Category Archives: religion

Terrible beauty

“The Patrician took a sip of his beer. ‘I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect I never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the banks of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged onto a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining on mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built into the nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.’”

Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals

Twain speaking about the “damned human race”

“There has never been a just one, never an honorable one – on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful – as usual – will shout for the war. The pulpit will – warily and cautiously – object – at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, “It is unjust and dishonorable, and here is no necessity for it.” Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers – as earlier – but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation – pulpit and all – will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

– Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger

Wolves in sheep’s clothing

“There is a story, which is fairly well known, about when the missionaries came to Africa. They had the Bible and we, the natives, had the land. They said ‘Let us pray,’ and we dutifully shut our eyes. When we opened them, why, they now had the land and we had the Bible.”

– Desmond M. Tutu, “Religious Human Rights and the Bible.”


Obama held a rally here in little ol’ Roanoke on Friday. He is the first major-party presidential candidate since JFK in 1960 to visit Roanoke. So, Kathryn and I took the day off and waited in the cold, wet line with our friend Kelly to witness this historic event. Here is a video showing highlights of our day:

WARNING: The video shows an anti-abortion truck that was parked near the line. Plastered on all sides of the truck is a gruesome image of an aborted fetus, accompanied by the message “Abortion is an ObamaNation”. We’ve seen similar images and statements proudly held by protesters hanging out near the Planned Parenthood facility in town. I was hoping to see more protesters at the rally, but the best we got was two zealots holding signs with biblical quotes, and some McCain/Palin supporters dressed as Joe the Plumber, who we didn’t see but found out about later via CNN:

Despite the cold rain, everybody was in good spirits. When we got inside and Obama finally reached the stage, the crowd went wild. He spoke with his usual eloquence, hitting many of his usual stump speech points. Including his crowd-pleasing pie story. I think the only big new point he made was his accusation that McCain wants to cut Medicare, an accusation based on a Wall Street Journal article.

It was very interesting to experience the Obama visit in person. Kelly thought the crowds swarming around Obama looked like a school of fish, all changing direction simultaneously during a feeding frenzy. We all marveled at the amount of logistical planning, endurance, expense, and show business required by presidential campaigns. And it’s all going to end two weeks from Tuesday. GO VOTE!

(We also took a few photos during Friday’s rally.)

Scientology is shiny


A new calendar system!

They brought us into the golden age. It’s about time SOMEBODY did.

Awesome logo!

Why can’t be this organized?

Learn under the glorious tutelage of LRH

This is how you will be processed.

How much worse can the LRH Congress be than the US Congress??

Shades of dictatorship here.

NEWS ALERT: Congress can increase your IQ by 6 times!

If only I could understand the grade chart in the first place…

Can’t… find… Scientology… book…

I finally understand Scientology now. It is an elaborate system whose sole purpose is to promote book sales. Look at the altar here. Books. Everywhere. You authors out there should take notice. Next time you write a book, start a religion.

And now, if organizational emphasis and jargon meant to confuse outsiders aren’t enough to convince you of Scientology’s cult status, then feast on the personality worship:

“I’m looking at you, Suppressive Person. Yeah, you. I know it’s fashionable to make fun of Scientology. But we are the authorities of the mind. Don’t you forget it.”

Attention preclears; do not flub on your auditing procedures.

Please study these items from the LRH technical terminology reference carefully. Professional illustrations are provided to illustrate difficult concepts:

Calling all Operating Thetans

Scientology is weird.

Water is wet!

(do not be afraid, Supressive Person; click the image above to expand the thetan within)

Baby Jesus has returned…

…as a pork product?

See for yourself!

The money quote:

The Baby must dry several weeks before it is ready to be sold.

I’m off to buy some Baby Jesus and Lil Chub.

(thanks to Galen for the discovery.)

p.s., why is there a Buddha on the banner for

p.p.s., there is a band called Jesus Sausage. because you needed to know that.

Creation Science Fair? No it’s not!

[16:17] Chris: heh, i am reading this call for a christian science fair entries
[16:17] Dave: omg
[16:17] Chris: they have a bunch of suggestions for entries
[16:17] Chris: “8. How much voltage or current can a human take before he is killed? Could do experiments on a plant.”
[16:18] Dave: lol
[16:18] Chris: i hope they mean plant like a green plant, not plant like a spy

[16:18] Dave: hahaha
[16:19] Chris: “12. Trilobites prove Noah’s flood because they are curled up or not?”
[16:19] Chris: here’s a non-controversial one
[16:19] Chris: “18. Is intelligence influenced by physical attributes. i.e. are blondes “dumb” or does skin color influence intelligence?”
[16:20] Chris: here’s the one ann coulter submitted: “23. Why do we have an Adams apple?”
[16:20] Dave: hahahahaha

Shadows in the campfire

Ted Haggard wants you to watch Jesus Camp THIS MUCH!!

Seeing ol’ Pastor Ted was only one of many disturbing experiences we had watching the documentary Jesus Camp, which gives us a look into the bizarre practices of the Christian Charistmatic movement, and how it is wielded to forge new generations of believers. The documentary unfolds like a slow-motion train wreck, as we watch the emotionally manipulative church leaders indoctrinating young children with belief systems that are openly hostile towards good reason.

I felt angry through most of the documentary, and pitied the poor children subjected to these manipulations. I also remain hopeful that the Charismatic movement of Christianity is not a typical sampling of Christian faith. If Jesus saw it, I hope he’d be seriously pissed.

Another disturbing scene in the documentary was a group of kids being made to pledge their allegiance to the Christianized American flag: I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag, and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty to all who believe. Maybe our poor laws are no match for the untold number of people who desire to restore the long-divorced church and state.

Jesus Camp is one of the best documentaries I have seen in a long time. Go rent it! And post comments on what you think of it.

Figure 2: Pastor Ted demonstrates the preacher power move that has come to be known as the Meth Magnet.