Friday, December 30, 2011

Peculiar Underpants As Well

IF YOU have been watching the drawn-out kabuki exercise that is America's presidential election, it may be that you are too polite to wonder aloud how any nation could even consider entrusting its supreme office to a man who believes the risen Jesus turned up in the Americas, where He arranged for his updated scriptures to be recorded on gold tablets destined to be found 1,900 years later by a confidence man and Ponzi schemer, who proceeded to lose them before anyone else could have a gander? If you have not been following the US election, that man would be Mitt Romney, who may well get the Republican nomination.

Mind you, it is not his Mormonism that is the greatest concern. Unlike adherents of a certain other religion, no Latter Day Saint has blown himself, at least not intentionally, and it is well over a century since a non-believers' wagon train has been massacred in Utah. This might have something to do with the Mormons' renunciation of polygamy. If so, the other religion which still embraces multiple wives might do well to follow suit. A fellow who can't take a drink or draw consolation from the companionship of a faithful dog while being hectored by a quartet of shrill women is naturally going to regard TNT and exploding vests as key ingredients in a viable life-improvement strategy.

No, the real reason why Romney is to be feared is quite simple: he is not a good businessman. With more than a year before he can be installed in the White House -- a year in which he might have exploited his front-running status to the maximum financial advantage -- he has already sold himself at a market-opener price.

Read this and feel a genuine sympathy for those poor Americans, who will have to choose between the current, ghost-written American president on one hand and the bought-and-paid-for Romney on the other.

Still, Romney might not be that bad. A magic salamander in the cabinet could provide a welcome diversion as Europe folds, America revisits the 1930s and China, where no official economic numbers can be believed, is swallowed by domestic upheaval.

Is there no way, even at this late stage, New Jersey's reluctant Governor Chris Christie could be dragged off his (very) broad acre and dropped onto the Republican ticket? There might a be a little hope if that were to happen -- not much hope, just a little.


  1. PhillipGeorge(c)nearly 2012December 30, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Ron Paul - why not a word on Ron Paul?

  2. Christie isn't running because he knows he wouldn't win in 2012, as I suspect Romney or any other Republican can't, either. The choice of opposition candidate only determines how much voter fraud it will take to get Obama another four years.

    As to Mormonism, its origins seem odd only because they occurred in relatively recent recorded history. The shenanigans at the start of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, or any religion you want to name would look just as ridiculous if they weren't lost in ancient mythology.

  3. Actually, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal would wipe the floor with all those mutts currently fighting for the Republican presidential nomination if he chose to run.

  4. "blown himself"? While that would be an impressive feat, although not something I would wish to watch, I think you meant "blown himself up".

  5. Gov Christie does a splendid job as a 'fiscal conservative', but otherwise he is generally a progressive.

    And Kevin Williamson likes to stir the pot a lot before he has buckle down and decide to vote against Obama. Until Oct 12, he can continue to whine about having no suitable candidate to vote for.


  6. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 30, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    The Magic Salamander has a long history, Prof, and not just in the Morman folkloric traditions of the Americas. It was the emblem of Francois 1, who built the fairy-tale Chateau of Chambord on the Loire in the first half of the 16th Century. The salamander was was also the emblem of Mary Queen of Scots.

    The King's letter "F" is inscribed everywhere in the chateau along with his dragon-like salamander, a fiercely cold creature which paradoxically lived in fire.

    Francois' motto was "I live among it and extinguish it".

    So the salamander - a useful magic trick for putting out political fires, and that letter F will be a good reminder of a handy expletive for when the beast goes belly up.

    Don't think that's the official Mormon view though.

  7. "As to Mormonism, its origins seem odd only because they occurred in relatively recent recorded history."

    Good point. The symbolic cannibalism in Holy Communion being an example.

  8. PhillipGeorge(c)nearly 2012December 31, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    Anonymous at 12.59pm [sic], don't wish to prick your scientism bubble but if you have a shred of evidence that any of the claims of Christianity/ the Gospel accounts are fraudulent or impossible you should present it.
    Walter Plinge - even three minutes reading will tell you that "transubstantiation" is particular and peculiar to Roman Catholic communion. There are at least two hundred classes of rhetorical device used in all of scripture including metaphor, similitude and sarcasm. One should read text as a "grown-up" might read the real world. Perhaps the sarcasm bits might cause you some confusion. You might then not "see past" a lot of things Jesus said. It is a common thing - and how you ended up with a "carbon tax" [its not carbon being taxed] and a "draught proofing" desalination plant that runs off hyperbowls. Love it. The Prof, probably didn't want to be haunted by fundies with their own hyperbole though, and if the good sacred secularists were to second the motion I'd be dusting my sandals at the cyber gates. [with Greens to rule unchecked by 'narrow minded religious bigots']

  9. "...but if you have a shred of evidence that any of the claims of Christianity/ the Gospel accounts are fraudulent or impossible you should present it."

    Well, as with AGW, the person making the claim should have to present evidence to prove it, rather than unbelievers having to present evidence that it is untrue. Therefore I put it to you that there is not a shred of evidence that any account in the Gospels ever occurred.

    And as a bonus, I will present the following as evidence that the Gospels are indeed fraudulent: The genealogies linking David to Joseph are completely different. Matthew has 28 generations, Luke has 43. Apart from David at one end and Joseph at the other, there are only three names in the two lists that are the same.

    It seems the Bible suffered from the same editing problems that the SMH is experiencing now.

    jupes (not the anonymous above)

  10. PhillipGeorge(c)nearly 2012December 31, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    jupes, its a while since I looked at that so cannot run the answer off the top of my head, but you might realise that most people have two parents - while admittedly Adam may have had three or a non specific plurality of being "Father". Maternal and Paternal genealogies have to be different- there is no alternative.
    I believe Israel today still has a problem deciding who is Jewish/ simply means of the tribe of Judah, Versus, who is Israeli(of Jacob) and who are proselyte additions to the tribes. If one is a proselyte who is to say which of twelve tribes one is joining themselves to. Rabbinical lawyers, I was lead to believe, have a theological/ philosophical problem deciding if genealogy should run through the paternal or maternal line. Given that paternal ties aren't so easy to prove they have a difficulty maintaining a Patriachal lineage. This is not your definitive answer but it satisfies me to say something coherent even without checking exhaustively today. It is perfectly reasonable to suspect that one of the gospel authors was being deliberately provocative to consensus "Roman dominated" Rabbinical authority - which in itself is consistent with the gospel narrative. I won't try to run a book off on this though. The smitten Apostle Paul actually warned not to try to maintain the genealogies - while God knows them - trying to prophesy on that basis is fraught with danger.

    Finally are you absolutely sure who your own biological father is. While most people are fairly certain as many a 10 might be wrong if every single individual was to be tested. There are a lot of metaphorical skeletons in the closet. I am certain my own father wasn't negro or chinese. My surname, I might argue, is actually, like my birthday, a matter of "faith" because I don't remember who was present at my own conception or water breaking event. For most people, their birthday is technically "hearsay, not admissible in court, without the proper documentation to back them up!

  11. PhillipGeorge(c)nearly 2012December 31, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    jupes, that should read "10%" -
    ie. there are a lot of not metaphorical bastards out there who believe they know their genealogies. Which "one" is correct is a forensic question.

    Moreover jupes, the difference is a powerful witness that there was little or no collusion between Luke and Matthew. While Luke and Matthew may well have had access to Mark or bits of it they didn't have access to each other's writings - or honestly disagreed with each other and wouldn't back down. John may not have had access to any of the others.

    Points of "so-called" inconsistency or contradiction rather than disproving the central claims and authority rather enhance it.

    No-one can perfectly agree on something as mundane as the sacking of the Whitlam government. Inconsistencies in reportage actually add weight to the central claims made - rather than detract from them.

    It is how Judicial determinations are often arrived at. If two stories are perfectly the same there is strong inference of collusion or plagiarism with intent to deceive true authorship.

  12. " If two stories are perfectly the same there is strong inference of collusion or plagiarism with intent to deceive true authorship."

