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March 09, 2012

Obama asks Romney to explain the origins of Mormonism again

Yes, it's parody. And yes, Mormonism is really weird. The Daily Mash - Obama asks Romney to explain the origins of Mormonism again
As Romney celebrated in Boston, Barack Obama phoned to congratulate him on his victory and convey his hopes that they would have a clean fight for the presidency, before adding: "Tell me the story about God's message being at the bottom of a hat." The former Massachusetts governor then explained how in 1823, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, met an angel called Moroni who told him that nearby were buried some golden plates, a pair of spectacles and a 'seer stone'. President Obama then interrupted briefly to ask: "Sorry, did you say he was called 'Moroni'?" Governor Romney said 'yes' and then explained how eventually Moroni allowed Smith to dig up the golden plates and then translate them - from a previously unknown form of 'Egyptian hieroglyphics' - by using the spectacles while staring at the stone, which he had placed at the bottom of a hat. After a five second pause, President Obama said: "And that's what you believe?" Governor Romney replied: "Yes it is." The President continued: "I know that mainstream Christians, like myself, believe Jesus was the son of God and came back from the dead, but that is very… special." The President then asked if everyone now understood clearly the basis of Governor Romney's belief system, adding: "So we won't need to ask him again, will we? "Okay, let's ask him again." . . .

March 01, 2012

"Babies are expected to have self-control, but men are not."

On the bizarre contradictions in Evangelical living. Who are the Real Babies? House-Proofing and Modesty | Love Joy Feminism
I was raised on the Pearls’ disciplinary methods. The Pearls teach that you don’t child-proof your house, you house-proof your child. As soon as a child is old enough to move around, say nine or ten months, you teach her what not to touch. If she reaches for a laptop left out on the couch, you tell her “no” and give her a little slap on the hand. If she does it again, you repeat, over and over, until she eventually learns not to touch it. I was also raised on the modesty teachings of the purity culture. I was taught that women must be careful what they wear so as not to lead men astray into sexual thoughts. Women should cover their bodies to protect the men around them from temptation. Blogger Biblical Personhood pointed out in an excellent blog post not too long ago that there is a contradiction at work here. Babies are expected to have self-control, but men are not. I’m not sure how I didn’t see this contradiction growing up! Let me fill it in with some more detail . . .

February 29, 2012

The Book of Revelations is basically the world's first editorial cartoon, not prophecy

This is what I learned at university, too. But this read of The Revelation of John of Patmos is all too often tossed aside for the Left Behind school of thought that says the book is a road map to the Rapture and Apocalypse which will happen any day now (we promise, really, this time we have the maths right). Read the rest of this piece, if you're curious. It's a review of a new book that takes a harder look at Revelations and especially the cultural context in which it was written. The author comes to the conclusion that the book is essentially an attack on Christianity-as-it-was back in roughly 100 C.E. Elaine Pagels on the Book of Revelation : The New Yorker
Pagels then shows that Revelation, far from being meant as a hallucinatory prophecy, is actually a coded account of events that were happening at the time John was writing. It’s essentially a political cartoon about the crisis in the Jesus movement in the late first century, with Jerusalem fallen and the Temple destroyed and the Saviour, despite his promises, still not back. All the imagery of the rapt and the raptured and the rest that the “Left Behind” books have made a staple for fundamentalist Christians represents contemporary people and events, and was well understood in those terms by the original audience. Revelation is really like one of those old-fashioned editorial drawings where Labor is a pair of overalls and a hammer, and Capital a bag of money in a tuxedo and top hat, and Economic Justice a woman in flowing robes, with a worried look. “When John says that ‘the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth,’ he revises Daniel’s vision to picture Rome as the worst empire of all,” Pagels writes. “When he says that the beast’s seven heads are ‘seven kings,’ John probably means the Roman emperors who ruled from the time of Augustus until his own time.” As for the creepy 666, the “number of the beast,” the original text adds, helpfully, “Let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person.” This almost certainly refers—by way of Gematria, the Jewish numerological system—to the contemporary Emperor Nero. Even John’s vision of a great mountain exploding is a topical reference to the recent eruption of Vesuvius, in C.E. 79. Revelation is a highly colored picture of the present, not a prophecy of the future.