed of the allegations made by his first victim.

The victim had made an official complaint to the church in 1993. By that time Johns was a canon at Carlisle Cathedral.

Johns made admissions to the then bishop, the late Right Rev Ian Harland, who felt the appropriate sanction was to move him to a church in Caldbeck.

The matter only came to the attention of police this year when another victim complained he had been abused by Johns.

So how has the Diocese of Carlisle responded to this? They’ve issued this notice in which they

apologise unreservedly to his victims that we failed to take the action that we should have taken to prevent children and young people being harmed. We also apologise to the parishioners at Caldbeck and recognise the profound and damaging impact on all those affected

and state that

even though at that time the complainants did not wish to pursue the matter with the Police, it was absolutely wrong that Mr Johns should have been offered another post.

Quite how they square this with

We will not tolerate abuse and work closely with the Police and Social Care if such issues come to our attention

they don’t say, but to their credit, they have set up a special NSPCC freephone number to offer such advice as can be trusted from a corrupt organisation that has demonstrated repeatedly just how trustworthy it is.

Don’t Panic!

8 Nov

So sad to hear of the loss of everyone’s favourite Grandad, the irreplaceable Clive Dunn OBE, at the ripe old age of 92. As an icon of British comedy whose remarkable gift for acting convinced the world that he was trapped in the body of an old man for most of his professional career, his loss leaves a hole in our collective psyche that will never be filled.

Now as we look back on a legacy spanning Will Hay to Dad’s Army and beyond, much of which is thankfully preserved forever, Jonesy has truly entered into the realms of fantasy.

Clive Dunn, OBE 1920-2012

The Final Countdown

21 May

Well, Judgement Day is officially upon us and the outlook so far is…

… pretty quiet, actually.

Sure, there are celebrations planned by godless heathens across America, but as I write this there seems to be little in the way of giant earthquakes, wailing and gnashing of teeth, screams of the damned and all the other signs we were promised. I appreciate the Hieronymus Bosch-style renderings of ravening demons and heavenly trumpets are the products of mediæval imaginings, but where are all the piles of clothing left behind by millions of raptured True Christians™ ? The airliners and cars careering out of control with nobody at the helm? I’d even settle for a message in the clouds reading “Game Over. Press START to play again.”

It’s not as if this is all some vague, shadowy portent of doom we’re talking about here. Harold Camping and his Family Radio Worldwide have gone on record as being absolutely certain. Phrases such as “Without a shadow of a doubt” and “There is no Plan B” don’t leave much room for manoeuvre.

Of course, when this is all over Camping and his cronies will probably be consigned to the ever-increasing ranks of False Prophets – thus, ironically, becoming a sign of the End Times themselves. It’s worth considering that false prophets are almost never labelled as such before their prophecies fail and the next prophet comes along.

It’s all rather sad, really.

Prophets without honour

29 Apr

Regarding my previous post about Harold Camping’s doomsday prophecy of May 21 2011 (“The Bible guarantees it!”), a deliciously ironic development has arisen.

Last Sunday, during The Atheist Experience’s Easter-themed “Zombie Apocalypse” show (available on their homepage for now; from their show archive as of next Monday), a caller who gave his name as Luca revealed that he had contacted Camping’s evangelical Family Radio Worldwide organisation to offer a donation of $10,000. However, there was a condition: if, on May 21, the world does not end, then on May 22 he will expect the money to be returned – plus 10% interest.

For some peculiar reason, they went off the idea at that point…

Carry On, Camping!

21 Apr

Meet Harold Camping:

That cheerful-looking gentleman is the president of a religious radio network based in California of which he is an evangelist mouthpiece. Perhaps it’s just me, but that picture makes him look like the sort of person for whom the word ‘camping’ would be le mot juste; but I digress.

This particular idiot character has been setting the internet buzzing for a while now with his End of the World™ prediction – and just for a change, it’s not December 21 2012. According to the prophet Harry, Judgement Day (AKA Armageddon, The Rapture) has been scheduled by Yaweh for May 21, 2011. That’s right; precisely one month away from this posting. It’s especially interesting because Family Radio claim to be a non-profit organisation (groan).

What? You want some proof, you say? You don’t think a real scientist (he has a B.S. in Civil Engineering) would make claims like that based purely on nothing, do you?

Well, yes as it happens. He’s applied a numerological system of his own invention to the xtian bible to come up with:

 By careful study of the Bible we learn that in the year 4990 B.C. (Before Christ) God brought a flood of water and destroyed the entire earth except for eight people and the animals that were with them. They were not destroyed because God brought them into the safety of the ark. Their leader, Noah, had obeyed God’s command to build a huge boat, called an ark, about 450 feet (137 meters) long.

The Holy Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:7:

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Seven days before the beginning of the Flood that completely covered the entire earth, God commanded Noah to warn the peoples of the world that they had seven days to get into the safety of the ark. The Holy Bible tells us that on the 17th day of the 2nd month of that year God shut the door of the ark. Then, the Flood began to completely cover the entire earth.

