December 22, 2014

Saturday Ramblings — July 26, 2014

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Pastor Dan is taking a little break from Sat. Ramblings to focus on some other responsibilities for awhile, so at least for today, you’re stuck with me.

We did plenty of rambling the past couple of weeks, through Vermont and New Hampshire and down the coast of Maine, plus all the driving from the Midwest and back home again. You might think this old wanderer would want to sit a spell and put his feet up for awhile. However, as we all know, Saturday comes around every week, and here at Internet Monk we are contractually bound to take a weekly ramble, so here we go . . .

A ChairLet me get this out of the way first. I’m sorry to use such unkind language, but Ken Ham is an idiot. End of story.

In a related article, Salon lists what they think are the Christian right’s 5 worst scientific claims.

A ChairIt won’t be released until next Valentine’s Day, but a trailer for the 50 Shades of Grey movie has been released. I haven’t read the book (and have no interest in the movie either), but Dave Barry has, and he says it contains an exciting and encouraging message from women to men everywhere: “We are interested in sex! We’re just not interested in sex with you unless you’re a superhot billionaire. . . . OK, so this is not a totally positive message for us men.”

A ChairIrreverence, of course, is stock-in-trade for a humorist like Dave Barry, but Cindy Brandt thinks the church is missing out on this powerful way of speaking the truth to the world. In her piece, “Irreverence Is the New Reverence,” she says:

emperorIt is this fear of irreverence that I believe deprives the Christian community from learning what it really means to be faithful. Irreverence shows the world how to be real, prophetic and passionate.

Irreverence says it like it is. It’s the child who calls out the emperor has no clothes. It’s the uncouth teenager who wears his boredom on the outside. It’s the hippie activist who won’t shower until world peace reigns. Irreverence gives the Church permission to engage in full-blown lament amidst the hardships of life. As I have written elsewhere, learning from the popular and unabashedly irreverent comedian, Louis C.K., we cannot shut down feelings of true sadness with reverent calls to thanksgiving and praise. In order to enter true covenantal relationship with God, we must have the freedom to use the wide range of emotion given to us in our humanity to express what is real to our human experience. Instead of flinching from irreverent curses directed at God, let’s listen closely to the deeper pain of struggle, because that which is real, even when delivered in coarse language, is human, and therefore deserves to be heard.

Frankly, I’ve grown kind of tired of the constant barrage of sacrcasm, irony, irreverence, crude language, and innuendo that fills all forms of media these days. While I accept that these are acceptable tools of language, discourse, and even prophetic proclamation, it seems to me that they are better used like salt, sprinkled to enhance the flavor of our debates, presentations, and conversations rather than overwhelming them.

What do you think?

A ChairOn the social media awareness front, RNS reports that:

BtZp2ynCMAAwJRZ#WeAreN is sweeping the Christian Twittersphere as churches, organizations and individuals change their avatars to the Arabic letter “Nun.”

‘It’s the symbol for “Nazarene,” or Christian, used by Islamic State militants in Iraq to brand Christian properties in Iraq as part of their effort to drive out an ancient Christian community with threats to convert or die.

‘. . . Switching to the Nun avatar is a gesture reminiscent of the long-standing (although factually debunked) legend that Danish Christians adopted Jewish star armbands during World War II in solidarity with Danish Jews.’

As noble as this sounds, Jeremy Courtney, who originated the #WeAreN awareness campaign, was not persuaded it would have any actual impact, saying, “I don’t know that it has done anything except make people feel like they are doing something when they are doing nothing at all.”

Do you think such gestures have any real significance?

A ChairAs of yesterday, the Chicago Cubs have the second worst record in Major League Baseball (42-59). On my bedroom dresser sits a figurine of Charlie Brown in baseball gear. It belonged to my friend Michael Spencer, and Denise thought I would like to have it after he passed. Michael and I were both devoted baseball fans. He loved the Reds, while I have always followed the Cubs. He had several experiences of triumph as the Reds celebrated championships. I have had a few close calls with happiness in a wilderness of heartbreak.

Though Michael loved Charlie Brown as much or more than I, it seems to me that I have more in common with the Peanuts character than he did. Take yesterday’s daily strip for example:

Peanuts - pe_c140725.tif

Sigh.

A ChairWikipedia has blocked a certain IP address at the U.S. House of Representatives from editing for 10 days because of “persistent disruptive editing.” The ban comes after anonymous changes were made to entries on politicians and businesses, as well as events like the Kennedy assassination. The BBC piece on the matter reports:

rumsfeld.040504-fc53730b4db7394b4ca6994add697a18675178d7-s6-c30One of the acts highlighted was an alteration to the page on the assassination of John F Kennedy, which was changed to say that Lee Harvey Oswald was acting “on behalf of the regime of Fidel Castro”.

An entry on the moon landing conspiracy theories was changed to say they were “promoted by the Cuban government”.

Another entry, on the Ukrainian politician Nataliya Vitrenko, was edited to claim that she was a “Russian puppet”.

The biography of former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld was revised, describing him as an “alien lizard who eats Mexican babies”.

I guess they were upset by the implicit racism in the Rumsfeld edit. He actually eats all kinds of babies, not just Mexican ones. (My contribution to irreverence today.)

A ChairFinally, a movie I will recommend. I’ve been waiting for a long time now for Paul Thomas Anderson’s film, The Master, to come to streaming, and Netflix premiered it this past week. A.O. Scott of the NY Times called it an “imposing, confounding and altogether amazing new film” when it came out. The Master is dominated by the remarkable performances of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the L. Ron Hubbard-esque cult leader, Lancaster Dodd, and his “protégé and guinea pig,” Freddie Quell, played with manic intensity by Joaquin Phoenix.

Scott’s review catches the power of this film when he puts it in the context of Anderson’s other movies, such as There Will Be Blood:

In all of those places, and at every point in history, Mr. Anderson discovers the perpetual promise of new beginnings and a poisonous backwash of anomie, violence and greed. In his world fortunes are constantly being made and squandered. New religions are springing to life. Gamblers, pornographers, hustlers and drunks are plumbing the mysteries of existence. Fathers are at war with their biological and symbolic sons. Husbands are at war with wives. Men are at war with the universe, perversely convinced that they have a chance of winning.

To whet your appetite, here is the final theatrical trailer:

Comments

  1. Sad to see those shots of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Hard to consider the impact of his addiction upon his children. And to consider all the art lost.

    • Karen, several months back, the Cranach blog, or was it this one, lol, posted an interview from another source by Russell Brand on addiction. Brand, some type of entertainer, discussed his own problems and his rehab, all this in response to the many “whys” about Hoffman.It was moving and thought provoking and elicited the same type responses generally. Brand talks about how to stay clean and why, after many years, Hoffman didn’t,

      • The Master is devoid of hope, devoid of meaning and devoid of importance for the Christian. This is not to say that we should NOT see the movie, just that you will feel empty after see it. Dark and depressing.

  2. And my Pathetic Padres thrashed your Pestiferous Cubs! When pathetic beats bad then where is the joy?

    • Vega Magnus says:

      I can’t believe that your Pads are somehow the third best team in their division despite having one of the worst offenses ever seen. Arizona and Colorado are remarkably awful. Well, at least you have Tyson Ross in San Diego. He always had promise, but Oakland kept shuffling him from the pen to the rotation and back again, which certainly didn’t help his development. I’m glad to see him succeeding now. His brother Joe recently got promoted to San Diego’s AA team.

      • I’m afraid that Joe will always be expected to be like his brother and will suffer as a result.

        Colorado and Arizona are a mystery to me. How can they be worse than the team witth the lowest batting average IN HISTORY?

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      As a point of information, growing up as Dodgers fans, we called them the Piddling Padres.

      • Which is one more reason (as if we needed one) to HATE the Dodgers, and everything ELSE L.A. I got so very tired of Angelenos coming down to San Diego for vacation and then complaining that it wasn’t like L.A. My response was always, and ever more shall be: So don’t come down here!

        • We went down to San Diego because it was so different than L.A.. (and our aunts and uncle were down there). LOVE San Diego!

          I was lifelong Dodger fan (how can you listen to Vin Scully as a kid every day in the Summer and not be a Dodger fan?)…but NO LONGER. The new owners have fixed it so life long fans can only watch games if the subscribe to a certain cable service. Screw them. I’m done with the Dodgers. They ought be ashamed of themselves. I really miss my Dad…but I’m glad he’s not alive to see this travesty.

          PS- My Dad and I used to listen to Padres games, also, just to hear Jerry Coleman.

          • I find Scully’s voice to be irritating, AND he NEVER shuts up! I remember watching a “Game Of The Week” with Scully announcing and longing for the action itself to do the speaking. I DO admit that he is very accomplished, but if he spent his career in San Diego do you think he would have accumulated all of the accolades he has received? Jerry Coleman spen his WHOLE announcing career here and the best I can get from people id “Jerry WHO?” So much for three decades announcing losing baseball. Only winners get the praise, unless you are Bob Eucker who was also a media star.

          • Re: Jerry Coleman. FIVE decades! From the seventies through 2013!

          • Let’s move up the coast. I will tune in any time I can hear Jon Miller broadcast a Giants game. I miss Sunday Night Baseball with Miller and Joe Morgan a lot.

            What do you think, Steve Scott?

          • Scully does tend to ramble a bit at times. And being in L.A. doesn’t hurt anyone’s career. But I still think he is the greatest baseball announcer…ever. And he’s a very, very nice man. He took 5 minutes of his time to show 3 nobody teenagers (who were just very early for a game) around his booth back in the mid seventies. I’ll never forget how gracious he was to us.

            Jon Miller is awesome! Morgan was ok. A little bit too know it allniss in his style. I liked him better as a player.

            Not familiar with Steve Scott’s work.

          • Steve is one of our readers, and a die-hard Giants fan.

    • That Other Jean says:

      Y’all hush, now. I am old enough to have been a fan of the Washington Senators, for whom the slogan “First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League” was coined. I don’t know how to watch the Washington Nationals–they win too much. How do you cope with that?

      • I love that old movie about the Senators (I think), “Damn Yankees”

        If you were a Senators fan, then “You Gotta Have heart!”

        • Don’t forget the Nationals were previously the Montreal Expos, a team accustomed to losing a lot of games. The team has definitely turned things around since moving to Washington. I may root for them if they make the postseason, especially considering my beloved Red Sox have gone from last place to winning a World Series to last place again in less than three seasons. And the fire sale has begun as the Red Sox traded Jake Peavy to the Giants yesterday. There’s lots of speculation Jon Lester may also be traded before the deadline.

  3. I would wager Ken Ham hasn’t read C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy

    • I’d wager Ken Ham hasn’t read the Bible, either. The Bible is totally silent about life on other planets, leaving the question open. But he hasn’t read the Bible in other matters, either. It is mostly concerned with a small parcel of land about the size of Kansas. And a world that is the center of a small universe, with the sun, moon and stars revolving around it. After all, didn’t Joshua tell the SUN to stop in the sky, not for the earth to stop turning?

      And the Earth is flat, has four corners, and is supported by pillars, if you take the Bible as literally as Ham wants us to. It was never meant as a science textbook, but to tell us about the God we worship. As Galileo once commented, “The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        My church’s (RCC) position is the Bible doesn’t say there IS alien life, and doesn’t say there isn’t. It’s an unknown.

        Back when “alien races” were the “monstrous races” in far lands from Medieval traveller’s tales, the Church actually worked out some basic First Contact speculations, in the event their missionaries to far lands encountered such monstrous races. Such as the “cynocephali”, the “dog-headed men”:
        http://m-francis.livejournal.com/78828.html

        And as for “the center of a small universe”, a 6000-year-old, ending-any-minute-now, Earth-and-some-lights-in-the-sky “Punyverse” is small and cozy, a womb avoiding all the disturbing implications of Deep Space and Deep Time. A small enough pond where Ken Ham et al can be a Big Fish. With a small enough God that isn’t a real threat to the ManaGAWD’s ego.

        • Personally, I’m a fan of neither Ken Ham nor Salon’s generalizations about conservative evangelicals. Both are missing the mark.

    • The Space Trilogy speaks less of life on other planets than it does setting up some “what if” scenarios for us to ponder. Lewis makes that plain in his commentary on the books.

      A better selection for Ham is “The World’s Last Night And Other Essays” in which Lewis penned an essay on Religion and Rocketry in which Lewis points out the absurdity of atheist arguments from aliens. He starts by saying that atheists claim that if there is no sentient life anywhere in the universe it is proof that God does not exist while if we do encounter aliens, it too is proof that God does not exist. After pointing out that atheists can’t have it both ways, he discusses a series of “what ifs” from a Christian context that Ham would have done well to read. Then he wouldn’t be making such absurd statements.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Mos people think SF “predicts the future”.
        It doesn’t.
        It plays with and presents POSSIBLE futures, possible alternate presents, and possible pasts.
        It’s the genre of the “WHAT IF?”

        And the One True Ways of Dogma and Certainty HATE the “What If?”

      • Yes, I agree, my original comment was supposed to be at least partly tongue-in-cheek but you are correct in your analysis; although I do think there’s a sense in which Lewis wanted to open his readers’ minds to a larger view of God’s creation.

    • Being an old Larry Norman fan I quote:

      “If there’s life on other planets I am sure that he must know he’s been there once already and died to save their souls”

  4. Faulty O-Ring says:

    Salon overlooks “prayer studies,” which measure the effects of intercessory prayer on hospital patients.

    • They aren’t exactly known for their journalistic meticulosity. If it supports a left wing cause, it’s good enough to be true! The kind of perspective they promote often depends on Bible belt fundamentalist straw men to survive.

    • David L says:

      From my reading those studies aren’t nearly as conclusive as many Christians want to believe. And ditto for the other side.

    • BTW, “Faulty O-Ring” would be a great name for my garage band. Mind if I borrow it?

  5. Ken Ham says that aliens, if they exist, can’t have salvation because they are not Adam’s descendants.

    Donald Rumsfeld is an alien lizard.

    How do we reconcile these points of view?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Your “inability” to syncrete the two marks you as part of The Vast Conspiracy.

      The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

      • Proof Rumsfeld alien: he was talking about Headless Unicorn Guy’s sci-fi “possible futures, presents, and pasts” when he said,

        [A]s we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

        It works for me.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      Only liberal compromisers reconcile points of view.

  6. Robert F says:

    Regarding irreverence: I feel exactly the way you do, Chaplain Mike. It’s very easy for irreverence to slide over into disrespect for persons, and it often does, especially among those who think sarcasm is the same as irony, and who have no touch of graciousness (a whole lot of people in both categories).

    • Robert F says:

      “Do you think such gestures have any real significance?”

      Not usually. The only time they might, might have real significance would also be times when the ones making the gestures would also be taking a risk in doing so.

    • Randy Thompson says:

      Having spent a fair amount of my adult life hearing a great deal of mainline protestant prophetic types blathering on, I’m bored to death with meaningless and overbaked rhetoric that plays word games, in this case with the word “reverence.” Such rhetoric is the theological equivalent of a stage magician’s illusions, an attempt to make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear by claiming to find God where God isn’t.

      Come to think of it, you could say much the same thing about young earth creationism.

      • Robert F says:

        I don’t understand what you’re saying. I’ve heard many mainline protestant prophetic types blathering on about “relevance” (particularly the death-of-God and secular theologians of the late 60′ and early 70’s), but not “reverence.” Would you please clarify?

        • Randy Thompson says:

          I was speaking beyond the immediate issue at hand and I’m painting with a broad brush, as I’m wont to do some times when I’m feeling cranky. In other words, the “prophetic” types I’e encountered usually are using God to legitimate their own particular socio-political-cultural views. Or, their using God to legitimate some secular viewpoint. This strikes me as true of many (not all) Pentecostal prophetic types as well. In short, beware of people reverencing aspects of culture, including “irreverence,” and claiming that God is somehow speaking. Perhaps a good example of this, from my perspective, is the United Church of Christ’s marketing campaign, “God is still speaking.”

          I have no idea whether or not this clarifies things for you, but I hope it helps. (Of course, I may be making no sense at all. That’s the downside of cranky moods.)

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          “Nothing gets old-fashoned faster than over-Relevance.”
          — my old DM

    • Patrick Kyle says:

      +1 Irreverence all to often equals an excuse to be unkind or cruel.

  7. Danielle says:

    “Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”! Only descendants of Adam can be saved. God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word). To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.”

    -Ken Ham

    Fan fiction writers! You know what you have to do.

    • Robert F says:

      What a vapid theology Ham’s comment reflects….and how far from the theological depth behind the title “Christ Pantocrator.” For Ham, everything is about who can respond to the gospel, rather than who Jesus Christ is.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It’s a corollary of a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.
        “Say-the-Magic-Words” Salvation at that.
        Yertle-the-Turtle Solipsism with a Christian coat of paint.

    • Any idea why Ham puts a term for Christ’s divinity and humanity, the Godman, in quotations? Since he also puts the terms, “GodKlingon” and “GodMartian” in quotations, it comes off as a mockery about the definitions of Christ’s nature and wills.

      If anything, Ham should know that it will be the “GodVulcan” who will find and save humanity and usher us into a new era of galactic inquiries.

  8. The term you are looking for, CM, is “slactivism.” My sister, a recent graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is on a tirade about this and has been for some time. She decries the social media hat tips that make people feel, as you said, like they are doing something when really they are not. She recently posted a reference to this 30 Rock scene in her social media outlet: http://youtu.be/eMmRBek1G_k

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Ditto this; slactivism is a plague upon civil society. Listening to someone brag that they always LIKE some celebrities posts in order to support X; if the coffee is really good that helps get through it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Take something stronger than coffee for me to endure a “See How Socially Concerned and Compassionate Activist *I* AM” slacktivist.

        Or going berserk to where you see me in the news media.

    • Reminds me of one of the “20 times Joss Whedon was too good at twitter”:

      There is starvation genocide corruption
      environmental destruction happening
      RIGHT NOW we need to take ACTION so far
      I did this tweet

    • Slactivism can be lame, but at the same time, spreading awareness about international injustice is rarely a waste of time.

  9. Scott Fisher says:

    I may not agree with Ken Ham and I find his interpretation of the Bible overly restrictive. I do, however, believe he is a brother in Christ and appears to be sincerely seeking to advance the gospel. Calling him an “idiot” does not promote anything redemptive, particularly in a culture rife with such antagonism between people with differing views who can’t argue their point In a civil manner. We can do better and must try with God’s grace.

    • Scott – I agree with you. Name calling is wrong. But I disagree about Ken advancing the gospel. I don’t think that he ever talks about the Gospel.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        There is no Gospel, only YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISM UBER ALLES.

        Salvation by YEC Alone.

        • I find your lack of enthusiasm is very disturbing. Perhaps you need further reprogramming.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > do, however, believe he is a brother in Christ

      I do not. I am convinced he is mentally ill, and that is the charitable interpretation of his actions [otherwise he is a calculating deceptive cult leader quietly laughing at this ignorant followers while he cashes their checks].

      And even if you are a brother in Christ – at some point you have to call someone what they are. He is on a public stage making idiotic baseless statements as though he has authority. Denouncing Ken maybe will help someone stay outside his sphere of parasitic influence.

    • Scott I agree as well. And calling someone an “alien lizard” just displays how deeply embedded someone is in political culture. NOT reflective of Christ’s example.

      • Faulty O-Ring says:

        Isn’t that from David Icke? Politically, he was never more than a backbencher.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      I have noticed over the years that any similar criticism of anyone within the broad umbrella of “Evangelicalism” will produce this response. I have seen Joel Osteen defended on the grounds that while yes, he preaches rank heresy, someone might come to Jesus through this preaching, so we ought not criticize the rank heresy.

      The interesting thing is that I have never seen a similar defense of someone outside Evangelicalism. Former Evangelicals who have been expelled from the tribe are fair game. So are mainlines, and even more so outright liberal theologians of the sort that Evangelicals imagine to be commonplace within the mainlines. Tell me we ought not criticize John Shelby Spong, or even Katherine Jefferts Shori, on similar grounds and I will sit up and take notice.

      • jazziscoolithink says:

        +1

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        +2

      • Robert F says:

        Criticism and ridicule are different things. Making fun, even name-calling, may have its place, but only in the context of wider explanation that should far outbalance the jibes, which after all are only attention-getters that mostly preach to the choir (if I may be excused for using that metaphor), often somewhat smugly.

        Spong was my bishop. I strongly disliked and disagreed with his ideas, then as now, and considered him as poor a thinker as Ham (though he’s better at faking it, with a veneer of phoney scholarship). No doubt I fell to name-calling and ridicule a few times when talking about him, but after I met the man, and found him very pleasant and human, I regretted making the insults, though I disagreed with him no less.

        • I’m sure that Spong, like Ham, is a very nice, pleasant, and friendly idiot. Being an idiot does not mean completely devoid of value as a human. I have many friends who are idiots. I take the occasional venture into idiocy myself. That doesn’t justify the idiocy, or excuse those who insist on it.

          I do understand that it is much easier to hurl anathemas from the distance of online or social media than it is with a person you are sharing coffee with. But public idiocy merits public censure. If you had the brilliance to put it out there, than have the integrity to stand by it when it is criticized. Or do the sensible thing and listen to your critics.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        When Cornerstone exposed Mike Warnke as a fraud, his fanboys and defenders countered with “Yes, he’s a fraud, BUT HE SAVED LOTS OF SOULS! HOW MANY SOULS HAVE YOU SAVED? HUH? HUH? HUH?”

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      But he is an idiot. Where I come from, you call a spade a spade. He’s a grown man; he can take it.

      • Robert F says:

        Isn’t calling him an idiot equivalent to calling him retarded, both of which insult the class of people with disabilities to whom they actually refer by way of criticizing him, whether or not he is actually one of them? I would think it would be more accurate, and less insulting to those with real disabilities, to call Ham a fool, if you feel strongly about it.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          I’m pretty sure that the term “retarded” is still a term folks much more closely associate with people who have learning differences or mental disorders than the term “idiot.”

        • I didn’t realize that “idiot” had become politically incorrect too, nor that it referred to an actual condition. I thought it synonymous with fool, and for most practical purposes it probably still is. I’m not gonna bust somebody’s chops on this technicality, it’s missing the forest for the trees. “He’s not an idiot, he’s a fool!” No disrespect mean to genuine idiots by associating Ham with them, of course.

          • Robert F says:

            As far as I know, the word “idiot,” when used as an insult, refers primarily to the words denotation of a lack of native intelligence, congenital idiocy to be exact, to insult someone who in fact possesses “normal” intelligence, which means that it still refers to incapacity rather than willful foolishness for its impact.

            Fool, on the other hand, does not refer to diminished intellectual capacity, but to lack of wisdom. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear, the king himself, despite great intelligence, has allowed vanity to make him unwise, and so he is shadowed throughout the play by his court jester, who by no means is unintelligent, and who becomes his reflection, carrying his wisdom for him as he staggers through the repercussions of his foolishness.

            Until the word “idiot” is divested of its clinical meaning, it should be politically incorrect to use it.

          • Robert F says:

            It should be politically incorrect to use the word “idiot” as an insult, that is.

          • I think the word “idiot” IS completely divested of its clinical meaning. Nobody would call a genuine idiot that name, because it would sound like an insensitive insult. Even “retarded” is usually preceded with the modifier “mentally” to show that it is not being used as a slur, though it’s clinical association remains much more strong. I think our culture sees “idiot” as completely synonymous with “fool,” and though your technicality may be correct, it is quickly becoming a moot point in the evolution of language. The only unfortunate thing is that genuine, clinical idiots are insulted when we associate their label with the behavior of fools. It gives idiots a bad name.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

          Yeah, I don’t know man. I’ve never met anyone who used the word idiot in the clinical sense, nor have I met anyone who thought it was in insult to the learning disabled.

      • Robert F says:

        Or perhaps raca…..

    • Is it good to just call someone a name (like, in this case, idiot) out of the blue? No. However, Mr. Ham has been at this for *decades*. Every attempt to reason with him has gone unheard. And his positions get further and further beyond the pale of left field with each passing year. Perhaps name-calling may wake people up to the fact that he is a fundamentalist extremist obscurantist, but most likely not. Perhaps you are right, and we shouldn’t call him names – but if that is the case, we probably shouldn’t call him anything at all. Just let him snuggle up in his own little world, and we’ll get on with working in the real one.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Just let him snuggle up in his own little world, and we’ll get on with working in the real one.

        The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

        “I Reject YOUR Reality and substitute MY own!”

        (But what if The Dwarfs try to force THEIR reality, THEIR own little world on all the rest of us? Culture War Without End?)

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Ken Ham is an idiot.

      Yeah, I’ve heard the saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all,” but the person who made that phrase up must have been an idiot, too, because when intelligent people feel the need to say something that isn’t all that nice, they don’t remain quiet. Instead, they make sure that they’re right and have adequate support, then they go find a mountain top and a bullhorn and make their position very clear.

      Politeness has its place in civilized debate, but it is obvious that Ham is not interested in such a debate. He creates these straw man arguments which poorly represent the arguments of his opposition and picks through the Bible for verses that match his wacky theological convictions like he’s looking for fresh fruit at a farmer’s market. The result is a theology that ignores legitimate rebuttals and makes a laughingstock of the gospel among those who desperately need to hear it the most.

      He’s also contradicting himself in the article Chaplain Mike posted, which usually arise from mixing legitimate claims with his own nutty opinions. For example, he made the very legitimate point that the Bible doesn’t address whether extraterrestrial life exists or not. Non-idiots would follow that statement by asserting that the Bible doesn’t do this because the Biblical narrative is the story of who God is and who we are in relation to Him, and that narrative is messy and complex enough without worrying about whether or not UFOs and little green men are probing the rectums of denizens of trailer parks. A non-idiot would do that…and end the article. Not Ken Ham. Instead, immediately after claiming that the Bible does not address whether extraterrestrial life exists, he goes on to claim that it does, and that argument comprises the entire back half of his article.

      I seriously doubt that Ham even noticed the obvious logical flaw, but whether he did or not, he is not interested in civilized debate that uses logic and evidence as weapons. However, he also wants his arguments to be taken seriously as legitimate theological/scientific debate. So I call him an idiot. It’s not a polite term, but I do much more respect to Ham by offering up my untempered criticism, rather than my politeness.

      • Robert F says:

        Would you call him an idiot to his face? And in front of others? I can hardly think of anyone I would to that with, actually no one, but you might feel differently.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          I absolutely would, and sleep just fine afterwards. Given a choice between being honest and being decent, I always prefer honesty.

          • Robert F says:

            It seems to me that honesty without decency is dishonest, because it implies confidence in one’s own rectitude that is impossible for humans to honestly have.

            Beside, every criticism you have of Ham could be given without insult; the choice is not between telling the truth or keeping silent. That’s a false dichotomy.

        • Faulty O-Ring says:

          What’s the point? If you want to make him look ridiculous, the best way is to just let him talk.

        • You would never insult somebody to their face? This is why you are in a mainline church. :P
          I do recognize it is more difficult to insult in person. I would have no problem calling Benny Hinn a fraud to his face, or Osteen a liar and a heretic. Just because Ham stays within the parameters of fundagelical orthodoxy does not grant him an exemption in my book. A well merited insult is not necessarily indecent. Jesus would not pass that decency test.

          • Robert F says:

            You don’t strike me as a WWJD (what WWJS is a variation of the same thing) kind of guy.

            I repeat, I think it is possible to call someone out on evil acts, and even take a good guess that they have evil in their hearts in some matters, as Jesus did. But why you think it is helpful to call names because of someone’s ignorance or inability escapes me; I don’t see that Jesus ever did that.

            If you are convinced that Ham is doing significant, highly destructive, public evil, say so. Marcus, in his comments below, refused to attribute evil to Ham, but felt justified in calling him “idiot” anyway, saying that Ham’s wrongheaded positions, possibly stemming from ignorance or fear, deserved to be ridiculed. I don’t understand how this is ever justified. I don’t see that Jesus ever did this, if you’re using the WWJD or S criteria, which I don’t think is a good way to chart or own behavior anyway.

          • Right. WWJD is a bad idea because some things he did as our example, but others he did as our substitute. I’m just not very bothered with calling names. I’ve received a few in my life, some were deserved and others not, and neither were pleasant experiences. But they were still positive things: in the first instance, I was bluntly confronted with my err. In the second, I was rudely awakened to how a “friend” really felt about me. I regret neither of those. Speak the truth and shame the devil, I say. I do not think that terminal niceness is the call of every Christian, though certain rhetorical devices should be used with the utmost selectivity. Sometimes such outburst is a confession of our own frustration and inability to continue in tolerance. Consider that even IF that crosses the line, it only crosses the line because the object of the ire has been constantly provoking. I’m not saying that insulting people is always a good way to handle things, but the problem is not so much with the words spoken as it is with the heart that feels those sentiments. Sometimes the first step is admitting the problem, and sometimes the fault does not lie just with one person.

