MONTY PYTHON GOES TO YOUTUBE! In a bold move, Monty Python announces their partnership with YouTube, creating the first official Monty Python Video Channel on the internet. To all the fans who've for some unknown reason have sat, progressively losing their eyesight, squinting at their computer screens, watching The Dead... Click Here for full story... Python Online
Monty Python's Philosophers' Song , featuring Professors Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, and Bruce of the University of Woolamaloo ... and Michael Baldwin.
Now, Bruce teaches classical philosophy, Bruce teaches Hegelian philosophy, and Bruce here teaches logical positivism, and is also in charge of the sheepdip. --What's does new Bruce teach? New Bruce will be teaching political science - Machiavelli, Bentham, Locke, Hobbes, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Lindwall, Miller, Hassett, and Benet. --Those are cricketers, Bruce! Oh, spit! --Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce! In addition, as he's going to be teaching politics, I've told him he's welcome to teach any of the great socialist thinkers, provided he makes it clear that they were wrong ...
Rule #2. No member of the faculty is to maltreat the Abbos in any way whatsoever - if there's anybody watching. Rule #3. No pooftahs. Rule #4 - I don't want to catch anyone not drinking in their room after lights out. Pythonline Just the Words * * * * * * * * * * Rule #6 - there is no rule six!
Mrs Conclusion Hello, Mrs Premise . Mrs Premise Hello, Mrs Conclusion. Mrs Conclusion Busy day? Mrs Premise Busy! I've just spent four hours burying the cat... script
Communist Quiz sketch Marx, Mao, Che, & other revolutionaries compete for a “beautiful lounge suite”...
Argument Clinic Man I'd like to have an argument please. Receptionist Certainly, sir. Have you been here before...? Man No, this is my first time. Receptionist I see. Do you want to have the full argument, or were you thinking of taking a course? [See more Python in LimitsHoratio, philosophers song.odp] odt txt video
“ Life's a Piece of Shit: Heresy, Humanism, and Heroism in Monty Python's Life of Brian” Kevin Schilbrack The Pythons “respected the things [Jesus} said and did not want to make fun of him. So they shifted to the idea of a thirteenth apostle, mistaken as a messiah...”
“ A Very Naughty Boy: Getting Right with Brian” Randall Auxier: “ I don't want to single out Baptists... God wants me to make fun of [every faction that thinks every other faction is bound for Hades].”
Brian - “absurd decent guy,” existential humanist, counter-nihilist laughing at the absurd...
Graham Chapman: “We did want to annoy [many churches]... They seem to forget about things like loving one another – more interested in joining their own little club and then thinking of other people in terms of 'that lot won't go to heaven, just us' which is really stupid and rather un-Christian... 'Think for yourselves, don't blindly follow'... I'm sure Mr. Christ would have agreed.” * Do you? Is it un-Christian and stupid to seek an exclusive path to salvation?
An example of exclusivity : "Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She's a much better person than I am. Honestly. She's, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it's not fair if she doesn't make it, she's better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it.” Mel Gibson
Such remarks deeply embarrass two groups of Catholics: those who believe it but think it is best left unsaid, and those who don't believe it at all — no matter what "the chair" may pronounce. Daniel Dennett, "Common-Sense Religion" Chronicle of Higher Education 1.20.06
And, such remarks are mystifying to many non-Catholics as well - those who have ever admired, respected, or loved someone whose beliefs did not entirely mirror their own. How can a good person – let alone a “Saint” - be condemned and punished for withholding assent to beliefs for which there is no credible evidence? How can we assert and accept the notion that the very best people we know on Earth deserve eternal damnation? How can we embrace the legitimacy of any authority that would support such a judgment? (In other words, if “the chair” says your beloved soul-mate must fry in hell for all eternity, is it just too bad for her ? Or does it instead raise a serious question about the credibility, judgment, and moral wisdom of those who said so?
Jesus is treated respectfully in the film, but less so those who misunderstood and misreported his words and the spirit of his message...
BRIAN: I'm not the Messiah! ARTHUR: I say You are, Lord, and I should know. I've followed a few. FOLLOWERS: Hail Messiah! BRIAN: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand?! Honestly! GIRL: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity. BRIAN: What?! Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah! FOLLOWERS: He is! He is the Messiah! BRIAN: Now, fuck off! [silence] ARTHUR: How shall we fuck off, O Lord? BRIAN : Oh, just go away! Leave me alone.
JESUS: They shall have the earth... GREGORY: What was that? JESUS: ...for their possession. How blest are those... MR. CHEEKY: I don't know. I was too busy talking to Big Nose. JESUS: ...who hunger and thirst to see... MAN #1: I think it was 'Blessed are the cheesemakers.' JESUS: ...right prevail. MRS. GREGORY: Ahh, what's so special about the cheesemakers? GREGORY: Well, obviously, this is not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products. Blessed are the cheesemakers CLIP #3
“ The movie satirizes not what Christian believers believe, but... a certain religious eagerness to believe.” (14) Like David Hume (1711-1776), the Pythons mistrust True Believers' conviction that they're privy to secret knowledge others don't share. A secret... a sign... a miracle!
My ?s: Does anyone know "the secret" or possess knowledge of a special “sign” ?* (14) What's your attitude toward those who think they do - "healthy skepticism" (15), credulity, tolerance, or ___? Do you agree with Kant's injunction Sapere aude - " use your reason" (17)? CLIP #17-20 Do you agree with Brian: "you are all individuals"? (16) CLIP #20-21
There's no secret to The Secret - The book and movie simply state that your thoughts control the universe. . .
Through this "law of attraction" you "manifest" your desires. "It is exactly like placing an order from a catalogue. … You must know that what you want is yours the moment you ask." "See yourself living in abundance and you will attract it. It works every time, with every person." The appeal is obvious. Forget education, effort, performance. Everything you want—money, power, comfortable shoes—is yours simply by wanting it enough... [What would Nietzsche say?!]
Winston Churchill: "You create your own universe as you go along." Something about this struck me as sounding not terribly Churchillian. I looked it up and it turned out Churchill did write it, but it was his mocking characterization of the metaphysical twits of his day.
According to The Secret , people don't just randomly end up being massacred, for example. They are in the wrong place because of their own lousy thinking. Cancer patients have long been victims of this school of belief. But The Secret takes it to a new and more repulsive level with its advice not just to blame people for their illness, but to shun them, lest you start being infected by their bummer thoughts, too...
As one of Byrne's favorites, Albert Einstein, said (in a quote that doesn't make it into The Secret ): "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." The Visible universe
“ New Age” Philosophy WTB trailer The premise of the film is that quantum mechanics proves a conscious observer is necessary to create reality. The conclusion is we literally create reality with our thoughts. Unfortunately the theory of quantum mechanics does not say this... Skeptico
Far Out, Man. But Is It Quantum Physics? When it comes to physics, people seem to need to kid themselves. There is a presumption that if you look deeply enough you will find "some reaffirmation of your own centrality to the world, a reaffirmation of your ability to take control of your own destiny." We want to know that God loves us, that we are the pinnacle of evolution. But one of the most valuable aspects of science is precisely the way it resists that temptation to find the answer we want. That is the test that quantum mysticism flunks, and on some level we all flunk... nyt
Is the concept of an anthropomorphic God ridiculous, as David Hume thought? What about an anthropomorphic prayer ? (15, 19fn) Is it appropriate to thank God for sparing the survivors of natural disasters? Is it self-demeaning of humanity to praise a large and fearsome God? [CLIP: MoL, HGrail] ...Can God reasonably be petitioned to intervene exclusively on behalf of your side (team, country)? Is any concept of a transcendent deity immune to parody?
But if horses or cows or lions had hands to draw with their hands and produce works of art as men do, horses would draw the figures of gods like horses and cows like cows, and they would make their bodies just as the form which they each have themselves. Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black, and Thracians that theirs have blue eyes and red hair... Xenophanes (c.570-c.475 BC)
...Or with the existentialists (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus) and their emphasis on non-conformism, authenticity, and personal responsibility? Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
Albert Camus (1913-1960) Albert Camus was born into Algerian poverty, son of an illiterate mother and father who would shortly die in the First World War. A promising boy, fond of sun, sea, writing, girls and football, his studies toward a bright academic future were cut short by tuberculosis...
Camus saw humans as small, mortal specks on a minor planet, in an ordinary solar system, located no place in particular, in infinite space, and subject to all sorts of dark irrational forces, over which we have little control... 20
BRIAN: Look . You've got it all wrong. You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves. You're all individuals! FOLLOWERS : Yes, we're all individuals! BRIAN: You're all different! FOLLOWERS: Yes, we are all different! DENNIS: I'm not. Kant: Sapere aude - “ use your reason" == Mum : stop following my son!
Do you agree that improving the world should be our primary focus as human beings? If not, what should be? Why? Are you a humanist ? [according to the dfn on 18... or according to this one: Secular Humanism is a way of thinking and living that aims to bring out the best in people so that all people can have the best in life. Secular humanists reject supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. They affirm that we must take responsibility for our own lives and the communities and world in which we live. Secular humanism emphasizes reason and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation. ] A meliorist? C:Documents and SettingsPhilMy DocumentsDelightwj meliorism.wpd
Humanism is a down-to-earth philosophical movement that represents a turn toward the satisfaction of human needs, both material and spiritual, and the fulfillment of human potential, here and now. Humanism therefore lacks much interest in the supernatural and theological , or in an afterlife. This doesn't mean that Humanists are necessarily atheists . Though it may come as a shock to some, there are now, and have long been, many religious Humanists...
Humanist Manifesto, signed by John Dewey and others) FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created. SECOND: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process. THIRD: Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected. FOURTH: Humanism recognizes that man's religious culture and civilization, as clearly depicted by anthropology and history, are the product of a gradual development due to his interaction with his natural environment and with his social heritage. The individual born into a particular culture is largely molded by that culture...
FIFTH: Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values. Obviously humanism does not deny the possibility of realities as yet undiscovered, but it does insist that the way to determine the existence and value of any and all realities is by means of intelligent inquiry and by the assessment of their relations to human needs. Religion must formulate its hopes and plans in the light of the scientific spirit and method... Dewey was a “ Bright ” before his time...
Famous Humanists notable, prominent influential people whose religion was Humanism Bertrand Russell - mathematician and philosopher Jonas Salk - physician and developer of the polio vaccine R. Buckminster Fuller - futurist and inventor (Unitarian) Julian Huxley - philosopher and first Director-General of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization) Richard Leakey - anthropologist Abraham Maslow - psychologist and creator of Third Force Psychology Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. - acclaimed American author of science fiction, as well as realistic and satirical fiction Isaac Asimov - leading science fiction writer (Jewish); served as president of the American Humanist Association ...
...Confucius, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, and many Nobel-prize winners. Perhaps the most eminent contemporary religious humanist (though he might dispute this label) is Huston Smith. Liberal Christian Protestant theologians such as Paul Tillich are also in the camp of the religious humanists. Finally, some existentialists, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, have also been humanists. Humanism FAQs More humanists
Recall Emerson on prayer as a survey of existence from the highest point of view – then consider this: CHAPLAIN: Let us praise God. O Lord,... CONGREGATION: O Lord,... CHAPLAIN: ...ooh, You are so big,... CONGREGATION: ...ooh, You are so big,... CHAPLAIN: ...so absolutely huge. CONGREGATION: ...so absolutely huge. CHAPLAIN: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You. CONGREGATION: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You. CHAPLAIN: Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and... CONGREGATION: And barefaced flattery. CHAPLAIN: But You are so strong and, well, just so super. CONGREGATION: Fantastic. HUMPHREY: Amen. 93
Do you prefer the "grim satisfaction" of Sisyphus (21) or the "absurd decency" of Brian (23)? The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock up to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. ...
