avram: (Post-It Portrait)

I see that, in the comments under Tom Doherty’s recent message on Tor.com, there is one from John C Wright, in which he makes the following claim:

I am not unrepentantly homophobic. I am nothing of the kind. It is a lie.

I follow the Catholic teaching on same sex attraction and how one deals with it. In public, I have heaped scorn on those who use a children’s cartoon, one I loved, to insinuate their pro-perversion propaganda in a cowardly and craven way.

I have no hate, no fear, nothing but respect for homosexuals.

In response to this, I remind everyone of his recent hastily-deleted comment (archived for posterity at the Obsidian Wings blog):

Men abhor homosexuals on a visceral level. […] I have never heard of a group of women descended on a lesbian couple and beating them to death with axhandles and tire-irons, but that is the instinctive reaction of men towards fags.

While Wright implies that his opinions about homosexuals derive from his beliefs as a Catholic (and leaving aside that most of the Catholics I know do not share those particular beliefs), I note that his conversion experience appears to have happened towards the end of 2003, while his ugly beliefs about homosexuality pre-date that conversion by at least a year:

I remember the day and hour when I, a perfectly tolerant libertarian, rejected (with revulsion) the notion of gay marriage, and, in so doing, was logically required to reject toleration for homosexuality. It was March 05, 2002, at 10:00 in the evening. I was watching a television show where two lesbians were helping a bride get ready for her wedding. The bride spoke in the most glowing and romantic terms about the nature of true love: the two lesbians started making bedroom eyes at each other and smiling, for it was the intent of the writer to put across the idea that two lesbians having “sex” (i.e. masturbating with each other) was morally and logically the same as a bride and bridegroom having “sex” (i.e. consummating their wedding, and generating progeny and creating a family).

While I was (hitherto) willing to accept the libertarian argument that perverts should be left alone to practice their perversions, so long as they harm none but themselves, the liberal argument that true love is perversion and perversion is true love was so shocking to me that I was thunderstruck to the core of my being.

Furthermore, I notice that in Wright’s account of his spiritual journey, it was his “philosophical inquiries” that led him to Christianity, as early as two years before the heart attack that resulted in his vision. It seems to me more likely that it was antipathy towards homosexuality that turned Wright towards his faith, than the other way around.

avram: (Default)

I read the first few chapters of CS Lewis’s Mere Christianity today, and I’m pissed off. I’m pissed off on behalf of everyone who’s ever been taken in by this dishonest piece of propaganda. Check this shit out, from Book 1, chapter 4, “What Lies Behind the Law”:

Ever since men were able to think, they have been wondering what this universe really is and how it came to be there. And, very roughly, two views have been held. First, there is what is called the materialist view. People who take that view think that matter and space just happen to exist, and always have existed, nobody knows why; […] The other view is the religious view. According to it, what is behind the universe is more like a mind than it is like anything else we know. […] Please do not think that one of these views was held a long time ago and that the other has gradually taken its place. Wherever there have been thinking men both views turn up.

See what’s going on there? He’s aware of the vague notion most people have that religion is an old-fashioned belief and atheism a new, modern belief, and wants to break this association in his audience’s minds. And that’s fine — believing something because it’s new and exciting-sounding (or because it’s old and established-seeming) is a form of sloppy thinking that an honest person does well to argue against. But look here, at the start of Book 2:

If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all those religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. […] The first big division of humanity is into the majority, who believe in some kind of God or gods, and the minority who do not. On this point, Christianity lines up with the majority — lines up with ancient Greeks and Romans, modern savages, Stoics, Platonists, Hindus, Mohammedans, etc, against the modern Western European materialist.

What? Suddenly, instead of being a view that appears wherever there have been thinking people, materialism is just a little minority view from Western Europe. And not only is Lewis contradicting himself here, and not only is he trying to convince us that the religion that brought us the homoousios-vs-homoiousios flamewars is some kind of paragon of liberal toleration, but the very point that he spends his opening paragraphs making here is not logically tied to anything. He just goes on to another matter. He never says “Most people have believed in a God or gods, and therefore ….” As well he shouldn’t, because doing so would draw the reader’s attention to the logical fallacy he’s trying to get you to swallow unnoticed — that truth is a popularity contest.

I’m maybe a quarter of the way into the book, and that’s as far as I’ll go. I want to throw the damned thing across the room. I don’t think I’ll be able to read anything of Lewis’s again.

avram: (Default)
Old Jewish joke:

Three Reform rabbis are bragging about how liberal their synagogues are. One starts off “Our temple is so liberal, we allow smoking on Yom Kippur.”

The second says “That’s nothing; on Yom Kipper we brought in a caterer and served ham sandwiches.”

The third says “Ah, you two are practically Orthodox. At Yom Kippur, our temple had a sign up: Closed for the Holidays.”

And now, the news: Many megachurches will be closed December 25th. (via GetReligion)
avram: (Default)
Via Anyway, I found Get Religion, a blog about media bias and religious matters. Seems like a decent enough place, and I’m getting into a few discussions there, and it’s led me to a couple of conclusions about the media that I’ll get to sometime when I’m not just about to go to bed, but here’s a bit that’s too good not to pass along. The St Petersburg Times has an article about Valerie Plame — well, not so much an article as a list of facts, most not very interesting, but one that is:
She attends the same church, but not the same service, as Republican mastermind Karl Rove.
Man, what if it were the same service, wouldn’t that be worth watching, just for the icy glares?

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Karl Rove goes to church. I mean, I knew he was nominally a Christian, but I always figured the holy water would sear his flesh.
avram: (Default)
So, is the new Nazi Pope really Senator Palpatine or HR Giger?
avram: (Default)
So most of you have seen Jon Carroll’s Unitarian Jihad column. I know this, because most of you have linked to it, and half of those have done so with annoying info-free links just saying “go read this” with no hint as to what you want me to read, which is less annoying than pop-up ads, but still ranks up there on the list of Most Annoying Internet Behaviors.

Props to [livejournal.com profile] whumpdotcom for cobbling together the Unitarian Jihad Name Generator. This generates names like:

Sister/Brother Pepper Spray of Courteous Debate
Sister/Brother Atom Bomb of Patience
Sister/Brother Gatling Gun of Loving Kindness

...and every Dogs in the Vineyard player in the world (all couple dozen of us) is probably thinking the same thing, aren’t we?
avram: (Default)
Hey, did Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, any of that crowd, any of them bother to mention that boxer shorts fit funny when you put ’em on backwards? Hanh?
avram: (Default)
Last week [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen, [livejournal.com profile] akawil, and I went over to [livejournal.com profile] immlass’s and [livejournal.com profile] mcroft’s place to try out Vincent Baker’s hot new RPG Dogs in the Vineyard.

In Dogs you take up the roles of young traveling paladins of a faith based on early Mormonism. You travel around the frontier, from town to town, exposing sin and demons and setting things right. The game’s two really interesting features are the that the players get to decide what constitutes “setting things right”, rather than having this imposed by the GM or the game designer, and the clever dicing mechanic designed to escalate conflicts and generate consequences. But we didn’t really get to that in the first session.

What we did get to was character generation (or most of it). There’s a list of appropriate early-Mormon-style names, but since we’re playing pseudo-Mormons, not historical Mormons, I indulged my fondness for old Puritan-style phrase names and dubbed my character Pleasure-of-God Fletcher. That’s not an actual Puritan name either; it comes from a line in “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, a famous sermon from the mid-18th century: “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.”

Pleasure’s father is Armor-of-the-Righteous, and his mother is (I think) Charity, and I stopped there. Dogs encourages you to invent new family members in play, so I figured I’d google around for some actual Puritan names for inspiration. Check these out: Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith, Job-raked-out-of-the-ashes, No-merit, Fly-fornication, and my favorite: If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned!

That last guy was the son of a preacher and member of the British Parliament, Isaac Praise-God Barebone. His son got known as “Damned Barebone” for short, and eventually changed his name to Nicholas Barbon, became a doctor, economist, and writer, and founded the first insurance company.
avram: (Default)
I am an idiot. Three times now I’ve read the Book of the New Sun, and it’s not till just tonight, on page 331 of the second Short Sun book, that I realize that Spoilers for all three Sun series! )
avram: (Default)
The Bible in 50 Words (via Ken MacLeod, who got it from Avedon Carol, who got it from Localfeeds, whose spaniel has it now)


Nov. 28th, 2003 01:15 pm
avram: (Default)
A story that would need to be rewritten for radio:

Their numbers have more than doubled in a decade, to nearly 30 million. Organized as a religious denomination, they would trail only Catholics and Baptists in members.

They are the "nones," named for their response to a question in public opinion polls: "What is your religion, if any?" [...]

Nones are especially prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. In Oregon and Washington, where 21 percent and 25 percent, respectively, claim no particular faith, nones outnumber any single religious category.

This sentence might still work:

"If anyone in the Bible Belt learns you're a none," said Betsy Lampe, 46, a none from Lakeland, Fla., "they immediately and mistakenly believe that you're either a Satan worshipper or a communist and treat you as such.
avram: (Default)
Ack. I think I need to stop reading the Marriage Debate weblog, which is devoted to discussion of marriage rights. It’s run by Maggie Gallagher and Eve Tushnet, who both oppose the freedom to marry, though they claim to have a balance of pro- and anti- opinions on the blog. Anyway, so many of the anti-freedom arguments are just so incoherent and wrong that they drive me to distraction. Here’s an example, by Mark Tardiff:

There is no longer any subject to posit actions since 'I' cannot be identified with either my body or my consciousness. In genital sex between a husband and wife, on the other hand, we see not one person decomposed into two but two who become one flesh. Husband and wife separately can perform the bodily functions of eating and digestion. But the reproductive act can only be performed by the two of them acting as a single reproductive principle.

Tardiff has clearly confused genital sex with organ donation. I’ve had sex. I wasn‘t closely related to my partner, so though I’m not actually certain, I’m pretty damn sure that if we had become one flesh, there would have been some serious immune system issues and rejection symptoms. Or maybe this one-flesh thing only happens with married couples; I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t have any problems along these lines.

And did you notice that Tardiff also seems to be unaware that people can reproduce without being married or having genital sex?
avram: (Default)
Not much I can add to this: Mormonism: the Gathering. Except this:

Ghost Baptism: Take target creature out of opponent's graveyard, put it into your graveyard.
avram: (Default)
I’ve seen on two people’s journals today that the Vatican is telling people that condoms don’t cut down on the spread of AIDS.

I hunted around a bit for details, and found the Straight Dope: They’re just passing around a bit of false information that the anti-sex people have been spouting for at least a decade, since 1992, when Mike Roland (editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology) wrote to The Washington Times claiming that the latex used in condoms has intrinsic pores around 5 microns in size, which would let the HIV virus (0.1 micron) float right through.

Thing is, Roland didn’t examine condoms, he examined latex gloves, which are made to much looser standards. (And even those standards have been tightened up since then.)

This would explain why lab tests have shown that no known STD can penetrate an intact condom.

And you folks in the Vatican, remember: False witness and fraudulent council both get you the Eighth Circle, so better get yourself to confession!

April 2017



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags