Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Cast the wicked out
September 3, 2005 12:30 AM   Subscribe

American Family Association is at it again, from their Christian News Media Serivce, Agape Press... "Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, also sees God's mercy in the aftermath of Katrina -- but in a different way. Shanks says the hurricane has wiped out much of the rampant sin common to the city.... “New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again.""
posted by SirOmega (77 comments total)

 
Ok, I'll say it: The irony, of course, is that there is no god.
posted by mullingitover at 12:45 AM on September 3, 2005


The wrath that Jesus - in his mercy - has wrought on the poor and downtrodden in New Orleans is a disgusting display of the Power of God.

If Heaven is spending eternity with Christians and a God like this, give me Hell.
posted by three blind mice at 12:47 AM on September 3, 2005


Oh, for the love of... BOB!
posted by loquacious at 12:49 AM on September 3, 2005


three blind mice : "If Heaven is spending eternity with Christians and a God like this, give me Hell."

If Heaven and the Christian god do exist, I can pretty much guarantee you that Heaven will be quite free of Christians like this and a God like this.
posted by Bugbread at 12:49 AM on September 3, 2005


Can I just say, and forgive me if this is offensive, fuck him.
posted by cytherea at 12:52 AM on September 3, 2005


If Heaven is spending eternity with Christians and a God like this, give me Hell.

Slight derail. This brings to mind Letters From Earth:
For instance, take this sample: he has imagined a heaven, and has left entirely out of it the supremest of all his delights, the one ecstasy that stands first and foremost in the heart of every individual of his race -- and of ours -- sexual intercourse!

It is as if a lost and perishing person in a roasting desert should be told by a rescuer he might choose and have all longed-for things but one, and he should elect to leave out water!

His heaven is like himself: strange, interesting, astonishing, grotesque. I give you my word, it has not a single feature in it that he actually values. It consists -- utterly and entirely -- of diversions which he cares next to nothing about, here in the earth, yet is quite sure he will like them in heaven. Isn't it curious? Isn't it interesting? You must not think I am exaggerating, for it is not so.
-Mark Twain.
posted by mullingitover at 12:54 AM on September 3, 2005


People suck.
posted by nightchrome at 12:56 AM on September 3, 2005


Any god that would do such a thing is a fucking cock. Any fervent worshiper of such a god is worse.

That's not my god*. Their god is a god of hate and cruelty. I want the corpse of Jesus to rise and kick them in the balls. Right in the fucking balls.

* I don't even know if I have a god, but that asshole certainly isn't it if I do. And if that is the one, true god, send me straight to hell, bitch. I'll gladly suffer for all eternity if only to spite you.
posted by zerokey at 12:56 AM on September 3, 2005


What kind of bs is that? People like him are the reason why I could never be a Christian despite being raised in the faith. They teach you to show compassion for your fellow man. His idea of compassion is obviously fubared.
posted by yueni at 1:01 AM on September 3, 2005


And if that is the one, true god, send me straight to hell, bitch. I'll gladly suffer for all eternity if only to spite you.

Testify zerokey! Testify!
posted by three blind mice at 1:03 AM on September 3, 2005


His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again.

This is a great idea. In fact, I think they should bulldoze everything and then just air lift Colorado Springs on the the newly leveled site.
posted by wfrgms at 1:05 AM on September 3, 2005


This reminds me of an interesting essay that Asimov wrote, quite a number of years ago.

At one time, lightning was a sign of God's wrath. If someone was hit by lightning, it was because they were a dreadful sinner. Buildings that were hit must have housed sinners, or must have somehow caused sinful behavior. Thunderstorms were the clearest and most potent sign of an angry, vengeful God. It's quite hard to overstate the power that this myth held on humanity.

The introduction of the lightning rod changed all that. It was an outgrowth of a discovery by Pieter van Musschenbroek. His Leyden jars (named for the University of Leyden) were basically very early capacitors. They had a metal post sticking up from them. What he found was that a pointed electrode would not hold a charge; if the metal was pointed, the electrons could jump from the tip into the open air. I'm not sure if they understood WHY it worked at the time, but it was known that a pointed tip dissipated charge.

