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Religion  «
Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
The Pork delusion.
Topic: Religion

More proof, if any were needed, that religion fries your brain:

"JERUSALEM – The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed "Mexican" influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and "we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu," he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.

Both Judaism and Islam consider pigs unclean and forbid the eating of pork products."

Is he mad? Shouldn't he be grateful that this is surely the one catastrophy that can't be blamed on jews (or muslims) by anti-Semite conspiracy-theorist nutjobs!

Sunday, 26 August 2007
How religion poisons everything.
Topic: Religion

Christopher Hitchens joins Richard Dawkins in writing a book defending the atheist position. It’s called ‘God is not great’. In this interview with The Atlantic he fires off some wonderful zingers:

On finding out that he was Jewish:

You found out a few years ago that you’re technically Jewish.

As is Carol. We do a rather vestigial Passover seder so our daughter knows what the tradition is.

What value do you find in that?

The value in celebrating the murder of Egyptian children? I don’t think very much. But it is a tradition.

on Catholicism:

My favorite time in the cycles of public life is the time when the Pope is dead and they haven’t elected a new one. There's no one in the world who is infallible for those weeks. And you know, I don’t miss it.

On the Second Coming:

There’s a film—I’ve never seen it—about a village atheist in America. At one point, there’s some incredible thunderstorm or some other apocalyptic event that makes it seem as though the Second Coming really is about to happen. Everyone’s incredibly impressed. And even he thinks it seems to be true. But he keeps muttering as these events unfold, “But where did Cain get his wife?” All the old questions have to occur to you when you read the Bible. Maybe you can’t read, but you hear the story—wait a minute, there are only two guys in the world, and their parents, and then one of them finds a wife. Where did she come from? Once you’ve thought it, you can’t unthink it.

The subtitle of the book is ‘How Religion Poisons Everything’. If you don’t want to read 307 pages of Hitch’s screed to get to that conclusion, just watch 4 minutes and 43 seconds of Brian Sewell building up to the same point while relating the story of the Last of the Medici. Glorious stuff. The man deserves a knighthood for this alone.

_ DY at 7:35 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007 6:03 AM BST
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Monday, 2 July 2007
What would Amis make of this?
Topic: Religion

Martin Amis recently said that if he were asked to describe Las Vegas in only one word it would be 'unislamic'. The Sahara Hotel and Casino has other ideas. The picture on the wall opposite the bed in my room there clearly shows the 'Ka'ba' - the black stone in the centre of Mecca. The picture above my bed (not pictured) was of the golden dome of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem (or Al Quds if you're so inclined)!

The caption on the In House television reads: 'Free 7 spot Keno ticket, You Can Win $1,000!'

I'll pray to that!

_ DY at 6:56 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007 3:27 AM BST
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Saturday, 5 May 2007
It beggars belief.
Topic: Religion

After writing about Derren Brown, I had a look at some clips of him on Youtube and checked out some other stuff relating to trickery. This one has me stumped:

It concerns the televangelist Peter Popoff who was exposed as a charlatan in the late 1980s. Shortly afterwards he declared bankruptcy. Amazingly he's now back doing pretty much the same thing, as the Inside Edition clip exposes.

This time, he gets people to apply for some free 'Miracle Spring Water'. Recipients discover that the miracle only works if you sprinkle the enclosed sachet of 'Dead Sea Salt' over a cheque for $27 made out to him. As the man himself explains 'It's not the water that releases the power, it's your obedience to the instructions of the prophet of God'.

What stuns me is that he's operating under the same name as before. How he can get away with this in the age of the internet I cannot possibly understand. It doesn't take a minute on Google to find out about his past. Words truly fail me.

_ DY at 6:09 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 5 May 2007 8:29 PM BST
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Tuesday, 9 August 2005
Just to make a change.
Topic: Religion
You've probably read a lot of pieces about Islamic extremists supporting the bomb attacks in London, so just to make a change I'm going to link to some support from the attacks that come from a Christian preacher.

It is of course from Fred Phelps, whom I have mentioned before. He's really surpassed himself with this expression of support for the bombing and the wish that more had died.

Thursday, 17 February 2005
Appeasement be upon him.
Topic: Religion
Am I the only person shocked by this?

Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations policy statement

It states:

"OCR will always put 'peace be upon him' after Muhammad in the form of an Arabic colophon as a mark of respect. However we do not expect candidates to do this. A reference to this can be found on page 13 of the OCR GCSE Religious Studies Notes for Guidance.

Why is a UK examination board paying respect to Muhammad? Where is the objectivity in this?

Thursday, 30 December 2004
Unintelligent Design.
Topic: Religion
In recent years Christian fundamentalists have attempted to advance a proof of the existence of God using the so-called 'Argument from Design', also known as 'Intelligent Design'. The idea is that the creation of the universe exhibits proof of a creator and could not have happened by random chance or evolution. The logic is faulty and is essentially a trick whereby the proponent allows himself to assume the very thing that he's trying to prove. The Skeptic's dictionary covers it quite well:

Click here!

I couldn't help thinking of this when I heard about the disaster in the Indian Ocean, which has killed at least 60,000 people and may well in the final analysis prove to have killed 100,000. In order to hold to the view that the world was created by an intelligent and omnipotent creator, you essentially have to say to yourself 'Yes, there are floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunami, but isn't that a beautiful sunset?'

Meanwhile, if any good is to come out of this disaster, I hope that it's the realisation that the best way to save lives in future disasters is to encourage representative government and economic growth in the developing world. Only when governments exist to respond to the needs of their people and their economies generate the wealth to invest in flood warning systems and sea defences will there be the starting point for a 'cure'. This is the polar opposite of what most 'peace activists' and 'environmentalists' aim to achieve. Given their way, the developing world will remain ruled by dictatorships too indifferent or too poor to reduce the harm in such natural catastrophes. The difference in the death rate caused by earthquakes when they occur in California (dozens) and Iran (tens of thousands) should illustrate the point. Right-wing thinkers are often portrayed as callous and uncaring. I should like to stress that the reason that I'm a neo-con free-marketeer is not because I'm heartless, but precisely because I'm not.

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