Category: Modern Culture
I first encountered St. Anselm’s Proof of God during my undergraduate studies in philosophy and theology. I was at the time a struggling Christian, and there is a power and simplicity in Anselm’s logical proof of God’s existence that – once you get it – seems mystical. It dances around in your brain, both inviting you to look closer but refusing to be nailed down. As a logical proof it is inescapable and undeniable, but at the same time maddeningly irritating. It seems somehow obvious that this simple proof is more of a word game that has no correspondence with reality, like Zeno’s Paradox of ”Achilles and the Tortoise.”
Today I had the opportunity to come back to Anselm with fresh eyes in a post-graduate philosophy course. What follows is an explanation of what St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument is, how it works, and why it is inescapable – followed by why it doesn’t matter at all; in fact if St. Anselm’s proof of God is true, then the logical consequences for organized religion is disastrous.
How it works: Definition of God
(1) God is that than which no greater can be conceived.
Anselm starts with the definition of God – that there is nothing we can … Read More »
Rick Perry’s political agenda summed up in 30 seconds: no gays in the military, open celebration of Christmas and prayer in schools, end Obama’s “War on Religion” and restore America’s “Religious Heritage”. Shucks, that sounds pretty awesome for Christians.
But wait! Good Christians believe we are in the end of times, and should be watching out for a potential Antichrist. Many people mistakenly believe the Antichrist will seem evil or be anti-religious or atheistic. Not True! Actually the Antichrist will seem religious. This is his great deception.
So this is all you have to understand: whether or not you’re religious, whether or not you believe in Jesus’ imminent 2nd coming, a vote for Rick Perry is a vote for the end of the world.
There are many reasons to love Johnny Depp; his stunning good looks, goofy movie roles or charming bad boy personality. But here’s another one: for his outspoken willingness to criticize religion and poke fun in places others dare not tread. Teaming up with the UK band BabyBird (which he’s worked with before, and is close with the band’s frontman Stephen Jones) Depp sung the lyrics to a new Christmas song release, Jesus Stag Night Club.
Admittedly, the music is not to my taste. But I do relish the religious controversy and the ardent response from Christian Coalitions who are spouting threats of damnation for Johnny Depp’s callous insensitivity for religious tolerance.
But actually I find that Depp and Jones’ deviant view of Jesus is much deeper, more profound and more honest than the religious fundamentalists who are so easily incensed.
“Christians go to heaven. Sinners go to hell. This is their message of peace. Oh yes and gays can f–k off too. It’s a beautiful world, Jesus,” wrote Jones on Twitter. He also spoke to E! News. “The Bible is the greatest fiction book of all time. Incredible stories of magic and mayhem. Full of Hollywood storylines. If Jesus was around today, he would probably be laying low, like I … Read More »
This post is prompted by TWO Yahoo articles concerning Satanism posted within one week of each other. The first, titled “Women Slash Teen 300 Times During Satanic Sex Ritual” (source) is about two Milwaukee roommates accused of slashing and stabbing a teenager 300 times in an apparent satanic sex ritual that lasted for two days. Actually the girls had some books on necromancy and dark magic – which is NOT Satanism.
The confusion is that for anybody within a Christian mindset (as the cops involved probably were) all magic and ritual is Satanic. However anybody who actually practices magic, ritual sacrifices, etc. are not Christian! Hence they don’t believe in Satan. Worshiping Satan is moronic because if you believe in him, then you also believe in God, Jesus and everybody else – so you know already that Satan will lose. What’s the point?
Nevertheless, it is firmly established in popular culture and social anxieties that there are Satan-Worshipers out there stealing babies and practicing blood sacrifice. Why? Let’s look at the 2nd article: “Therapist ‘Brainwashed’ Woman Into Believing She Was In Satanic Cult” (source). Lisa Nasseff, 41, of Saint Paul, Minn., is suing her former therapist, Mark Schwartz, after getting treated for anorexia, because while under hypnosis, her therapist convinced … Read More »
This week a student at Idaho State University, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, took some shots at the White House, apparently in an attempt to assassinate Obama, whom he saw as the AntiChrist. Soon after, the bizarre video he’d made as a statement of his philosophy and desperate plea to get on the Oprah Show surfaced (you can watch it below). The video raises some interesting topics about American foreign policy, legalization of marijuana, and the dangers of the religious mindset.
First of all I’d like to point out that Ortega-Hernandez doesn’t seem crazy to me at all. Trying to assassinate President Obama was not a crazy/irrational action. It was the logical consequence of his beliefs – beliefs he shares with millions of other people. He does, however, go to an extreme when he claims to be the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ… I think you could probably make a firm case for narcissism or inflated sense of purpose; and yet feeling that history has a plan and that God is using you for a specific purpose, and is guiding you to it through signs and symbols, is also extremely common for the religious.
Ortega-Hernandez argues that marijuana shouldn’t be illegal and that Americans … Read More »
King David (who first defeated Goliath, stole his sword, then become a violent kingly soldier) soaked in the blood of battle, one day happened to see his fellow warrior and friend Uriah’s wife Bathsheba bathe in her courtyard from the roof of his palace. He had her brought to his chambers and had sex with her, resulting in a pregnancy. Informed that her husband was Uriah, David summoned Uriah from battle to meet him, suggesting that he go home and “wash his feet,” meaning to spend time at home and attend to his wife.
Uriah refused, claiming a code of honor with his fellow warriors while they were in battle. It was common for warriors in preparation for battle to abstain from sex, as a practice of discipline. After repeatedly refusing to see his wife Bathsheba, David sent Uriah to his commanding officer Joab with a letter that ordered to put Uriah in the front of the battle and have the soldiers move away from him so that he would be killed.
What does this story remind you of? Oh that’s right, the exact some scenario is played out in “The Man in the Mask”. Di Caprio (King Louis XIV) takes the wife of one of his soldiers … Read More »
Something interesting I discovered today was the link between the David and Goliath story and Homer’s Iliad. I’ve already come to understand how much of the Old Testament (especially the flood story, but there are others) were lifted from Sumerian stories (Abraham was raised in, and left behind, a highly developed Sumerian culture before founding his new religious movement).
But I hadn’t considered the extent to which Old Testament scribes borrowed from successful Greek Literature such as the Iliad.
In 2004 Azzan Yadin suggested that the armor described in 1 Samuel 17 is typical of Greek armor of the sixth century BC rather than of Philistines armor of the tenth century, and that narrative formulae such as the settlement of battle by single combat between champions is characteristic of the Homeric epics (the Iliad) but not of the ancient Near East. Yadin also suggested that the designation of Goliath as a איש הביניים, “man of the in-between” (a longstanding difficulty in translating 1 Samuel 17) appears to be a borrowing from Greek “man of the metaikhmion (μεταίχμιον)”, i.e. the space between two opposite army camps where champion combat would take place.
Martin Litchfield West has pointed out that a story very similar to that of David and Goliath appears in the Iliad, where the young Nestor fights … Read More »