So Franklin, using that knowledge, introduced his lightning rods. Now, lightning rods are NOT meant to be hit by lightning, as so many people think. Rather, they are mean to to discharge the very powerful buildup of electrons in the ground underneath a building. Because they are pointed, the electrons can easily jump off the tiny surface area at the tip directly into the open air. Air is one of the best insulators known, and it takes one whopping charge to blow through several miles of the stuff. A lightning rod can very often bleed off enough charge to avoid a strike. Of course, if the charge builds up too quickly, the rod itself becomes a prime target, being highly conductive, high in the air, and directly connected to ground. If a lightning rod is actually hit, it didn't work properly. Folks are just mistaken about what they're supposed to be doing.

The religious crowd scoffed at Franklin and his lightning rods... how could you control God's anger with a piece of metal? People started installing them anyway, however, and pretty soon, folks noticed that they worked. When the local church is hit, but the bordello with the lightning rod is spared, that gets people to thinking. It caused, as you can imagine, arguments nearly as vociferous as today's about evolution versus creationism.

What finally decided the argument was a terrible catastrophe in a town in Spain. They had stockpiled a great deal of explosives in the safest of all possible places, under the church. Well, the steeple was hit, the munitions were set off, and the entire town was leveled, with great loss of life.

It was Asimov's opinion that this was the moment religion truly and finally lost the battle against science as the best way to explain the world. The explosion of that church, as tragic as it was, showed that lightning was simply unrelated to God's anger. When such a powerful symbol is so thoroughly discredited, people remember.

It would appear that that memory, however, is a bit shorter than it should be; the American Family Association is just the next generation of chuckleheads. Same crap, different actual phenomenon.

Sorry for the long aside. I found Asimov's original essay fascinating, and it seemed highly relevant. I hope I did it justice. Please forgive any inaccuracies, it has been many years since I read it.
posted by Malor at 1:15 AM on September 3, 2005


Malor, that was a wonderful read. Thanks!

Is the essay from Asimov's Guide to the Bible? If so, I'm moving it up on my priority list.
posted by zerokey at 1:24 AM on September 3, 2005


We need a new Mencken:

"If we assume that man actually does resemble God, then we are forced into the impossible theory that God is a coward, an idiot and a bounder."

"The most curious social convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected."

"...such a thing as a truly enlightened Christian is hard to imagine. Either he is enlightened or he is Christian, and the louder he protests that he is the former the more apparent it becomes that he is really the latter."

"What is the function that a clergyman performs in the world? Answer: he gets his living by assuring idiots that he can save them from an imaginary hell."

And, appropriately enough:

"All the leaders of groups tend to be frauds. If they were not, it would be impossible for them to retain the allegiance of their dupes..."
posted by umberto at 1:24 AM on September 3, 2005


Thing is, sins can only be committed by the living. So it's true, in a Judge Death kinda way.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:27 AM on September 3, 2005


*Prays for Rev. Bill Shanks to be struck by lightning*
posted by zarah at 1:32 AM on September 3, 2005


God is an unnecessary complication of an otherwise elegant universe.
posted by holycola at 1:58 AM on September 3, 2005


You know, if he were Muslim, every imam across the country would be asked to condemn this guy using the strongest possible language.

But he's a Christian, so I guess it's okay. Free pass for everyone who believes in Abrahamic God A but not Abrahamic God B.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:04 AM on September 3, 2005


New Orleans is now PEOPLE free, isn't it?

Except for those who are still swimming towards high ground...

Fuck those people who try to prosyletize those who have just seen their lives destroyed. That is cheap and evil.
posted by BoringPostcards at 2:24 AM on September 3, 2005


What a dear, dear man Isaac Asimov was. I miss him.

As for the Rev. Shanks. Well Woof! It is such a relief to get a new name to fart on. I was getting tired of Falwell, Robertson, and Phelps.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:37 AM on September 3, 2005


Yeah, so yesterday I'm at McDonald's with my kids. This guy walks in all full of dried paint on his hair and clothes. He sits down with his food, and then starts preaching out loud to the entire restaurant about how the hurricane is God's way of punnishing the whores and the homos who are now paying the price for their sins.