About 5,000 years later God wrote in His Holy Bible in 2 Peter Chapter 3 about this worldwide destruction by water in the days of Noah. In the same chapter He also warned that the time would come when Holy God would destroy the whole world by fire. Our entire universe would be forever destroyed. In between these two declarations of worldwide destruction that would come because of sin God made a very important statement. God declared in 2 Peter 3:8:

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

God had written in the Holy Bible in Genesis 7:4:

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

God added in Genesis 7:10-11:

And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the Flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

The ark that Noah had built was the only place of safety from the destruction of the Flood. Likewise, God’s gracious mercy is the only place of safety from the destruction that is coming on the Day of Judgment.

In 2 Peter 3:8, which is quoted above, Holy God reminds us that one day is as 1,000 years. Therefore, with the correct understanding that the seven days referred to in Genesis 7:4 can be understood as 7,000 years, we learn that when God told Noah there were seven days to escape worldwide destruction, He was also telling the world there would be exactly 7,000 years (one day is as 1,000 years) to escape the wrath of God that would come when He destroys the world on Judgment Day. Because Holy Infinite God is all-knowing, He knows the end from the beginning. He knew how sinful the world would become.

Seven thousand years after 4990 B.C. (the year of the Flood) is the year 2011 A.D. (our calendar).

4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7,000

[One year must be subtracted in going from an Old Testament B.C. calendar date to a New Testament A.D. calendar date because the calendar does not have a year zero.]

Thus Holy God is showing us by the words of 2 Peter 3:8 that He wants us to know that exactly 7,000 years after He destroyed the world with water in Noah’s day, He plans to destroy the entire world forever. Because the year 2011 A.D. is exactly 7,000 years after 4990 B.C. when the flood began, the Bible has given us absolute proof that the year 2011 is the end of the world during the Day of Judgment, which will come on the last day of the Day of Judgment.

Amazingly, May 21, 2011 is the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Biblical calendar of our day. Remember, the flood waters also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month, in the year 4990 B.C.

And that’s just a sample. The rest is here, if you really must.

To summarise:

  • The Great Flood happened in 4990 BC (I know – just roll with it, ok?)
  • Noah had 7 days to build, crew, load and sail The Ark;
  • “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years”;
  • 4990 BC + 7000 years = 2011 (you have to fudge around the Year 0 thing)

A couple of questions spring to mind, however. If “one day = a thousand years”, where do the forty days of The Flood fit in? They were supposed to take place after the seven days warning. Did the deluge last forty thousand years? And how much time did the forty nights represent? Then there’s all that stuff about knowing not the hour the Lord doth come, thus making prophecies of it pointless. By which I mean pointless for scriptural reasons, we all know the exercise is pointles for reality reasons.

Hmm. Fundy reasoning: now with 75% more self-contradiction.

And before the apologists start all the damage limitation and spin, let’s not forget that Camping previously said the world would end on September 6.

1994.

Vote of little confidence?

18 Apr

Had an interesting little leaflet about the upcoming “Alternative Voting” referendum pushed through the door today (lucky we had that letterbox put in or anything could have happened). Normally these things go straight in the bin, but I decided out of boredom to give this one five minutes. Now, I’d be lying if I said I knew anything about the proposed ‘new’ system, apart from it being Proportional Representation with a shiny bow attached, or that it would “make MPs work harder for [our] votes” – a phrase that instantly set off my Bullshit  Alarm. I’d also be lying if I said I cared.

This leaflet’s on behalf of the “No to AV” campaign, so it can hardly be described as a completely unbiased source. Nevertheless, it purports to set out in detail how PR – sorry, AV – would work (for best results, imagine the following being read out by Sir Humphrey Appleby):

You use numbers to rank the candidates in order of your preference. You put 1 next to your first choice, 2 next to your second choice, 3 next to your third choice and so on.

The number 1 votes for each candidate are put into a pile and counted. If a candidate receives more than half of the number 1 votes cast, they win and there is no further counting. If no candidate receives more than half the number 1 votes there would be at least one more round of counting. In round two, the candidate with the fewest number 1 votes is removed from the contest. If their supporters’ ballot papers show a number 2 vote for another candidate, they are added to that candidate’s pile. If the ballot paper does not show a number 2 vote, it is no longer used.

If no candidate reaches 50% after the redistribution of votes, the candidate with next fewest votes is removed from the contest, and their supporters’ ballots are looked at again to see if any of the remaining candidates are ranked. If so, the ballot papers are moved to the pile of the candidates ranked highest on each ballot paper. If none of the remaining candidates are ranked, the ballot paper is no longer used.

If more candidates are involved, this process can be repeated until one candidate has more than half the remaining votes.

What could be simpler?

Regardless of whether AV is really fairer than our current system, whether MPs really want us to tell them to work harder, and leaving aside the claim that only three other countries actually use the system (at least two of which apparently want to scrap it) – ignoring all of that, there is one tiny detail about the impending referendum which shines out like a beacon amidst the darkness, or a diamond in a cesspit.

We are to be given two options: “Yes” to change to AV, or “No” to keep the present system. The results of which would be counted and the one with the most votes wins.

You know – first past the post.

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