    Oh dear.

    So you agree then, that there is no "Gospel truth". Good.

    The question I have is how do you know what actually happened? Who do you believe? If Luke, or Matthew (or both) are wrong about the genealogies, how do you know they're not wrong about the rest of it?

    One may expect small inconsistencies in news reporting (though I wouldn't forgive a difference as large as the example above), however if someone is writing the word of God, then you would expect God to have some sort of influence in the final product. Surely.

    And if you could provide a shred of evidence to support the claim that Christian beliefs have any credibility whatsoever, it would be appreciated.


  13. I'm the original anonymous whose complaint about Mr(c)'s latest sermon on the mount seems to have got started this pointless religious discussion. I'm a fan of Mr(c)'s rambling and often incoherent comments but I do wish that, as a man of faith, he would reserve the religious component for his Sunday School classes.

    Does Western Civilization depend for its soul on the Christian faith as Mr(c) asserts? I'm inclined to think so although throughout the centuries the faith has produced many kinds of strange fruit. Surely in a place as crazy as America it could only be a matter of time before a Mormon was elected president.

    But what of the bearded, hijabbed and ignorant Muslim hordes now invading our fair cities and countryside at the behest of our multi-culturalist betters? Is Western civilization doomed as we know it? Has the cycle of fundamentalism run its course just so that a new one can begin?. Even donkeys don't make the same mistake twice. Or so the proverbial wisdom might suggest, but the donkeys have indeed made the same mistake twice.

  14. Mr. Jupes (if it's Ms. Jupes, acceept my apology).
    The reason for the two geneaologies you mention is because of two parents. Even though both are said to be Yosef's genealogy, one (Luke's account I believe) was Miriam's. It was common practice when a Hebrew couple married that the wife became a member of her husband's tribe, and the husband then also adopted his wife's genealogy. Somewhat like "You're not losing a daughter, you're gaining a son". The tribal changover thing is reflected in our current practice of the wife taking on her husband's family name, a practice now also under change.
    Regarding proof of the Gospel's message, let me offer you one. We are aware that people often go to their deaths believing that they are going to better things afterwards, be it heaven or the brothel in the sky loaded with perpetual virgins and young boys "with lips like rubies", and they embrace their death because of their belief.
    No one however goes gladly to their death believing what they know to be a lie. Yet the Apostles, or 11 of them, continued preaching and died gruesome deaths preaching a resurrected Saviour of mankind. Would they have done that if they thought it was all hocus pocus?
    PG - According to the scriptures, tribal alignment comes down the paternal line (the Y-dna). A woman is a member of her father's tribe until she marries, then she becomes a member of her husbands tribe. "Hebrewness" comes though the maternal line.
    To get back to the topic of this post, the best Republican candidate unfortunately didn't run. That's Allen West, I would have gone over the pond to vote for him if he stood. My second preference is Ron Paul.

  15. C'mon, be fair. Between believing (1) that a supreme being wants its followers to wipe out another group of humans because they offend it, or (2) believing that one is eating a supreme being's offspring's flesh and drinking it's blood, or (3) believing that one's essence leaps to another body when the first body dies, we can easily make out any religious person to be deluded and mentally ill.

    Me, I'm an agnostic. But, when I look at even a partial list of people who were far, far smarter than I but who were devoted religious believers - such as Einstein, Kelvin, Planck, Mendel, Faraday, Boyle, Newton, Darwin, etc. - well, I can certainly respectfully disagree with them, but only a fool would ridicule them.

    Mitt (weird name - "Mitt"?) gives us plenty of well-founded reasons to be wary of him as a national leader without resort to ignorance-based ridicule. Just as I'm sure that Tony Abbott doesn't really believe that he's drinking Jesus' blood at church every Sunday, I doubt Mitt takes the Book of Mormon completely literally.

    Heck, it's actually comforting that some of our leaders subscribe to an externally-imposed structured moral framework instead of the relativistic morality that's fashionable amongst the make-fun-of-religion set. Imagine an entire world full of Obama's, lying whenever it seems helpful to themselves. No, thanks.