So some elderly woman blurts out "I'm not a whore or a homo. How come I just paid $3.35 for a gallon of gas?" He couldn't answer her question, but went on to say that he pays nothing because Jesus died on a cross and automatically pays all of his bills. Not sure if that's Paypal or what...
posted by dingobully at 3:03 AM on September 3, 2005


This Shanks, these people who say things like this, are insane. That's the bald truth of it. Let's please start treating them like it, like people of "diminished capacity" or "mental defect" in the legal sense of those words.

He's just blaming the victims.

KJV: Matthew 23, 1-4:

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do, but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."

Matthew 7:1-2:

[Jesus speaks] JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

(edition Tyndale House, Sept. 1981, given to me by my mother)

Even if they're not insane, the words of their own Lord Jesus spell out what they will reap from their judgement of their brothers and sisters.

Finally, Matthew 5:7:

Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.

Shanks and his ilk had better read their own book sometime, and listen to what Jesus had to say.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:12 AM on September 3, 2005


Does the Rev. Shanks have an explanation for why all the churches were washed away, too?
posted by Jatayu das at 3:17 AM on September 3, 2005


“New Orleans now is church free. New Orleans now is God free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Evangelists and the devout, the christian worshippers, religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His wrath purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:22 AM on September 3, 2005


/wondering when Vegas will be struck by meteor
posted by Dick Paris at 3:24 AM on September 3, 2005


So by the so-called "Reverend" Shanks' logic, only the righteous were spared by God's judgement on the city of New Orleans, yes? I wonder how he explains the reports of looting and rape, then.

It's people like this that give actual Christians (as in followers of Christ) a bad name.
posted by bmarkey at 3:28 AM on September 3, 2005


"God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."

I agree completely with the above quote. The sin in New Oreleans was simply below par when compared to the sin in Las Vegas, or San Fransisco. Now that the old, sub-par, sin has been wiped out we have a unique chance to implement better sin. We can rebuild better than before.
posted by sotonohito at 4:28 AM on September 3, 2005


> Ok, I'll say it: The irony, of course, is that there is no god.

A rather deeper irony is that we've got rid of the guy with the long white beard up in the clouds but somehow we continue to have Great Floods--that, now you mention it, do have the obvious effect of wiping out whole bunches of sinners. (Along with great numbers of perfectly innocent rats and roaches, of course.)

Somehow people continue to need explanations for Great Floods and similar cataclysms. And, you know, the response "there's no god so there's no explanation" is going to be a tough sell--reducing, as it does, to Ring Lardner's Shut up, he explained.

> God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there

These folks are not Christians, they're Manichaeans. But if you want to lead them up from Manichaeanism you're going to have to do better than "there's no god and no superordinate meaning, suck it up." Think deeper.
posted by jfuller at 4:29 AM on September 3, 2005


I find it interesting that people who believe in a God who is precise enough to create everything out of matter too small for the human eye to see believe He is simultaneously so imprecise in wiping out a dozen abortion clinics, some bars and gay organizations and so forth that he had to take down a thousand square miles and cause massive suffering to innumerable righteous people. Consistency is the hobgoblin of people with sound doctrine...
posted by Dreama at 4:53 AM on September 3, 2005


> innumerable righteous people

I--make that Diogenes and I--have never managed to locate even one of those.
posted by jfuller at 5:00 AM on September 3, 2005


You know, if he were Muslim, every imam across the country would be asked to condemn this guy using the strongest
possible language.


Nah not every imam would

But he's a Christian, so I guess it's okay. Free pass for everyone who believes in Abrahamic God A but not Abrahamic God B

He claims he's a Christian, he isn't. But even if he really was, non religious people still consider people enjoying other people
misforture as unfortunate beings who know no joy and live their life in hate..a miserable life indeed.
posted by elpapacito at 5:30 AM on September 3, 2005


Nah not every imam would

What? Literally every time any Muslim anywhere does something bad, the right are foaming at the mouth asking "Why hasn't the Muslim community condemned this?!"

