Monday, January 01, 2007

HAPPY 2007. . .

and now for something entirely the same. . . .


Well—we’ve now reached an American death toll in Iraq of 3000. That means we’ve more than paid Osama back for the less than 3000 people he killed in New York. It’s time to quit paying him, life for life, and get out of Iraq.


Diligent research by Martian archaeologists leads some authorities to the conclusion that this enigmatic figure on the right (discovered in Martian year 200,065) may have had something to do with the end of the human species of America and, more specifically, with the end of what was called in certain fragmentary documents they have recovered, "The American Dream".


Recently on a Tom Harmon radio segment, a Bible-believer claimed that the four gospels were based on eye-witness accounts, written not more than 50 years after the events described. Okay, not exactly true, but….so…. what does “eye-witness” signify?

Here’s some modern eye-witness testimony from Sunday’s Spokesman Review. All it takes is a little imagination to understand what an eye-witness account can be blown up into and how much validity any eye-witness account has:

An account of a ferryboat tragedy in Indonesia reads, “Witnesses reported seeing lifeboats carrying more survivors [none yet found]. . . and one person on board the ferry said most people had time to put on life jackets. Other survivors reported panicked passengers fighting over life jackets” as the ferry capsized. Now imagine someone, 50 years later, writing down that incident with only a handful of eye-witness accounts which had been passed down by word of mouth for decades. And imagine that these eye-witness accounts reported in our little local Spokesman are only a few of the disparate accounts coming from other eye-witnesses, being interpreted by other reporters and passed on to their listeners.

Or how about the hanging of Saddam Hussein? “ ‘He was shivering and his face was pale,’ said one witness who asked not to be identified…. Faroun [another witness] saw a different Saddam. ‘He was holding tight. He was not scared,’ he said.” Here’s two accounts of the same event with entirely different takes on Saddam at the time of his hanging. Each of these men will spread a different account of Saddam’s last moments, add in details that may or may not have been witnessed or witnessed inaccurately. As you can see, it all depends on what you personally have at stake in the matter.

Further, we must realize that none of the gospels are written from the point of view of an observer, as first person narratives, so the accounts don’t even show that they are first person narratives. They're written just like any general fiction book.

The writing of the four gospels, according to the scholars I read, was stretched out over 125 years, John having been written about 125 CE (Common Era). Two, Luke and Matthew were copies of Mark which may have been written as early as 50 years after the events supposedly happened. But by 50 years after the events described, when life expectancies were 25 years, may have been almost as much as two generations after the event described. That would have been like you or I writing down stories about our grandfathers which were told to us by others as if they were gospel and, then, spreading them as if they were gospel truth. We would not have any newspaper accounts or radio or TV broadcasts to help us with our task of separating out truth from fiction. And many of us would be hearing these tales months or years after the events described when someone wandered into our neighborhood with a tale we would either believe or not believe, depending upon our gullibility. Most of us, had we lived then, would be like African natives who have been and are being converted in recent centuries to this Christian tale of magical happenings. Our children, if we preach them this tale, are learning of this stuff exactly like early ignorant peoples were told the tale by missionaries. Each of us is missionary to our own children, selling them tales of magic, superstition and fortune telling or selling them tales based in fact.

I’m beginning to believe that some local fakir did gather a following in that far-distant time and his claims and beliefs (some of which were incredibly far-sighted) were reported and spread and later written down and turned into godly activities, but we have before us in America the Mormon experience which has established a tradition of its own in modern times, and we can witness, more or less, how this nutty event of finding gold tablets gets blown up by people coming after into something holy and miraculous when all it was was the claims of someone who was either a nut case or a con man. To believe any of the golden tablet stuff is to show oneself highly gullible. Where are the golden tablets? Where are they? Show me the golden tablets. What do you think I am—an ignorant fool?

And I ask the same thing of any believer in any hypothetical superbeing—show me the goods i.e. gods. Not too much to ask. Show me the proof. What do you think I am—an ignorant savage? Along this line of thinking—I can imagine that somewhere, deep in the bowels of the Mormon church, people are trying to create tablets which can’t be proven to be fake, otherwise Mormons are forever openly subject to being seen as incredibly gullible fools who are afraid to demand the proof. But, then, they were predisposed to being gullible by those gullible fools who have gone before in other religious guises.

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