      • Robert F says:

        I know next to nothing about Ham, and I’m not interested in learning more. But from the comments offered here, especially yours, Marcus, it seems that a much better word to describe him would be “evil,” or perhaps “evil-doer,” since you assert that he intentionally ignores his opponents real arguments, and attacks “straw men” of his own making. This obviously exhibits the ill will and mendacity typical of evil.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          I’m not sure if Ham is “evil,” and I actually think that would be a worse, possibly unjust, accusation to make of him. In my opinion, calling someone “evil” implies conclusions about their soul which I would much rather leave up to God to draw.

          Calling someone an idiot, though, is perfectly okay with me. I could call him a “fool,” as you suggested in an earlier post, but that is really just a politically correct version of “idiot,” and I’m not particularly interested in cleaning up my vocabulary solely for the sake of political correctness. It really is solely out of respect for the creators, moderators, and commenters on this website that I practice restraint from using the words I really want to use. But that respect is for the InternetMonk community, not for Ham.

          If it helps, were someone to ask me to address Ham directly, I would not only call him an idiot directly, but I would also use the argument I laid out in my original post to explain why I called him that. I could shake his hand, smile politely, and give him a soft answer like, “I respectfully disagree with the nature of your argument, and am concerned with the degree to which it digresses from the heart of the gospel,” but that’s would be a lie, as I don’t respect him, nor do I respectfully disagree.

          • Robert F says:

            Why would you want to disrespect and insult someone to whom you did not attribute a malicious, that is, an evil, will or motive? If they are merely ignorant, and not willfully so, then how would they deserve your disrespect? If believe they are willfully and knowingly ignorant, how is that not tantamount to being evilly ignorant, and how then are you not making conclusions about their soul? How can you not be making conclusions about their soul when you claim to know what they are interested in: “Politeness has its place in civilized debate, but it is obvious that Ham is not interested in such a debate”?

            Your willingness to insult and execrate those with whom you disagree, no doubt with good cause, reminds me of Martin Luther.

          • Robert F says:

            Btw, Marcus, I’m glad that we’re having this discussion, this disagreement, without proof-texting, or otherwise referring to the Bible in making our arguments.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I can draw conclusions about a person’s capacity to use logic and their educational background versus their inability to use them. I can also draw conclusions about a person’s laziness in dismissing logic and the legitimate arguments of their opposition. Ham isn’t a six-year-old raised on stories he heard in Sunday School; he is an adult with a bachelor’s degree and a list of credentials that suggests he really should know better.

            However, “evil” suggests a level of depravity that I would reserve for the devil, Sauron, and the Joker from The Dark Knight. Otherwise, God gets to swing that label around, not me. Besides, I don’t think Ham is an evil person; I think he’s scared, because the acceptance of the logical fallacies in his arguments means that the ground would fall out from under him. Maybe he’s launching into these wild theological discussions because it’s a defense mechanism for him. I can make all sorts of conclusions about what’s going on in his mind, but I’m not going to make judgments about what’s going on in his soul.

            And, as far as insults go, I fail to see how calling Ham “evil” is somehow less of an insult than calling him an idiot.

          • Robert F says:

            Again, why do you think it’s helpful to insult someone who may be making the mendacious arguments he is because of fear and intellectual frailty rather than malicious ill-will?

            I think that there are times when it is appropriate to attribute evil actions, and even evil motives, to someone, and that this does not involve judging their souls. When you say that he should know better, if you are saying that he should but doesn’t know better, then your insults are gratuitous, but if you are saying that he does know better but pretends not to, you are attributing an evil motive to him.

          • Robert, I think that if you knew more about Ken Ham, you would better understand why some feel “idiot” is a fairly accurate, if certainly unflattering, description. I try to avoid reading about him myself, but he is the Answers in Genesis/Creation Museum/unless you’re a literal six-day creationist, you’re not a Christian guy. That makes it kind of hard to miss, given that he makes $$$ out of his claims *and* misleads people into throwing out science entirely, thinking 99% of the xtians in the world are phony, and…

            I think my own description of his alien rant is this: he has just elevated himself to 5-star crank status.

          • Exactly, Numo. He panders far to profitably for me to cut him a bunch of slack. Rally the troops, *ka-ching!*

    • Robert F says:

      Truth is, we offer insults because we enjoy doing so, it feels empowering, it gratifies our egos, it’s like the gestures mentioned in one of today’s other ramblings: it makes us feel like we’re doing something when we really aren’t. I’m guilty of it, too.

      • We do? We all do, all the time? You genuinely know and understand the internal motives of all insulters with every insult?

        Everybody has an ego, and we all have to do battle with it. But some matters are of infinitely more importance than the demonstration of our pious humility: Namely, the message of Christ. Ham brings ill-repute to the Christian faith. Jesus had no qualms about calling a spade a spade, either.

        There is a way to correct a brother with humility, grace, and discretion. Those avenues have long been exhausted on Ham.

        • Robert F says:

          You’re right, I don’t know everybody’s motives. Apologies.

          But, you’re not Jesus. If you were, you would know the evil in people’s hearts (particularly, religious leaders), and call them out on that, naming it (viper, for example) as evil, and directly rather than to third parties when they’re not in the room. There is no correction going on here; whether Ham is a brother or not.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Sorry, Robert, I’m calling bullshit on that one. Try not to project your own motivations on everyone else on the thread, please.

        • Robert F says:

          Dr., Mea culpa. I’m projecting. You called it correctly. Mea culpa. I’ll try to rein that in.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            Hey, just so we are clear, I really, really appreciate your interaction here at IM. It wouldn’t be the same place without our valuable perspective.

          • Robert F says:

            No worries, Dr. F. Sometimes we play a little rough, and that’s okay. It’s one of the things I like about iMonk; if there isn’t a little pain in the discussion sometimes, then it’s probably not serious enough to bother with, imho.

    • I disagree that Ken Ham is “seeking to advance the Gospel” Actually, I don’t think he knows what the Good News is.

  10. Do you suppose Ken Ham actually believes those things he says? I’m not surprised about his alien statements tho. I have always thot that Christians would have to get in the mix on that one. Now that NASA (was it them/they lol) made a statement that we should/will pursue possibility of alien life, Christians might get fearful and defensive. I think I’ll stop now since not making any sense and am possibly boring. God bless.

    • Christiane Smith says:

      Ken Ham has a ‘following’ to play to, which he does and it has been lucrative for him.

      It is strange how the more dignified world of ‘sola Scriptura’ branched to form the family of ‘the inerrant Bible’ which further divided into groups whose interpretations are built on the statement ‘the Bible clearly says’ and groups that promote the ‘Young Earth’ mythology of people riding on dinosaurs and God planting dinosaur bones and geological scientific evidence in order to ‘test our faith’ in YEC.

      One of the keys of ‘cult’ thinking is not to question or challenge the ‘vision’ of the leader(s). But young evangelicals are asking questions . . . perhaps that is why there is so much emphasis on the ‘home-schooling’ process, so that exposure to real scientific learning is limited and controlled . . . as is also political thinking and cultural thinking. ?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “IT IS WRITTEN! IT IS WRITTEN! IT IS WRITTEN!”

        Should follow it with “AL’LAH’U AKBAR!” Truth in Advertising and all that.

        Ever notice the package-deal linkage between YEC, Rapture Eschatology, Culture War/Jihad/Reconstructionist Takeover, Complemenarianism/Male Supremacy, Hyperliteralist Infallible Bible-as-Koran, Quiverfull breeding programs, and X-treme Homeschooling said Quiverfull weapon systems into Culture War Uruk-Hai?

        All because “IT IS WRITTEN! IT IS WRITTEN! IT IS WRITTEN! GOD HATH SAID!”?

        • [Headless Unicorn Guy] speaks somewhat figuratively and with undue emotion. However, what he says is logical and I do, in fact, agree with it.

          —Mr. Spock, referring to a statement by Captain James T. Kirk, in the Star Trek episode “Whom Gods Destroy.”

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        I pretty much assume that any assertion prefaced by ‘the Bible clearly says” will turn out to be questionable at best and outright blasphemy at worst.

    • Faulty O-Ring says:

      I doubt he has a very solid grasp of the science. Like most people, he probably doesn’t think the alien thing will ever be more than a hypothetical issue. If they do discover microorganisms on Mars, or something along those lines, he can shrug his shoulders and say well, it’s not intelligent alien life.

  11. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > We [womenn] are interested in sex! We’re just not interested in
    > sex with you unless you’re a superhot billionaire.

    Does the author of 50 Shades really think most men didn’t know that already? I have little doubt most men have figured that out by the time they graduate high-school; come on, we aren’t that stupid.

    But, seriously, it does frustrate me sometimes that for a vocal segment of the female population the creepers who haunt the bars with pick-up lines define “men”, when the majority of men have never done that. In a gathering of friends once we actually took a poll on that – with one exception the answer was nobody had, everyone knew it wouldn’t work, why bother [except for the one exception – who fit the superhot-billionaire role – for whom it did work, regularly].

    > Irreverence shows the world how to be real, prophetic and passionate.
    > Irreverence says it like it is.

    I think it does more to betray that the speaker is a callous self-involved jerk.

    Is irreverence what irony becomes when it grows up?

    > Irrevence… we cannot shut down feelings of true sadness with reverent
    > calls to thanksgiving and praise.

    I completely fail to see how Cindy got from A to B here. Some of the best expressions of grief and sadness are extremely reverant, there is a lot of that in the psalms as well as in non-scriptural poetry and music. Is Siegfried Sassoon’s “Death Bed” irreverant? If it is it is not irrevent in the way Cindy is describing. Or Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beech?

    > In order to enter true covenantal relationship with God, we must have
    > the freedom to use the wide range of emotion

    And? There are not jerk-tude ways to express all range of emotions.

    > Frankly, I’ve grown kind of tired of the constant barrage of
    > sacrcasm, irony, irreverence

    +1,000

    > #WeAreN is sweeping the Christian Twittersphere

    And I have never seen one! Yay!

    > don’t know that it has done anything except make people feel like they
    > are doing something when they are doing nothing at all.

    aka Slaktivism.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Never forget:
      50 SHADES OF GREY STARTED OUT AS TWILIGHT FANFIC.
      Bella & EDWARD (sparkle sparkle) with the labels painted over for publication.

      • Faulty O-Ring says:

        Now all that is needed is for someone to write a fanfic of 50 Shades, turning them into…vampires? No, I’ve got it–FURRIES! God clearly desires this. Go to work, HUG.

    • Adam, every man knows that money and power are the only sure fire aphrodisiacs around. Aftershave and comforting words do not make it.

    • Robert F says:

      The Romans put their pornography/erotica on the walls and statuary (effaced by Christians in the ensuing millennia) of the Colosseum and other public buildings. That’s all 50 Shades is, but edited for timid and safe American middle-class consumption, with all the edge taken off. The Marquise De Sade must be rolling over in his grave.

  12. The stunning thing about Ham’s comments isn’t his usual defensive posture towards scientific advancement or the scientists-are-all-out-to-prove-Creationism-wrong meme. It’s that he seems oblivious of the cosmic dimensions of Christ’s redemptive work.: ALL of Creation has been redeemed, not just us homo sapiens.

    It’s ironic that Creationism ignores Creation in this way. Or, rather, given that he did (happily enough) acknowledge the new heavens and new earth that await, it seems he simply hasn’t put two and two together quite yet.

    All that said, I’d have to agree with Scott above that it’s better not to call Ham an idiot. It was an idiotic series of statements he made, and it probably won’t be the last, but it doesn’t help the conversation a whole lot to call him names.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Like I said above about universe vs Punyverse.

      If only Earth exists, if only humans can be redeemed, then WE become MORE IMPORTANT, God’s Speshul Pets.

      And there are Christians who can’t be happy unless THEY are the only ones Saved and everyone else gets to burn in Eternal Hell. It’s called “The Abominable Fancy”.

    • William Martin says:

      It seems odd to me that we can take the Bible and not see that God created other beings such as angels. Not to mention all the things Isaiah and Ezekiel were seeing. I like that all of creation Trevis. What we might really see when we leave this fallen and decaying world behind. I agree with you on the idiot thing. Actually We give him press and time when we even acknowledge him. On another note it isn’t so hard to imagine a reptile living hundreds of years and growing to incredible sizes but now I’m rambling.

      • conanthepunctual says:

        If, using an ultra literalist view of the Bible, you say intelligent beings cannot exist because they are not descendants of Adam and therefore ineligible for salvation, this absolutely ignores angels and using his own method of biblical interpretation creates serious issues for Ham’s point.

        • Almost EVERYTHING Ham says creates serious issues with other things he says. If you look at them with cold hard logic.

          But he ways what many want to hear. Science is out to destroy us. And many people who don’t want to understand the points, or can’t for whatever reason, will follow someone who tells them what they want to hear.

          My only real point of confusion over him is is he in it for the money and knows what he says just doesn’t add up? Or is he in it for real and just doesn’t understand the fallacy of his own arguments?

          I used to be more of the latter opinion, But 10 years into my dealing with what he “teaches” I’m more and more of the first position.

          He just can’t be THAT stupid/ignorant. Or can he?

    • dumb ox says:

      It’s hyper-calvinism/patriarchialism taken to the absurd: only the predestined few are saved; there is no mention of aliens in the bible; therefore, (if they exist), they cannot be saved.

  13. MelissatheRagamuffin says:

    I do think there is relevance to posting things like the Nun in our profiles. It tells the Christians in Iraq that we are praying for them, and maybe there is just the tiniest amount of comfort in that.

    It raises awareness that this is happening. This isn’t being widely reported on by the news media. They’re more focused on the Ukraine and Gaza.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And on “OOOOO!!!!! IT’S KIM KARDASHIAN!!!!!!!!!”

    • I put the ‘nun’ as may avi on FB. Admittedly, it’s not much – but 3 people did ask what it meant. It provided an opportunity to spread the news. That’s something at least.

  14. Robert F says:

    I don’t place irony in the group that includes irreverence, crude language, innuendo and sarcasm. Irony is the central to much of the world’s great literature; Shakespeare’s tragedies, for instance, grew from a core of ironic insight about the tragic blindness of figures who otherwise would be heroic. Same with Sophocles’ Oedipus cycle.

    What passes for irony today is often not really ironic at all. To mention one well-known contemporary example: Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic” contains nary an ironic moment in it at all. Mere surprising disappointment is not ironic; irony requires a subtle, profound turn of simple elements, sort of like a good haiku.

  15. Robert, irony requires a modicum of intelligence, both to state AND to perceive! Irreverence, crude language, innuendo and sarcasm require nothing but an untamed tongue and an undisciplined mind.

  16. I think the saddest thing about Ham and other YEC leaders is that they are unwittingly devastating to the cause of Christ by creating a false dichotomy, whereby one must either choose science or faith, when in fact no such choice needs to exist. Many young people are turning their backs on Christianity because they wrongly believe they have to “check their brains at the door” in order to follow Christ. It’s amazing to me how the YEC, Dispensationalist, extreme fundamentalist version of christianity has become the dominant form of Protestantism in America. If people had just the smallest iota of interest in christian theological history they would see just how out of sync with historic Christian doctrine Ham et al really are and that these interrelated doctrines (young earth, rapture, imminent end of the world) are recent doctrinal developments.

    • I never underestimate the breadth of those IMonk readers, so I am genuinely curious to learn from you.

      My wife and I have dear friends of at least 30 years who home school their kids with what in many respects is a quality classical curriculum. Great literature, math that does not assume the kids are stupid and incapable of learning it, and a strong balance of fine arts and phys ed. However, the science curricula, while strong in many areas, is obsessed with age of the earth issues and arguing that most scientists are at the heart of atheism. The two girls are bright, engaging, and intellectually mature. As teenagers we can begin to see seeds of adult futures. One is likely tracking into engineering; she is very curious about how things go together and function. If her parents let her, she may go to the local STEM high school. The other is very gifted in fine arts as an actress.

      For those of you raised in this curriculum: how does it effect you now?; if you remain in it, why is it important to you that the earth be young?; if you are no longer YEC, was this a traumatic move for you, or did it mean little other than saying to yourself,”I don’t buy it, I’m moving on.”

      Anyone willing to share some experiences?

      Thanks.

      • Vega Magnus says:

        It doesn’t affect me at all really. I do make sure not to mention anything about believing evolution to my family though. I doubt that it would be that big a deal to them, but I’d still prefer to avoid the potential controversy. It wasn’t much of a traumatic change to me. The world makes a hell of a lot more sense now. That’s the way all of my viewpoint shifts over the past couple of years have been. Yes, they did lead to me thinking quite differently, but it has made me feel much better about my views.

      • I was raised YEC and am no longer, but the only difference it has made in my life is that I am less-inclined to get involved in fruitless arguments about evolution with people who know far more about science than I do and are fully capable of giving my rear end a good rhetorical whipping. I don’t espouse evolution either, but neither do I reject the theory altogether. I more or less line up with Michael Spencer’s view on the issue, I suppose.

        To me, it doesn’t really matter how old the earth is and I would imagine that to be true for many others as well. If you’re not going into a scientific field, your position on evolution doesn’t exactly pertain to most areas of your life. This is why I don’t share in the disdain for YEC I hear expressed fairly often. Outside of scientific disciplines, belief in a young earth is relatively innocuous and I am quite ready to agree to disagree with those who espouse the position. It is when YEC is put forth as an essential (or near-essential) of the Christian faith that it becomes harmful.

      • Tom C. – There is a blog about a homeschooler that was “all into” Ken Ham and then came out of it. I think that it is called The Panda’s Thumb? OR something like that.

        • Thanks. I’ll check that out. I’m curious about their perspective and since I’m not in attack mode at the moment I can be compassionate.

    • It’s amazing to me how the YEC, Dispensationalist, extreme fundamentalist version of christianity has become the dominant form of Protestantism in America.

      It wasn’t, until approximately 1976. With the collapse of the mainline project, people had nowhere else to go.

      I would really, really, really like to see CM or someone else handle this.

      • I don’t think the mainlines collapsed in and of themselves. The time you mention was when the church growth movement began to take hold; when the evangelical megachurches started developing. And they did so primarily by drawing people from mainline and historic tradition backgrounds. A lot of it had little to do with theology. It was a cultural, suburban movement that offered many fresh approaches. That was attractive to many people who wanted their cake and to eat it as well — “old time religion” with a contemporary ethos. In contrast, the mainlines were by and large offering a less accessible gospel wrapped in a traditional church experience. And as any of us know who went through the 60’s and 70’s, anything traditional was highly suspect.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And they did so primarily by drawing people from mainline and historic tradition backgrounds.

          And they did so by sheep rustling.

          And as any of us know who went through the 60?s and 70?s, anything traditional was highly suspect.

          But after 50 years of Counterculture and “anything traditional is highly suspect”, the Counterculture IS “what’s traditional”. The Counterculture has become The Establishment.

  17. David Cornwell says:

    “The biography of former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld was revised, describing him as an “alien lizard who eats Mexican babies”.

    Whoops, I helped my grandson writing a civics research paper and used this as a footnote. With added speculation about Dick Cheney.

  18. Re. Wikipedia: What are those two things you’re not supposed to talk about over dinner? Politics and… oh yes, religion. So it’s no surprise that Jesus is the 5th-most edited page on the site leading to my belief that you should have to pass some type of test — much like driving a car — before you’re permitted editorial access. RNS ran the religious pages ranking on Thursday, http://www.religionnews.com/2014/07/24/wikipedia-edit-wars-religious-pages-people-cant-stop-editing/

    For what it’s worth, George W. Bush is the #1 most edited.

  19. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

    1) 50 Shades was an irrelevant, horribly written, pile of smut as a book. As a movie it will be about as tolerable as a Terrance Malik film on mute on a 13″ black and white, and slightly less interesting.

    2) Ken Ham reminds me of an orangutan at the zoo flinging his poo. It is kind of sort of interesting, in a weird juvenile way, but at some point you just have to move along and do grown-up stuff.

    3) I guess I finally have to stop citing wikipedia.

    4) Yes, we are all tired of the shallow-minded, negative drivel that passes as insight these days. If you can’t say something nice, you better be able to say it well. If you can’t, then kindly remain silent.

    • Really?

    • Ken Ham reminds me of an orangutan at the zoo flinging his poo. It is kind of sort of interesting, in a weird juvenile way, but at some point you just have to move along and do grown-up stuff.

      Then you discover that some of your friends are devote followers and start disassociating with you when you don’t swear you allegiance. To the orangutan flinging his poo.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Or your “friends who are devoted followers” start hooting at you and flinging their poo.

  20. Mule Remains Puzzled says:

    RE; Being alone in the universe.

    Does anyone know of any scientists who are tackling the question of why the universe, at least in our neighborhood, seems to display a lack of intelligent signal? I understand that our radio signals have probably not penetrated much beyond HD70642, and they are quite likely quite attenuated, but we should, statistically speaking, be awash with them.

    • Robert F says:

      Perhaps we are the alone. It’s a possibility. I’m inclined to assume that, for practical purposes, we are alone, unless we get definite evidence to the contrary. Even then, other intelligent life would likely be so distant from us that the gap cannot be crossed except by signals that are millions of years old, and who knows what will have transpired at the origin point in that span of time? Extinction? And perhaps, if there is intelligent life out there, any signals that might actually have been sent, even millions of years ago, are ones we do not have means to detect or notice.

    • There is a lack of intelligent signal from D.C….but we do know that there is some sort of activity coming from that place.

      Scientists have picked up the sound of billions of dollars being flushed down expensive toilets.

    • Robert F says:

      Maybe our planet is being quarantined.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Does anyone know of any scientists who are tackling the question of why the universe, at least in our neighborhood, seems to display a lack of intelligent signal?

      Search on “Fermi Paradox”. You’ll find a LOT of speculation on the subject.

      • Robert F says:

        Searched. There’s not a solid piece of evidence that we are not alone. The idea that it is highly unlikely that we are alone is based on mathematical models and projections, with no estimable supporting direct evidence. Perhaps the math is wrong, perhaps the variables fed into the mathematical formula(e) are wrong, who knows? For now we only have educated speculations in search of evidence.

        • Robert F says:

          Although I like the “They are here unobserved” model. It would explain a lot, especially if they are here unobserved and are not adherents of the Prime Directive.

        • Robert F says:

          Years ago, I read halfway through Whitley Streiber’s “Communion,” which was a non-fiction book about his purported experiences with what he claimed to be ET’s/non-human intelligent entities. It gave me enough of case of the creeps that I didn’t read through the entire book, but then, I’m impressionable, and Streiber is a horror writer.

          His experiences, if true, would fit well with the “They are here unobserved” model. The beings he described in that book appeared under different physical guises, and even their mechanical technology seemed like a facade that they put on in a game of make-believe that they were playing with Streiber. He suggested that they may have come from a different dimension, rather than from outer space, and that their technology was more aptly described as psycho-spiritual rather than mechanical.

          If you think about it, a civilization with technology that could quickly cross interstellar and intergalactic space, traveling faster than the speed of light, and probably back and forth through time, would probably be observable to us only when and where they wanted to be, even if they were right under our noses. Poor Streiber suffered terribly from their mostly night visitations, especially because he knew he would be unable to prove that they existed to anyone else, and so he was fated to endure his often frightening ordeal alone.

          So, Mule, maybe they are right there beside you, in your room or car, maybe your house is awash with them, and they just haven’t wanted you to observe them while they observe you……not yet, anyway….

          • Robert F says:

            But as another race of fictional (we must suppose), upside-down plunger-shaped extraterrestrials famously and habitually said, “So it goes.”

          • In which case, borrowing from Arthur C. Clarke, they would be indistiguishable from the ‘honorable bodiless powers of heaven’.

            I have always liked the Islamic tradition of the djinn who are spirits neither baleful nor benevolent, but mostly uninterested in us and our problems, having their own to deal with.

          • Robert F says:

            But Mule, perhaps, as you, steeped in Eastern Orthodoxy, surely know, not all bodiless powers are either honorable, or of heaven (anymore).

          • Robert F says:

            I wonder whether angels would in fact be bodiless or not. Hinduism has a concept that I think it might be useful to expropriate and adapt to Christianity: the “subtle body,” which is comprised of matter/energy, as is ours, but in a different key, or at a higher level, so to speak.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      This is almost impossible to answer. Consider the geometric rate at which information sharing is growing in our own civilization. Now imagine a civilization further along the curve. They probably will only communicate in some kind of self-generating or quantum PKE, that produces totally “random” noise. So, it is safe to say that there is no evidence of anyone trying to communicate with us; probably not so safe to say that there is no evidence of ET life.

  21. I grew up in Cubs territory. My memories are of my Grandpa watching the game on TV. I would wait for him to fall asleep so I could turn on Woody Woodpecker. While I can’t say I’m a “fan,” I will say that they’re the team I most identify with. Fans never seem to get a break.

    Sadly, I fear that all Cubs fans will soon be adopting Jack White’s Cubs face:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-jack-white-cubs-game-20140723,0,5616614.story

  22. Jack White probably has that look on his face because he can’t find a decent barber.

  23. Juniper says:

    “Ken Ham is an idiot.”

    Res ipsa loquitur.

  24. Vega Magnus says:

    You want to see the effects of constant snarky irreverence in high doses? Go read Gawker or any of the other sites in the Kinja network. Total drivel.

  25. From personal experience, I have found that when I am initially dead-set on including an irreverent or snarky remark in one of my blog posts (or in any other medium), I usually think better of it and delete it during the editing process.

    Overall, I would agree with Chaplain Mike. I would include satire as an exception to the rule, which Brandt mentioned in her piece but isn’t really the same thing as what she’s talking about at all. When reading Swift or Voltaire or the Onion or Lark News for that matter, we instinctually understand that the material is to be taken seriously and not-seriously at the same time; exaggerations and inflammatory language that would be at best rude and at worst scandalous in ordinary discourse are just a regular part of satire that befits its nature. Being rude, disrespectful, or vulgar in a serious opinion piece, on the other hand, is usually out-of-place and harmful to civil discourse.

    Furthermore, if you want to emphasize the weight of your anathemas, it is far more effective to be simply harsh and direct than to be vulgar. I would echo Rob’s above mention of Luther to illustrate this: in his writings against the papacy, even one pronouncement of the pope as “Antichrist” comes across as far more powerful than all of his vulgar insults, because only the serious (but harsh) reproach really carries the weight necessary to convey the seriousness of the condemnation. I wish people would stop throwing around the word “heretic” so much, because with regard to the true meaning of the word, there are few more damning things you can say about a false teacher than “he is a heretic.” No curse words needed.

  26. Patrick Kyle says:

    For me the whole Creation /Evolution debate is a false dichotomy. In order for something to be a scientific fact it has to be observable and repeatable. Both evolution and creationism fail this test. Both theories have serious if not fatal flaws. I have made peace with not knowing. However we arrived here, I believe God was in charge, but I suspect that the mechanism of our origins is one of the ‘secret things’ that God has reserved to Himself.

  27. Radagast says:

    Enough have echoed my sentiments on the irreverence thing…. Ham isn’t even on my radar…

    I thought I’d go off on a tangent for a moment and comment on the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. Surprising someone hasn’t connected it with the Rapture or God’s punishment. In fact I don’t see it getting a lot of airplay as a whole but it seems, outside of being the biggest outbreak since its discovery in the 1970’s (over 688 dead in three countries), there seems to be a lot of trouble containing it and keeping it out of population centers. this will be something to keep an eye on over the coming weeks…..

  28. There is something wrong with making absolute doctinal statements about things no on knows for sure. This may be a window into the soul of many religious movements: an escape from an unsavory reality through obsession for meaningless hypotheticals.

  29. Rick Ro. says:

    I’m just wondering why anyone would think the Creator of the universe would stop with only one habitable planet. That would be like a master-storyteller stopping after telling only one story. That’s not to say we’ll ever SEE another planet with life on it, I’m just saying why wouldn’t we think He’s got another planet somewhere that He’s made for His benefit. There may not be any scripture supporting that notion, but anyone who knows the character and nature of God might sorta believe that, right?

  30. Hi, prob no one will read this but was thinking about folks upset over calling Ken Ham an idiot. No one really means that he is an idiot, on the retardation scale, lol. It’s an “expression.” Everyday I say to myself, “you are SUCH an idiot. I look at TV and say “what an idiot.! I was driving down a road years ago w/my daughter in child seat, when car zipped out in front of me from hidden road, and she yelled “You I idiot!,”all of 1 1/2 years. Nothing to do with I.Q., just frustration. Am sure Ham is very smart guy, I.Q. Wise