He claims he's a Christian, he isn't.

If he believes that Jesus Christ is his personal savior, he is a Christian. Sorry to break it to you, but you can't just say "well he's not a Christian" or "he's not a Muslim" without clear evidence that they lack belief in that god. End of story.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:35 AM on September 3, 2005


new orleans is also free of rev. shanks ... i guess the city will have to take what blessings it can
posted by pyramid termite at 5:43 AM on September 3, 2005


> End of story.

Well, just for comparison, I believe Madeline Murray O'Hare is my personal savior. So you'll be wanting to blame atheism for any and all idiocies I may happen to spout. End of story.
posted by jfuller at 5:44 AM on September 3, 2005


God is such a stupid, childish, savage idea. Ideas will attract people with compatible personal qualities.

I sincerely believe that mankind will not advance significantly - or possibly at all - unless and until the great majority of us manage to outgrow the ancient curse of religious belief and all its vile trappings. It is a mind killer. All of it. And I heartily wish people would stop trying to justify it. At all.

In other news, I still haven't managed to get the toothpaste back into the tube.
posted by Decani at 6:03 AM on September 3, 2005


Well, just for comparison, I believe Madeline Murray O'Hare is my personal savior. So you'll be wanting to blame atheism for any and all idiocies I may happen to spout. End of story.

Except that no one follows you for having such a belief, whereas others follow Shanks for having similar beliefs as their own.

The difference is in having a large community that listens to and agrees with his blather. Since religion is a group exercise, it does make sense to call this group "Christian", since they claim a Christian belief system, and so we should reasonably expect the larger Christian community to police its own, insofar as we expect Muslim imams to speak out against Muslim fundamentalist terrorism. I think OC's point is a valid one.
posted by Rothko at 6:11 AM on September 3, 2005


Athiests seem as intent on promoting their beliefs as the more radical elements of Christianity are. As soon as religion is mentioned, there's an hysterical edge that jumps up screaming, "No god! No god! No god!"

Personally, I don't cotton to fanatics of either stripe.
posted by Jatayu das at 6:15 AM on September 3, 2005


we should reasonably expect the larger Christian community to police its own

Man, everybody gets pissed off when you have an Inquisition, then they get pissed off when you stop. There's no winning, sometimes...
posted by verb at 6:17 AM on September 3, 2005


I knew that followers of the Christian God sometimes committed hate crimes but I never really thought that the Big Guy himself did, too.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:19 AM on September 3, 2005


God hated the abortion clinics in New Orleans. He also hated stupid people, Southern Baptists, and the poor.

Then again maybe it is the sin, what with all of the murder and teen pregnancy down there.
posted by x_3mta3 at 6:20 AM on September 3, 2005


How can someone against abortion be for murdering an entire city full of people? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of being "pro-life." Every single one of those people who died was a fetus at some time. It looks like anyone who thinks that wiping out sin is important would actually lobby FOR abortion, not against it.
posted by MikeP at 6:29 AM on September 3, 2005


When Jesus was asked about a local disaster (a tower fell, killing a bunch of folks) He told them they(the victims) weren't greater sinners than anyone else but that if they (the askers) did not repent they would likewise perish.

Right now it is time to help the victims, period. We can argue theology later. Only actually I'd rather not.
posted by konolia at 6:48 AM on September 3, 2005


Since religion is a group exercise . . .
And that's the part that I don't get. If there's an all-powerful, all-seeing Supreme Being, why do I need a congregation or a church at all? The APASSB must know everything I do, and if it matters to Him or Her one way or the other, He or She will let me know about it. And I'm not thinking of lightning strikes or hurricanes. Any being that could create a world would certainly find it trivial to say, flash a message in the sky - "Hey Kirth! Quit screwing around with that graven image!" - or whatever.

Since the APASSB doesn't send us any such unambiguous messages, I can only conclude that either there is no such being, or He or She doesn't care.

