Faith Blinds

(Old news from the department of simple answers)

My time away has meant that some of the weird and wonderful nonsense over the last few weeks has escaped the harsh light of reality. Take this little blinder posted by Joanna Sugden to the Times Online on 2 May 08.

The article is titled: “Is the Bible science fiction?

Simple answer: “Yes” (Or slight variation: “No, it is fantasy fiction”)

Why is there any need for more debate? Strangely, debate there is… As you can imagine, the article talks about “debate” as to the veracity of Noah’s Ark. It seems that some people over the age of six actually think that two of every species on Earth was crammed into the Ark to survive a world flood. Wonderfully, IMDB list a film about this under “Science Fiction Literature” which I think is a GoodThing™.
Equally great is the predictable response of the loonies.

The first to kick it off is Rick Beekman who is certainly a “person of faith” (and, I suspect with no real evidence, an American):

I believe the story of Noah’s Ark. I also believe all the stories in The Bible.
The ones who don’t believe it are the usual group of scoffers..Atheists..Secular Humanists.Those Who generally think everything has an Explanation based on their worldly but non-spiritual understanding of Events in the Bible they deem “Impossible”.

Word salad. This is nothing but an assertion of his belief with an appeal to ridicule against anyone who disagrees. The unusual capitalisation is always a good sign of a nutjob – I hope he doesn’t have access to firearms. After this start, he continues:

The reason for these stories is to teach we lowly humans what God has done..And what he can and will do.

Scary. I find myself agreeing with the insane. Dear Toutatis save me. Actually, the bit I agree with is the reason of the story. They are not supposed to be factual representations of the past. They are there to “teach” (for want of a better word) people about their belief system. This subtle fact is lost on Rick – despite the fact he worded it in quite a good way, I suppose that was just chance. (Monkeys, typewriters…) Anyway, after a bit more drivel he finishes off:

In Genesis 8 v 4 we read where the Ark rested upon Mt. Ararat as the waters receded.
Sattelite Photos confirm taken in 1972 that something very large is encased in Ice on top of that Mountain.
How could any large Ship get up there unless Water rested it there as The Bible says?

WTF? Seriously, what sort of insane leap of faith is this? How did “something” become a “large ship” in the space of a full stop? Quantum physics be damned! (Why is water capitalised?) Critically, why have none of the ultra rich evangelical groups over the world got a more recent ultra high res photograph to confirm – or just gone there on an expedition? Madness like this gives me a headache.

My faith in human nature is restored by a run of sensible comments, but then Rick returns:

John;
God our Creator can do whatever he pleases. He usually does things to suit his purposes not necessarily for what we think. He knows The end from the beginning. God could have chosen to just let everyone drop dead except the chosen animals etc and of course Noah and his family. There is no human now or past or in the future who is any match for the Wisdom and creator.

Ah the way of the madness runs true in this one. This at least shows there is no science in the bible or in creationism. Basically this is Rick saying he doesn’t care what feeble evidence there is, he knows his Invisible Friend can do things other people can’t. Well done Rick. There are seven year olds kicking themselves in shame at this…

More sensible refutations are made – thank Heimdall for the human race – then someone called CESEELEY chimes up with their own brand of wisdom:

One of the main points of stories like Noah’s Ark is to help one from the Old Testament into the New Testament so that one will learn to walk in the Spirit after being Born Again, Baptized and given the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Ah, here come the erratic capital letters. Wonderful. Still it is all gibberish.

Our bodies were designed by God to be guided by the Holy Spirit. That is what those scripture about the Holy Temple imply.

Eh? Is this going anywhere? This is more drivel – why use 1 word to say something when eight hundred and ninety four will do… Comments on Times Online are moderated so a human actually decided this was relevant enough to the thread to let through (and about 50% of mine get knocked back… hmmm).

If you want to experience the more Abundant Life that Christ promised and have become Born Again and Baptized by immersion, then start taking Roman 12:1-2 seriously in your life so that you can prove what is God’s perfect will for your life as compared to His permissive will.

Ok, I’ll stop here. It doesn’t get any better. It is just a string of meaningless drivel with little relevance to the topic other than it seems to want every one to become a Born Again lunatic. I am a touch confused about his “perfect will” being different from his “permissive will” though…

Not to be out lunatic’d, Rick returns:

To All;
Seems I am the only one on this thread who believes the Story of Noah And His Ark.

God, I hope so…

I guess God Really did’nt ask Adam to name all the animals Either..(Genesis 2 verses 19 & 20).

Well done for taking a step in the right direction. Why did God let Adam name the echnida such a bloody awkward name? Oh right, he didn’t because Adam would never have seen one..

