Friday, April 15, 2011

Jesus Does Standup

Thanks to Atheist Cartoons.

Liberty University, a federally funded institution!

Several articles around the net have noted that while Jerry Falwell is dead via a heart attack from God, his nasty legacy lives on in the form of an ultra-fundamentalist christianist "university" named Liberty, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, now being run by his son, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr.

And would you believe it is the "largest," the "biggest," the "fastest-growing" christianist school in the world?  Well, it is.  With the help of U.S. government money!

Hypocrisy abounds in the christianist fundamentalist world, which was one of the things the fabled Yeshua of the Gospels was said to despise, which makes it even more fun to point out and laugh at in the 21st century.  Falwell had little use for our Constitution or our government, as does his son, yet they reach out with their greedy little paws to grasp taxpayer dollars to keep their miserable enterprise afloat.

If you read Liberty's promo material on the Net, one would think they are the cat's meow, so to speak.  One would think that since day one in 1971 Liberty "university" has been a financial wunderkind!  One would think that people all over the world, infected with the Liberty virus, have consistently donated monies to keep the "university" in the black so it could continue to train mindless and ignorant christianists to go out in the world and proclaim the same nonsense they were taught, like, for example, that there is a god who created everything that exists in six days because the Bible says so and every little thing in the Bible is the word of god to be taken literally and without question.  And if one has a problem understanding something in the Bible, like, say, why god ordered parents to stone their children to death for not observing the Sabbath, they should consult with their spiritual advisors to get the "truth" as to the meaning of the passage.

Unfortunately, the truth is different.  Liberty "university" has had financial problems for years.  Evidently people don't donate as much money as is needed to keep the operation afloat.  In fact, according to Time magazine, Liberty has been "between $20 million and $25 million in debt until this year.  But when God called Jerry Falwell home last May, it turned out that he had a $34 million insurance policy.  It was used to bail out his school."

Which raises another question:  What insurance company would be so stupid as to a give an obese fathead a $34 million insurance policy?  I dunno.  I have a hard enough time getting decent car insurance and I haven't had a wreck ever or a ticket in over 50 years!

Alex Pareene, writing at Salon. com, notes that Liberty "university" "received $445 million in federal financial aid last year.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, by the way, received $420 million from the federal government."

The federal money was for Pell grants.  "The school is the No. 1 recipient of Pell grant money in the state of Virginia."  So the money went to students to pay for "tuition, room and board and other expenses."  That makes it justifiable in the eyes of Liberty officials.

But why do the christianist Repugnicans in Congress, and all the teapot crackpots want to defund NPR and Planned Parenthood, both of which provide a real service which is available to all Americans, and not defund a right-wing, christianist fundamentalist school that teaches nonsense about the Bible, science and history?

What has happened, of course, is that the aforementioned representatives in our Congress do not understand nor do they care about the values that undergird and protect freedom in this country.  They are driven, not by what might benefit the American people or by a sense of commonality or even by common sense, but by a religious and racial agenda that fuels meanness and hatred!  Thus, they go after the weak and the powerless for they are the most vulnerable among us.  And in that way they repay the corporations who own them body and soul and without whose resources they would not have been elected.

The funding of Liberty "university" by the federal government is symbolic of one of the things very wrong in our country.  On Liberty's part, it is hypocrisy in spades.  It makes the "christianity" promoted by Liberty laughable.

You will note I've consistently not capitalized the word, "university," in this diatribe.  Liberty does not deserve to be called by that name.  It is not a university in any sense.  It is a mill that churns out christianist clones.

Please read Mr. Pareene's article here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easter - the other meaning

Thanks to Atheist Cartoons!

The crucifixion that never happened and the nails that never were

The following is based on an article by Linda Gradstein at AOL News.

He's a journalist who makes documentary movies, this Simcha Jacobovici. His latest effort, "The Nails of the Cross," pretends it is possible that Jacobovici has found two the of nails that were used in the crucifixion of Jesus.

Please laugh heartily and loudly.

Unfortunately, many ignorant folks and others who are deliberately moronic will believe this journalist who makes documentaries. But they should not.

Here's the background: Twenty one years ago or so, archaeologists in Israel claimed to have found the tomb of Caiaphas. One Caiaphas, according to the Gospel tradition, was a high priest involved in Jesus' crucifixion.

Jacobovici located two nails at Tel Aviv University. He asserts these nails were found in the aforementioned tomb. But he has no proof this is so.

Now, Jacobovici is not stupid, so he doesn't say definitively these are the nails used to crucify Jesus. Just that such a scenario is "possible."

Okay, continue laughing. But Jacobovici will probably make a bundle on this pretend "documentary" about nails.

There are numerous problems with this story. First of all, scholars are generally agreed that at the time Jesus supposedly lived, the Romans did not normally nail people to a cross. That would be futile as the weight of the body would cause it to slide down the upright portion of the cross, ripping the hands or wrists free of the nails and foiling death, if only temporarily. But it would be a mess trying to nail the person back on the cross! The Romans crucified people by tying them to the cross with straps. As their bodies fell victim to gravity, their hands held and they slowly suffocated to death. This could take several hours, or longer.

Now, that in itself pretty much blows Jacobovici's theory out of the water!

Secondly, there is no evidence that these nails came from the tomb of this Caiaphas. And even if there were such evidence, there is nothing to indicate this Caiaphas was the high priest at the time of Jesus' supposed crucifixion.

Thirdly, assuming the story is true (which it isn't), the Jews of the time did NOT crucify Jesus! It is inconceivable that the high priest would have someone seek out and bring him the nails used in the crucifixion of a minor criminal, a nuisance but not really a threat to the Jewish establishment. Furthermore, the Jewish method of capital punishment was stoning. If the high priest had ordered Jesus killed, the temple minions would have stoned him to death!

Crucifixion was the method used by the Romans! Furthermore, we know the Romans crucified thousands of Jews. During the seige of Jerusalem (c. 70 CE), as many as 1200 Jews were crucified on a daily basis. One would expect to find the land littered with nails, in and out of tombs, if in fact, the Romans nailed people to crosses! Leather straps would, of course, have rotted away long ago.

Unfortunately for Jacobovici, the entire story of Jesus and his crucifixion is a fabrication, created from a single story and then elaborated upon by several different writers in the late 1st century and early 2nd century (in order to put flesh and bones on Paul's heavenly "Christ," the one spoken of in the prelude to the Gospel of John as the Word, or God himself).

The crucifixion is one aspect of that overall story. What we can say about the crucifixion of Yeshua (Jesus) is that it never happened. There is absolutely no evidence in any record found anywhere in the world for such a thing to have occurred. And because the Romans kept meticulous records of the ordering of their empire, such a crucifixion would have been noted somewhere, especially in light of the fact that Pontius Pilate (the Roman procurator in Palestine) was under suspicion and being observed carefully by his superiors in Rome at the time the crucifixion is set in history.

Maybe Mr. Jacobovici should make "documentaries" about George Washington never telling a lie or chopping down a cherry tree, or better yet, how our founding fathers were rabid evangelical Christians!

Oh yes: Happy Easter!