Or that He or She thinks abortion, Mardis Gras, and decadence are really bad, but murder, theft, and rape are not so bad.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:52 AM on September 3, 2005


x_3mta3, the IQ data you cite is a hoax. IQ is so politically incorrect these days that recent data on IQ by state simply isn't available. (That said, the somewhat outdated data we do have does put Louisiana near the bottom, nearly a full SD below high-IQ states like Utah and Massachusetts.)
posted by pterodactyler at 7:01 AM on September 3, 2005


i'm beyond caring what these fools say, my heart is so broken right now you could slap me across the face and my blood wouldn't rise.

all i can do is say a pray for brothers and sisters who have no home.
posted by nola at 7:18 AM on September 3, 2005


Apparently the good Rev. has forgotten the end of the flood story in Genesis, chapter 8 (verse 21) which, says, well I'll let Him speak for Himself:

I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake

But then again the good Reverend seems to have also forgotten the whole section called the New Testament, so I can't expect him to remember this one little part.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:23 AM on September 3, 2005


> If there's an all-powerful, all-seeing Supreme Being, why do I need a congregation
> or a church at all?

This notion of god is on the same level as the Tooth Fairy. God is what you encounter in the quiet of your silenced mind, but that is not sufficient--plenty of people have encountered monsters there also. The community is corrective: when two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I also. God is what you encounter through the sangha.
posted by jfuller at 7:28 AM on September 3, 2005


Based on what I'm hearing, there is rape, looting and murder going on down there, dead bodies in the streets just floating around. But if one person is plucked off a roof top, it's evidence of Gods mercy? How do these people even function??

This shit drives me completely batty.
posted by j.p. Hung at 7:35 AM on September 3, 2005


The American Taliban taking joy in the misery of others.

Did Mullahs Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson refrain from such statements this time?

Assholes all.
posted by nofundy at 7:46 AM on September 3, 2005


Way to demonstrate compassion, charity and other stuff that starts with a c... oh fuck it.
posted by Foosnark at 7:50 AM on September 3, 2005


For your reading pleasure, here's the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA on the foolishness of the confusing religion with fundamentalist fascism.

there is a vast difference between those two things (religion in a general sense and, on the other hand, Christian Fascism and reactionary theocratic fundamentalism generally); there is a qualitative difference which we should understand. And if we don’t understand and handle this correctly, we’re going to aid the enemy in pushing, not just preachers, but masses of people, into the enemy camp—or allowing them to be dragged, against their own fundamental interests, into the camp of the enemy, or to be confused and sit on the sidelines when they should be frontline fighters against all this. So we cannot allow this to be the polarization—it cannot be around religion as such.

I have to admit it gives the fundie-fascist sinner in me little thrills of guilty pleasure to see the idiots on mefi blundering conceitedly into the trap that even commies are bright enough to see.

On preview: aha, here's nofundy to lead the putsch. Go, nofundy!
posted by jfuller at 7:59 AM on September 3, 2005


How do these people even function??

Agonizingly very well j.p. Hung. One of them is President of the United States.

As an aside to Malor's excellent summary of Franklin's lightening rod - he is absolutely correct. The pointed rod bleeds off electons into the air and thereby reduces the potential difference between earth and sky. There was, however, a raging debate over whether or not the rod should be blunt, or pointed. King George III, being particulary unhappy with Franklin's politics, instructed his science advisor to declare that Franklin's lightning rod design was wrong. The design of the lightning rod became a political decision. King George ordered that all lightning rods throughout the empire were to have a cannon ball placed on the top of them, or be removed. Franklin - open-minded as he was - did not reject the idea, and wrote to the King, "I have never entered into any controversy in defence of my philosophical opinions; I leave them to take their chance in the World. If they are right, Truth and Experience will support them. If wrong, they ought to be refuted and rejected." As it turns out, the rounded lightening rod is arguably the more efficient design.

Which is a long way of saying never let ideology stand in the way of the facts.
posted by three blind mice at 8:01 AM on September 3, 2005


So how does he explain all the poor people who were just trying to get by and weren't engaging in rampant sodomy? Are they just collateral for a God with crappy aim?