According to the “Experts” on this thread there is no possible way God could have brought all the animals to Adam from all over so Adam could name them.

Erm, yep. See, after a while everyone starts to agree with the lunatics.

Another one has stated the story of the flood is a Babylonian myth.

Yes, some one did state that. I thought they were being charitable instead of just calling Rick insane. Obviously Rick just likes using words, because he doesn’t even try to refute the claims any more – he just repeats them. He does, however, save the best till last:

I Just Wanted All Of You To Know All Of You Are Dead Wrong…But the Good News Is I’m Not Upset And Love All Of You!!

Wonderful. Don’t you just love the shift key… How would we spot lunatics without it.

Emailing a Myth

Quite regularly, well-meaning friends of mine will “pass on” an email that claims to be trying to get people “British again” or some similar bit of nonsense. Normally these are along the lines of a heroic soldier, suffering for God and country and I am sure most people have had exposure to them in some shape or form. This is doubly ironic because, 9.9999 times out of 10, these emails are actually written by and for Americans (clue is often in the spelling or claims the country was founded on Christian principles) and they are invariably tipped towards a religious argument. These supposed friends of mine are more than slightly aware of my position on both the Americanisation of the UK and religious beliefs. Still they send the emails…

Anyway, today I got one which bucked the trend slightly. It weirdly manages to hide the merest kernels of truth in a whole package of myths, but then I suppose that is the goal. I assume that who ever went to the trouble to make up these bits of nonsense are trying to stir jingoistic pride in something which never existed.

The most recent of these is weird because it isn’t about the UK or the US as such. This time Australia is the source of cultural wisdom. Titled “Britain Needs A Leader Like This!,” the email goes on to explain why “Prime Minister John Howard – Australia” is a great national leader. As you can imagine, it is crying out for a point by point dissection…

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia , as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation’s mosques. Quote: ‘IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.’

Ok, while not a real quote it hints at a line taken by John Howard. Oddly this pretty much dates the message to February 2006, so we get the first hint that this is just nonsense that has been running round the internet like a ghost in the machine.

‘This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom

Wowser. This is good. Again, I can find no evidence it was actually stated by John Howard, so I now suspect this is the opening line from the emails actual author.

It is nice how this glosses over how the Australians “sought” freedom – I am sure the aboriginal tribes will have a different concept of “victories” and certainly a different idea of what freedom means.

‘We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society . Learn the language!’

Again, this seems to be more an American worry than an Australian one. I never realised Spanish and Lebanese were significant languages down under. Even if it is genuine Australian it has two big flaws that are often overlooked by bigots.

First off, “mainly” is an important qualifier. Yes, English may be the language spoken more than any one other language but how does that reflect on the sum totals of other languages? Why, in such a vitriolic hate filled speech would you put a weasel word like “mainly” in? Secondly, but more importantly, what to the actual natives of the island of Australia think about this? What about their language and culture? Oh yeah, they don’t count because this Australia is one nation under God…

‘Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.’

Even more crap with a side order of bad history. Australia was not founded on Christian principles. The founding of Australia is clearly documented. The real history of Australia admits no “founders” to speak of and is a fascinating bit of reading. It really is. Spoiling it with this revisionist nonsense is a shame and a lie. And we all know that not only is lying for Jesus a sin, but lies make baby Jesus cry. So Hermes only knows why the obvious Christian who wrote this nonsense felt the need to lie so much.

‘We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.’

Hmm. “We will accept your beliefs” as long as they are the same as ours is what the email is basically saying.

‘This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom,
“THE RIGHT TO LEAVE”.’

Well, this is looking very un-Australian. “Our Flag” and “Our Pledge” scream out American to me, but I might be wrong. Now, if only we could get the aboriginal natives to apply this with precedence as being the real inhabitants of the country. If we assume for one second that this really is a true Australian view point, it becomes interesting how nations which came to be by systematically exterminating the local inhabitants are the most vocal when it comes to claiming rightful ownership of their land. Is it because they are scared others will do unto them as they did to others?

‘If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE. We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.’

More irony about prison colonies…

Maybe if we circulate this amongst ourselves, British citizens will find the backbone to start speaking and voicing the same truths.

Here we go. Does a collection of badly written lies and myths give people backbone? When the original author speaks of “British Citizens” does s/he just mean the white ones? What about the vast diversity of cultures who have CITIZENSHIP in the UK? Don’t they count any more?

If you agree please SEND THIS ON

I don’t so I didn’t send it on. If who ever emailed this to me is reading this – “you are an idiot – learn to spot nonsense.” If you are reading this and you have forwarded this message (or any of the similar bits of crap) on, then you are also an idiot – please stop.

P.S I think this also goes for us when going to other countries as well!

I wonder if this PS was part of the original.