The greatest failure of a person is when one lives a lie, deceives oneself and lives in “bad faith.” One thing we can say in Brian's favor is that he does not live a lie. He is not an absurd hero, but he is also not a liar. He does not wait for a miracle. Instead, he hates the Roman occupation, he loves Judith, and he in general does his best. He is buffeted by forces he cannot defeat, but he nevertheless tries to do good, he is sincere, and he makes for himself a life that gains meaning through his own decisions. One cannot rebel against the absurd, but one can laugh at it... Schilbrack 22-3
“ Laughter kills the cheerless God.” Auxier 67 [see below on Nietzsche's claim that “God is Dead”...] But the cheer ful God would say: "Oh, don't grovel!” There may be a God undreamed by your theology – a British God, with a self-deprecating sense of humor. If not, we may be in trouble; or - Nietzsche's message – we may be on our own.
Philosophy is reflection upon all experience and aims at self-knowledge. Theology , by contrast, is reflection upon religious experience and ideas, undertaken in faith that such experiences do exist and such ideas do refer to realities beyond themselves.
*Prayer and supplication – Is there a “right” way to pray, and a right stance or attitude to adopt in contemplating or addressing the divine? What is the purpose of prayer? "Oh, don't grovel!” 67 HG clip #8 What would God say? “ Every time I try to talk to someone it's sorry this and forgive me that and I'm not worthy... those miserable psalms [are] so depressing.” Socrates : Is piety a science of praying and sacrificing... asking and giving? Tell me what benefit accrues to the Gods from our gifts? -Euthyphro , 15-16
*“ Self-reliance ” - bio - DivSchAdd - Emerson on prayer- Prayer that craves a particular commodity,--any thing less than all good,--is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg... Essay on Self-reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson 1808-1882
MR. FRISBEE III: Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say. Some things in life are bad. They can really make you mad. Other things just make you swear and curse. When you're chewing on life's gristle, Don't grumble. Give a whistle. And this'll help things turn out for the best. And... [music] Always look on the bright side of life. [whistling] Always look on the light side of life. [whistling]
MR. FRISBEE: I mean, what you got to lose? You know, you come from nothing. You're going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing! Nothing will come from nothing. You know what they say? EVERYONE: Always look on the bright side of life!
f When life seems jolly rotten, There's something you've forgotten, And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing. When you're feeling in the dumps, Don't be silly chumps. Just purse your lips and whistle. That's the thing. And... Always look on the bright side of life. MR. FRISBEE: For life is quite absurd And death's the final word. You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin. Give the audience a grin. Enjoy it. It's your last chance, anyhow. So,... Always look on the bright side of death, [whistling] Just before you draw your terminal breath. [whistling] Always look on the bright side of life !
Graham Chapman's Memorial Service - Cleese, Idle, Palin look on the “bright side” & remember “Brian”
Philosophy and Theology Philosophy is reflection upon all experience (including religious experience) that aims at self-knowledge. Theology, by contrast, is reflection upon religious experience that aims at reinforcing specific religious preconceptions... 68 Theology is a kind of fossilized philosophy, without the active sense of wonder and curiosity that propel the best philosophical reflection. Simon Blackburn
All one needs is a literal-minded group who neither believes nor disbelieves, asking obvious questions. Religious sincerity crumbles ... 70 BRIAN: Don't you, eh, pass judgment on other people, or you might get judged yourself. COLIN: What? BRIAN: I said, 'Don't pass judgment on other people, or else you might get judged, too.' COLIN: Who, me? BRIAN: Yes. COLIN: Oh. Ooh. Thank you very much. BRIAN: Well, not just you. All of you... BRIAN: Well, have they got jobs? ARTHUR: Who? BRIAN: The birds. EDDIE: Have the birds got jobs?! FRANK: What's the matter with him? ARTHUR: He says the birds are scrounging... Brian doesn't claim to know anything. He would be glad to, but he doesn't . 71
Plato's “Ring of Gyges” 72 ...he became invisible.. Having perceived this, he at once managed for himself to become one of the envoys to the king ; upon arrival, having seduced his wife, with her help, he laid a hand on the king, murdered him and took hold of the leadership... " http://plato-dialogues.org/tetra_4/republic/gyges.htm
Pascal's Wager -- 79 French philosopher, scientist, mathematician and probability theorist Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) argued that if we don't know whether God exists then we should play it safe rather than risk being sorry... . http://www.iep.utm.edu/p/pasc-wag.htm
...Pascal realised that some skeptics would not be convinced to embrace Christianity by evidence or rational arguments alone. Therefore, in the famous wager argument, he appealed to the eternal stakes involved... http://www.philosophersnet.com/cafe/archive_article.php?id=156&name=philosopher
The Meaning of Life Intro - what's it all about? Every sperm is sacred Part VII - Death Galaxy Song Suicidal Leaves Christmas in heaven The end of the film
Galaxy Song lyrics Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown, And things seem hard or tough, And people are stupid, obnoxious, or daft, And you feel that you've had quite enough.. .
Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour, That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned, A sun that is the source of all our power. The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see Are moving at a million miles a day In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour, Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'...
...The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding In all of the directions it can whizz As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know, Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is. So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure, How amazingly unlikely is your birth, And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth. [clunk] MRS. BROWN: [sigh] Makes you feel so, sort of, insignificant, doesn't it? MAN: Yeah. Yeah. [sniff] Can we have your liver, then? MRS. BROWN: Yeah. All right. You talked me into it.
WAITER: Good evening! Uhh, would you care for something to... talk about? MR. HENDY: Oh, that would be wonderful. WAITER: Our special tonight is minorities! MR. HENDY: Ohh, that sounds real interesting. MRS. HENDY: Um, what's this conversation here? WAITER: Uh, that's, uh, 'football'. There you can talk about the Steelers- Bears game this Saturday, or you could, uh, reminisce about really great World Series. MRS. HENDY: No, no, no, no. MR. HENDY: What is this one here? WAITER: Uhh, that's ' philosophy '. MRS. HENDY: Is that a sport? WAITER: Aah, no, it's more of an attempt to, uh, construct a viable hypothesis to, uh, explain the meaning of life .
# 16 CHAIRMAN: ...Which brings us once again to the urgent realisation of just how much there is still left to own. Item six on the agenda: the meaning of life. Now, uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this. HARRY: That's right. Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and, uh, what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: people are not wearing enough hats. Two: matter is energy. In the universe, there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio , as orthodox Christianity teaches. It has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved, owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia. [pause] BERT: What was that about hats, again? HARRY: Oh, uh, people aren't wearing enough. CHAIRMAN: Is this true? EDMUND: Certainly. Hat sales have increased, but not pari passu, as our research initially-- BERT: But when you say 'enough', enough for what purpose? GUNTHER: Can I just ask, with reference to your second point, when you say souls don't develop because people become distracted,...
Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations...
Nietzsche's "madman" : "God is Dead... We have killed him, you and I." 66-7
“ Life's a laugh and death's a joke. It's true. You'll see it's all a show. Keep 'em laughing as you go. Just remember that the last laugh is on you...” Who gets the last word?
The laughter with which the madman is greeted is the clue that whatever reverence the solemn God once commanded has lost its grip. 68 “ Laughter kills the cheerless God.” 67 * If His time was not up yet in 1882, what about 1979 (when the Pythons filmed Brian) or 2008? Does it depend on who and where you ask? But maybe He's not dead yet, and (as Nietzsche's prophet says) "this tremendous event is still on its way." Still, some signs of the apocalypse (if that's what you want to call “the end of the world as we know it”) may be in evidence...
Or as David Hume would write in his 18th century Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion : “ Epicurus’ old questions are yet unanswered. Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? -- ...Whence then is evil?” Epicurus (341-270 B.C.E.) David Hume (1711-1776) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume/
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/5372458.stm Dawkins : Politicians characterize the battle as a war against 'terror', as though terror were a kind of spirit or force, with a will and a mind of its own. Or they characterize terrorists as motivated by pure 'evil'. But they are not motivated by evil. However misguided we may think them, they are motivated, like the Christian murderers of abortion doctors, by what they perceive to be righteousness, faithfully pursuing what their religion tells them. They are not psychotic; they are religious idealists who, by their own lights, are rational. They perceive their acts to be good, not because of some warped personal idiosyncrasy, and not because they have been possessed by Satan, but because they have been brought up, from the cradle, to have total and unquestioning faith... --The God Delusion, ch8
http://www.slate.com/toolbar.aspx?action=print&id=2165033 There are four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking... (God is Not Great )
What is a bright? · A bright is a person who has a naturalistic worldview · A bright's worldview is free of supernatural and mystical elements · The ethics and actions of a bright are based on a naturalistic worldview Daniel Dennett The Bright Stuff Richard Dawkins Let There Be Brights http://the-brights.net/ http://the-brights.net/vision/essays/dennett_nyt_article.html http://the-brights.net/vision/essays/let_there_be_brights.html
Anti-God talk from atheists is not surprising, though there does seem to be a lot more of it lately. But it's especially striking when problems with traditional belief are pointed out by formerly devout, mainstream believers like renowned Bible scholar Bart Ehrman: “ Early in my high school days I started attending a Youth for Christ club and had a “born again” experience – which, looking back, seems a bit strange... What exactly did I need to convert from? ”
Many “born again Christians” are preoccupied not with their religious past but with a different question...
Ehrman: I think I was “converting” [or re-birthing] from hell – I didn't want to experience eternal torment with the poor souls who had not been 'saved'...
Ehrman's inability to reconcile the claims of faith with the facts of real life led the former pastor of the Princeton Baptist Church ultimately to reject Christianity. In God's Problem , Ehrman discusses his personal anguish upon discovering the Bible's contradictory explanations for suffering and invites all people of faith - or no faith - to confront their deepest questions about how God engages the world and each of us.
"God's Problem" In times of questioning and despair, people often quote the Bible to provide answers. Surprisingly, though, the Bible does not have one answer but many "answers" that often contradict one another. Consider these competing explanations for suffering put forth by various biblical writers: The prophets : suffering is a punishment for sin. The book of Job , which offers two different answers: suffering is a test, and you will be rewarded later for passing it; and suffering is beyond comprehension, since we are just human beings, and God, after all, is God. Ecclesiastes : suffering is the nature of things, so just accept it. All apocalyptic texts in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament : God will eventually make right all that is wrong with the world.
Another prominent figure lately to lose her religion is former Saturday Night Live cast member Julia Sweeney, whose one- woman show Letting Go of God is funny and humane. She says it led her parents to disown her, for a time. (Her Dad became so angry that he barred her from his funeral. “Just try and stop me,” was her reply.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtIyx687ytk http://www.juliasweeney.com/welcome.asp http://www.curtainup.com/lettinggoofgod.html
Julia's quest begins when two young Mormon missionaries knock on her door and tell her about their religion. It sounds really weird to Julia but she considers it to be no weirder than the church stories she knows. " I'm just used to the Catholic stories... “ If somebody has credible evidence that there is a supernatural power that knows what I think and cares about me and offers me a life after death, I would look at that evidence... and then the evidence is "Jesus is God. Read the Bible." I realize that those people don't know what evidence means.” http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2005/08/15/findrelig.DTL
Julia Sweeney - Letting Go... 15:00 Mormon story not really weirder than the Catholic story, just less familiar 25:50 conflicting accounts of origins of universe in Genesis 28:20 Lot's daughters 29:55 Abraham & Isaac... sadistic test of loyalty - Isn't the (ethically) correct answer "Nooo! - I will NOT sacrifice my child!" 32:20 Leviticus, Deuteronomy... "kill the animals?" 34:40 God bi-polar 37:20 Jesus snippy & impatient... ["Then don't teach in parables!"] 39:10 Jesus pissed off at the fig tree
44:40 "Have you read that book?!" 46:00 Karen Armstrong, "psychologically [not literally] true 48:00 Suffering "What's 'psychologically true' about atonement?" 1:04 evolution, Catholicism, soul... Origin of Spp "truly a page-turner" 1:07 Nature 1:09 "force of love in the universe" 1:12:30 Deepak Chopra... "full of shit" 1:16:30 Critical thinking 1:17 William James - "true because it works..." 1:18:40 Steven Pinker, "How the Mind Works" - our brains are on drugs all the time 1:20:40 The mind is what the brain does 1:32 What keeps us from murdering each other? 2:04 Mystery of why there is something rather than nothing
Michael Shermer is another lapsed religionist. He says believing in God is the same as believing in astrology, and that it doesn't take divine faith to experience something bigger than ourselves... http://www.michaelshermer.com/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VAefYeGouI www.salon.com/books/int/2006/08/23/shermer/
There have been books in this genre before, of course. Bertrand Russell was a “horseman” too, in 1927.
“ It is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all the things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best that omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years... Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists?”
“ Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to His preaching -- an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detract from superlative excellence. You do not, for instance find that attitude in Socrates.”
"Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him neither in this World nor in the world to come." That text has caused an unspeakable amount of misery in the world, for all sorts of people have imagined that they have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, and thought that it would not be forgiven them either in this world or in the world to come. I really do not think that a person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world. http://www.users.drew.edu/~jlenz/brs.html Russell Society: http://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html
But Russell entertains his own vision of cosmic terror: “ You have to suppose that human life and life in general on this planet will die out in due course... People will sometimes tell you that if they believed that, they would not be able to go on living. Do not believe it; it is all nonsense. Nobody really worries about much about what is going to happen millions of years hence.” Well, almost nobody...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Pa34orcwwA The Universe is expanding... but we've got to enjoy ourselves while we're here.
Russell is witty in a dry Ox-bridgian way, but there are more recent examples of laughter killing [or at least assaulting] the cheerless God..
http://www.venganza.org/ Open Letter to the Kansas State school board - ...we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design. Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him...
“ Yoism” - The World's First Open Source Religion http://www.yoism.org/ The existence of Yo can be proven . For some Yoans, awareness of the existence of Yo is of central importance. To others, Yo is irrelevant! ... If you don't want to be bamboozled, led down the primrose path, conned or duped; if you don't want to have the wool pulled over your eyes, hoodwinked, taken for a ride, or railroaded, then welcome to The Way of Yo . If for you, "seeing is believing," then maybe you are one of us. If you don't believe because someone said to; if you don't just believe because it sounds good or because you'd like to; if you base your beliefs on the evidence you yourself can come to know, then The Way of Yo may just be for you.
http://www.slate.com/id/2127615/ McChurch is a McWord used to suggest that a particular church has a strong element of entertainment, consumerism or commercialism which obscures its religious aspects. The term is sometimes used as a derogatory synonym for megachurch ...
In "She of Little Faith"(6th episode from The Simpsons' 13th season, first aired on December 16, 2001, Lisa goes for a walk, passing many sacrilegious signs, like Whiskey A God-God and Church of The Latter Day Druids, until she happens upon Springfield's Buddhist temple. She enters and sees Lenny, Carl, and Hollywood actor Richard Gere inside. After hearing and reading about the virtues of Buddhism, she declares to everyone that she is a Buddhist.
...and “Intelligent Design” in Dover, PA... Matthew Chapman, Darwin's great- grandson, has covered creationism in Dayton, TN...
Chapman writes: “I came to understand, not just intellectually but emotionally, that faith is often all that holds a person together.” He wishes his depressed mother had been able to embrace such faith. And “Tennessee made me look at her faith with kinder eyes.” And: “I went an atheist and came back an agnostic, refusing to share with these [fanatical evangelists] the arrogance of conviction in a matter so clearly unproveable either way.”