I'd think that My God would be powerful enough to use smart weapon technology and not smite any true believers.

That said, if there is a God, then he's got this asshat in his crosshairs right now.
posted by fenriq at 8:11 AM on September 3, 2005


I just knew the Christian cults would start with this kind of crap. Inevitable.

Yesterday I was at the Physical Therapist's office. The doctor was yanking on my neck and talking about a trip he once took through New Orleans. He was appalled by the nudity and the drugs and the lasciviousness. He was just about to start in with "this is God's wrath on the sinful" when I stopped him and stated "every one of those people has the same inherent worth given to them by God, and it is our responsibility to save them without judgment." That shut him up.

BTW, I am not a Christian, and I sooo don't believe in the same God this dude does. But somehow without the aid of any organized religion of any sort, I am able cut through the hypocrisy and see that regardless of arbitrary morality, these people are people, and are in need of help?

And yet I'm going to hell?
posted by Jade5454 at 8:12 AM on September 3, 2005


He was appalled by the nudity and the drugs and the lasciviousness.

The God should sling one of those hurricanes towards below sea-level Amsterdam.

Like Osama bin Laden said, "if we hated freedom we would have attacked Holland."
posted by three blind mice at 8:18 AM on September 3, 2005


Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick, people. This is a sad fuckin' excuse for an FPP. Haven't we seen it so many times before, Mefilib hunts around and finds a dispicable quote by a rightwing crackpot, posts it, all liberal cultured atheists jump on the bash the intellectual neanderthall band wagon, lather rinse repeat.

Hey, the religious right in this country is a scary thing.
Yes, ain't they stupid and backward
Oooh, can you believe how hypocritical they are being.
Yeesh, you know Jesus himself would hate this guy.
Heeyyy, ain't this quote an indictment of all religion everywhere?
Yada. Yada. Yada.

Move on.
posted by prodigalsun at 8:20 AM on September 3, 2005


Well that about wraps it up for God.
posted by Joeforking at 8:28 AM on September 3, 2005


Move on.

No, if you don't like the FPP, YOU move the fuck on.
posted by c13 at 8:44 AM on September 3, 2005


zerokey, that essay was definitely not from Asimov's Guide to the Bible. The GTTB is a fascinating read, but it is very, very long and can get pretty dry... it's essentially a paragraph-by-paragraph walkthrough of the Old Testament, looking at it primarily as a history book. He compares it and contrasts it with what else we know of history, and tries to put dates on things whenever possible. One of the parts I liked most was his analysis of the Great Flood. The Bible refers to 'all the world', and later people have taken that to mean the literal Earth. He pointed out that people's world conception at the time was a lot smaller, and talked about evidence of a very large flood in a particular timeframe, which he tied down reasonably well as being a likely source of the flood myth. I don't remember whether he talks about Noah as being the Epic of Gilgamesh rewritten, or if I learned about that later.

There's a lot of really wonderful stuff buried in mountains of minutiae, so it does take patience and quite a lot of time to read. It's a very great shame that he never did the New Testament.

The article about lightning rods and how important they were for science was in a medium-sized book. It had a bunch of different science-related essays. I believe the overall theme was tracking science's development over the centuries. The only other essay I still remember was a mention of the "Eureka!" moment. He wrote well over 200 books, so you may have to do some searching to find it.

You know, if there was one person in all of history I'd have liked to meet, it would have been Asimov. His death was an enormous loss for humanity. I don't think there has ever been anyone both so learned and yet so approachable at the same time; he took very hard concepts and distilled them down into easy, mind-sized chunks. His lean writing style was deceptively powerful. I've never seen anyone who could get more informatiion into fewer words without causing the least trace of reader confusion. He was delightfully immodest, and if anyone was ever entitled, it was him.

three blind mice: thanks for the extra linkage on lightning rods. Good stuff there. They seem to claim that charge bleedoff doesn't work the way I thought. They say the lightning rod is the launch point for an invisible "leader" that reaches into the sky. If it connects with the corresponding positive leader above, the charge is drained safely.

