Thursday, June 28, 2007

Jonathan Edwards sees the light

'I have never been happier' says the man who won gold but lost God.
I know that in the USA professing christian sportstmen are two-a-penny, but for the United Kingdom this is big, BIG news.

He was of the quiet "muscular" English christianity like you saw in the film "Chariots of Fire" with the character Liddle. Edwards mirrored Liddle's faith by also refusing to compete on Sundays.
He used to co-host a TV program called "Songs of Praise" and was such a decent, upright, open and approachable kind of man that christians were rightly proud to have such a man and athlete fronting their faith.
True to his character, the things he has said regarding his loss of faith show his honesty and integrity:
"I never doubted my belief in God for a single moment until I retired from sport," he says. "Faith was the reason that I decided to become a professional athlete, in the same way that it was fundamental to every decision I made. It was the foundation of my existence, the thing that made everything else make sense. It was not a sacrifice to refuse to compete on Sundays during my early career because that would imply that athletics was important in and of itself. It was not. It was always a means to an end: glorifying God.
"But when I retired, something happened that took me by complete surprise. I quickly realised that athletics was more important to my identity than I believed possible. I was the best in the world at what I did and suddenly that was not true any more. With one facet of my identity stripped away, I began to question the others and, from there, there was no stopping. The foundations of my world were slowly crumbling."

I am so pleased for him.
I am so pleased he is handing it logically, rationally and publicly.
This is a big score for secularism.

(ps apologies for big gap in posting. My Orange LiveBox crashed and I was at the mercy of French customer support. A new oxymoron 'french customer support' + 1 week holiday in Blighty. I was back online at 2pm today with a shit-load of spam in my inbox)

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

What the Dickens?!?

"I never, in my life, saw anything at once so ridiculous and so unpleasant as this sight"

So spoke Charles Dickens in 1845 when, in Rome, he saw catholic pilgrims climbing "The Holy Stairs" on their knees.
Why do they perform this ritual?
Apparantly the stairs are so holy, that it would be sinful to sully them with shoes, plus. from the kneeling vantage, pilgrims can peer through holes in the wood that covers the original marble stairs to see the spots of Jesus' blood.
Completing this task gets them a "full indulgence of their sins".

What a bargain! 28 wooden steps, on your knees and your sins are wiped clean!
Several popes have undergone the ritual of ascending the 28 marble steps on their knees. What? I'd do the damn thing daily if I believed it wiped out my sins!
These stairs were brought from Jerusalem to Rome in the 326AD by St Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, and placed in the former papal palace opposite the basilica of St John Lateran. They originally led to the praetorium, or judgment hall, of Pontius Pilate's palace in Jerusalem.
The stairs are in the news because the frescoes that surround the stairs have recently been restored. Francesco Buranelli, the director of the Vatican Museum, said: "These are some of the most important, but least well known, frescoes in Rome, and they open a new page for 16th century art". The American Getty foundaton has contributed to most of the restoration. What, the vatican is on the skids? Holy Church is broke and can't clean its own artworks?
Apparantly the restorers found chewing gum stuck to the wood of the stairs. It seems some penitents were'net overawed by the holiness of the steps. Never mind, the sin of gum litter would also have been wiped clean by step 28.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

The little french things I love. Part 1

There are a few things in France I can't stand.
I hate the way that "pay as you go" cards for mobile phones have a time limit on them. If I buy a 10Euro card, the thing is only valid for 15 days after I activate it. All the operators are the same, so it must be a cartel.
I hate the way is so much more expensive than, and even It seems the french haven't quite grasped the idea that second hand goods have a lower value than new.

But there are many, many more things that I love. Here I talk about knives, Rabelais and Banania. I'll find some more cute french oddities to share.


I love the Bible

Because it is so WEIRD!

The latest weirdness I've been looking at in the Bible, is the issue of people taken phisically, bodily, direct to heaven, without dying.
Our candidates are:
Enoch: (Genesis 5:22-24 & Hebrews 11:5)
Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away.

Elijah: (2 Kings 2:11)
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind

Moses: By inference, because he appeared with Elijah when Jesus was "Transfigured"
Jesus: Well, duh.
Mary, mother of Jesus: by Pope Pius XII, on November 1, 1950
By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory

What I find weird is that we are taught, we assume that heaven is a spiritual place, somewhere we can't go. Yuri Gagarin was the first to go into space and declared that he couldn't find it. And yet thare are at least 4 (if you want to stick to the Bible) and maybe more actual flesh and blood people there. Do the still talk? Sweat? Sleep? Dream? Shiver? Laugh? Cry?
As physical things we are affected by gravity. These guys in heaven, do they walk about or float, or teleport, or what? HOW DOES IT WORK?

But that's why I love the Bible, I never seem to find an end to the weirdness and surprises. Because I was reading about Enoch, I found all that stuff about how old those guys were supposed to be, and about the Nephilim. Weird. I'll never know why christians don't blush. When I was a christian, we studied cults in church (JW, Mormonism, Scientology etc) to be better armed against heresy. How could we laugh at Smith translating the Book of Mormon thru his magic goggles and not see how stupid our own beliefs were?

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

KT is a fine YouTuber

KT45 has a few videos up on YouTube. His animation is starting to get more complicated. If you have ever tried ANY animation you'll know that even this "South Park" styleee stuff is a tedious process.

But never mind the look, (which I like anyway) consider the content. If you got anything from theis video by KT, go to his YouTube channel and watch his other stuff.