I was under the impression that it was precisely that linkage that would CAUSE a strike, and that the idea was to dissipate the electrons so that the charge builds up in some other high point instead. So I'm a bit confused now. Perhaps lightning rods can work in more than one way?
posted by Malor at 9:04 AM on September 3, 2005


And don't forget that the evil Planned Parenthood has the refugees in its clutches. Oh, the inhumanity of free health care!
posted by Vidiot at 9:37 AM on September 3, 2005


long live our freedom of hate-speech
posted by threehundredandsixty at 9:39 AM on September 3, 2005


I was under the impression that lightning rods are used to attract lightning and safely "discharge" it into the ground. It acts as sort of a short, when the "voltage" in the surrounding air is too high the corresponding "voltage" near the tip of the rod is now very very high and perhaps now high enough to ionize the air and allow a current to flow.
posted by ozomatli at 9:41 AM on September 3, 2005


No, if you don't like the FPP, YOU move the fuck on.

No, You! *does excellent rasberry*
posted by prodigalsun at 10:10 AM on September 3, 2005


I wasn't aware that the Flying Spaghetti Monster was opposed to Mardi Gras.

Seriously though, I wonder what sins he thinks the little kids trapped at the Superdome and Convention Center are guilty of.
posted by ilsa at 11:44 AM on September 3, 2005


When Jesus was asked about a local disaster (a tower fell, killing a bunch of folks) He told them they(the victims) weren't greater sinners than anyone else but that if they (the askers) did not repent they would likewise perish.

Likewise? So he said the big disaster was NOT God killing a bunch of people but if the people wondering about it didn't repent, then they would themselves be killed, this time intentionally by God? I so hope you're misquoting that badly. And I just hope you give some serious thought to what you're preaching.
posted by wendell at 12:15 PM on September 3, 2005


Athiests seem as intent on promoting their beliefs as the more radical elements of Christianity are. As soon as religion is mentioned, there's an hysterical edge that jumps up screaming, "No god! No god! No god!"

Personally, I don't cotton to fanatics of either stripe.
posted by Jatayu das at 6:15 AM PST on September 3 [!]

Not screaming, just casually observing.

What makes that fanatical? I suppose you could say I'm ignoring the 300 proofs of YHWH/Allah/Jah's existence, but then I can point out that mainstream christianity, et al, is based in fantasy.

Isn't it better to be moral for purely altruistic reasons, without any incentive? Why do we need simplistic explanations for the things we don't understand? Why do we need to have the carrot of heaven and the stick of hell in order to practice the golden rule?

I like to look at things this way:
1. Life sucks.
2. People are intrinsically inclined to attachment and materialism.
3. It doesn't have to be this way.
4. Wake up, pay attention, learn, do the right things, and you can be happy no matter how bad things get.

Ultimately I think the illusion of heaven after death prevents the reality of a good life for everyone.
posted by mullingitover at 12:28 PM on September 3, 2005


I'm not trying to derail, but, has anyone read James Morrow? Specifically the Godhead series, Bible Stories for Adults and Only Begotten Daughter.

While stylistically, Morrow grates on me, he presents some wonderful morality tales and religious argument (especially Blameless In Abaddon) that are applicable to all sides.
posted by zerokey at 12:52 PM on September 3, 2005


Wouldn't it be nice if all those with the resources to do so (large, well-financed churches, who can motivate and mobilize large numbers of volunteers, for example) would shut up, get their shit together and go and help some people who need it? There's plenty of time to judge them by their deeds, not their words, later.
posted by normy at 1:01 PM on September 3, 2005


Pastor Bill Shanks, one of our national leaders, prophesied that if the abortion mills would shut down while Operation Rescue came into New Orleans, then God Himself would end the plague of murder that was terrorizing his city. At the time, New Orleans was the murder capital of America. Even the police were murdering other police. It was insane. Sure enough, we came into town and every abortion mill shut down. Halfway during the event, the media made mention of the fact that there was a connection between the murder of the innocent in the womb and the escalating violence in the streets. They declared, "Didn’t Operation Rescue say that if abortion shut down there would be peace in our streets? That’s what they said. Would you know, there hasn’t been one murder thus far since they have been here. Incredible!"

This guy's just one of those run of the mill wingnuts, like all anti-abortion zealots, whose concern for the sanctity of life ends after the third trimester. It shouldn't be surprising.
posted by cmonkey at 2:50 PM on September 3, 2005


When Jesus was asked about a local disaster (a tower fell, killing a bunch of folks) He told them they(the victims) weren't greater sinners than anyone else but that if they (the askers) did not repent they would likewise perish.

Likewise? So he said the big disaster was NOT God killing a bunch of people but if the people wondering about it didn't repent, then they would themselves be killed, this time intentionally by God? I so hope you're misquoting that badly. And I just hope you give some serious thought to what you're preaching.


Well, the typical thinking back then is that if some horrible thing happened to you, or if you got leprosy or were blind, etc it was because you or your parents had sinned. Jesus was simply pointing out that EVERYONE was a sinner, and that it was better to take care of one's own sin problem than to speculate on someone else's state.
posted by konolia at 2:58 PM on September 3, 2005


Absolutely, konolia. A lesson that people like Shanks and his followers ought to know very well. One wonders if they've ever actually read anything that Jesus said.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:09 PM on September 3, 2005


Belief in God is an abdication of intellectual responsibility.

Feel free to disprove. Because watching religionists twist in the wind is always interesting.
posted by Sparx at 3:23 PM on September 3, 2005


It doesn't have to be, Sparx. One can believe in God and still be highly intellectual and an effective scientist, for example. I believe in God myself, but am intensely interested in, and pretty well adherent to, science and logic.

It's believing in the particular narrow version of fundamentalism that the Bible (or whatever holy book of whatever religion) is the only repository of truth in the Universe, and that every word within is the literal Word of God and must be followed as law which is an abdication of intellectual responsibility - aka turning off one's brain and reasoning in favor of a designated authority on life.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:09 PM on September 3, 2005


Sparx, please elaborate.

I've found that most people have beliefs, and then arrange the facts around those beliefs to provide a network of support for their cosmic view. That's why you have the right wingers who think we should have gone to Iraq, and when the WMD's ended up being false, the found new rationale to support those beliefs.

Most vehement atheists who make statements such as yours are as close minded and dogmatic as those who pity them for not findin' da lord.

If you believe you are "keepin' it Reeeaal" because you aren't abdicating your intellectual responsibility and believing in some sissyboy higher power, you are kiddin' yourself.

Ain't no such thing as an objective view of reality.
posted by prodigalsun at 12:05 AM on September 4, 2005


He claims he's a Christian, he isn't. I said

If he believes that Jesus Christ is his personal savior, he is a Christian. Sorry to break it to you, but you can't just say "well he's not a Christian" or "he's not a Muslim" without clear evidence that they lack belief in that god. End of story. Optimus Chyme said.

Personal Jesus ? That's a pretty famous Depeche Mode song. Anyway jokes aside if simply believing something makes something true for the believer, then I could as well believe he's not a christian and that's would be certainly true in my belief system.

Of course I can still believe he's not a christian and I don't need to provide any evidence of him not being a christian , as much as he doesn't need to provide evidence to me that in his (or your) belief system he's a christian.

Additionally, if simply believing that Jesus is his personal savior is enough to be a Christian then I could believe that and loot and destroy
believing that's God will.
posted by elpapacito at 4:29 AM on September 4, 2005


if you don't like the FPP, YOU move the fuck on.

That simple statement ought to be slapped right across the top of every page on the site.
posted by Decani at 6:05 AM on September 4, 2005


elpapacito : "If he believes that Jesus Christ is his personal savior, he is a Christian."

I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't consider Albert Fish to have been a Christian.
posted by Bugbread at 7:58 AM on September 4, 2005


« Older Innovative Emergency Management...  |  You've heard of Greasemonkey (... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments