Posts Tagged ‘truth

12
Aug
12

I Murdered the Tooth Fairy

I sit here now, glittery sparkling blood on my hands as I type. I can’t wash it off, any more than Lady Macbeth’s incessant hand washing could remove the memory of what horrors she had unleashed and sins she had committed. *Sigh* Where do I begin? I suppose with a simple fact. A simple statement.

This afternoon, I killed the Tooth Fairy.

Granted, I wasn’t trying to. I wanted to save her. I wanted to preserve her. But her death is now laid at my feet.

Such a sudden thing it was, too. I took my darling daughter, who just a couple weeks ago turned 7, to the children’s museum in Portland, Maine, so that our favorite grown woman (her mother, my wife) could have brunch with some people she had wanted to meet for a while. We had barely finished paying for admission and then walking to the first room in the museum when Little Girl Blue said, calmly and without preamble, “Daddy, is the Tooth Fairy real, or do you and Mommy put the money under my pillow? Please be totally honest.”

In that moment, I realized I had been asked a question only slightly less distressing to parents than “What is sex?” or “Can I get a belly button piercing?” I did not pause, but simply led her to a small bench somewhat away from the other kids, sat down with her, and asked, “Do you really want to know?”

“Yeah.”

“You’re sure you want to ask this question, even though the answer may change things in your life?”

“Yes. Please be honest.”

Twice now she had stressed honesty, and so there was no other path. Before, when a Kindergartner in her first year of school had told her the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real, Mrs. Blue simply asked, “What do you believe? What do you want to think? That’s all that matters.” My wife’s words (and clever ploy) were enough then, and they were true words, and Little Girl Blue continued to believe. Now, though, she was pressing me to be honest. I’m not sure why I drew this short straw, but I don’t think it would have been any different had my wife been the one with her at that moment; Little Girl Blue knows we’ll speak truth when asked, and most other times as well.

“Well, Honey, before I answer your question, let me ask you this: If it turns out Mommy and Daddy are the ones giving you the money, and I confirm that, do you think that there will still be money under your pillow in the future?” She was still young enough not to realize that I had essentially admitted the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real, but I was banking on that childish naivete so that she could still have an out if she wanted it.

She muddled over that for a few moments, then said, “Yes! …um, maybe not. I guess no. But I want to know.”

“I’m going to ask you one more time: Are you sure?” I queried, quietly but intently. “Sometimes, getting an honest answer to things changes things in ways you might not like. Do you still want me to answer?”

“Yes. I do.”

I put my arm around her and leaned in close, and said in almost a whisper, “No, Honey. The Tooth Fairy isn’t real. That’s Mommy and Daddy.”

“OK, Daddy,” she said after a short pause to let that sink in. “Thanks for telling me.”

“You’re welcome,” I said, and then played my last card to let magic be in her world a bit longer. “Frankly, I don’t know if any fairies are assigned any tooth-related duties. And they sure wouldn’t be carrying human money around, now would they?”

“No, they wouldn’t. I still believe in fairies, Daddy. Just not the Tooth Fairy.”

“That’s good, Honey. There are all kinds of strange and wonderful things in the world, even if they haven’t been proven they exist and even if we’ve never seen them.” Then I lowered my voice even more, and looked at the other kids in the room in a way that she couldn’t help but notice. “Don’t tell other kids, honey. Kids have told you the Tooth Fairy isn’t real, when you would have figured it out yourself someday. And you found out earlier than you probably needed to. But don’t ruin it for another kid. Let them ask the question when they’re ready to ask their parents. Some parents and kids don’t think about that; some purposely want to end that belief for other people because they think it’s stupid. So please don’t do it to anyone.”

“I won’t, Daddy.”

I thought I was done until later in our children’s museum visit, when we were sitting down to a snack and she asked, “Are there any other magical things in my life that you and Mommy have told me about that aren’t real?”

Shit. So soon? The dominoes all ready to fall, all at once, on the same day?

“Do you have a specific question?”

“Are any other magical things in my life that aren’t real?”

“No, do you have a question about some specific thing?”

“I can’t think of one right now. But are there any other things?”

I paused only a moment, torn about what I should do, and then said, “I’m not going to answer that question. It’s too broad. Honey, we’ve had to tell you about horrible things sometimes, like people who hurt kids and people who kill people for no good reason. We’ve had to let you know about some bad things in life, and I think you should have as much magic as you can in life. For as long as you can. If you have a question about a specific thing, you can ask Mommy or me about it, and we’ll be truthful. But I won’t answer the question you just asked. But you can ask the questions about each thing as you want to. When you want to.”

“OK, Daddy. Thank you for being honest.”

And so, Santa Claus, the Birthday Fairy (Akimahs), the Leprechaun and the Easter Bunny have a reprieve. Not sure how long, but for a little while, at least.

It may seem weird, but I do feel guilty about the Tooth Fairy’s demise. My honesty killed her, and no matter how much that honesty was needed then, I still feel bad. That bit of magic is fun for the parents and the kids. The loss of that magic is a sign of my daughter’s maturity, and that’s a good thing; it warms my heart. But at the same time, it’s bittersweet. It makes me mourn for her childhood already, knowing that it is fast receding the closer she gets to tween and teen years.

But she still believes in fairies; that’s good. Mrs. Blue does, too, more or less. And we all believe in angels, because we’ve known at times when they’ve moved in our lives. So, it’s not all bad.

But Santa, Leprechaun, Easter Bunny and Akimahs: Draw up your wills and settle any unfinished business now.

You may not be long for Little Girl Blue’s world.

14
Nov
10

Mind Your I’s and A’s

While our pastor’s sermon kind of meandered today (good message, but it seemed overly long and somewhat disjointed), there was a portion that caught my attention:

Where there is ignorance, there is often indifference. Where there is indifference, we often see intolerance. And wherever there is intolerance, we will see injustice.

That explains a lot to me about the world. Ignorance remains at the core of so many of our problems. Ignorant Christians, ignorant atheists, ignorant Muslims, ignorant Jews, ignorant agnostics, ignorant pagans…you get the idea.

Now, those who read me regularly might expect me to pick on the members of the Tea Party here in the United States. And certainly, their ignorance is often astounding, as they make people with education seem to be the enemy. Suddenly, to them, knowledge is the problem. God forbid anyone pays attention, or tries to consider complex issues. No, lock-and-load or fly off at the mouth are the ways to go.

But they aren’t alone. I’ve known a ton of ignorant “progressive” people and other liberals. People who say they understand the plight of people who struggle but who distance themselves from such people. They are just as ignorant, because they have some kind of general knowledge or book learning but no connection to the real issues or what needs addressing.

Stay-at-home middle class mothers who knock other mothers’ choices to send their kids to school instead of home schooling, thereby showing complete ignorance of those other mothers’ challenges and lives, which don’t mirror their own and therefore cannot often follow a similar model.

Men who blame women for leaving them and being shallow, while remaining ignorant of their own gender sins and the things they did that helped scuttle the relationship, too. Women who show the very same ignorance as they set unrealistic demands and then dog out their former (or current) men online for not being perfect.

Ignorance is at the heart of ethnic conflict; passive workers who allow themselves to be undercut by corporate interests; corporations who focus on short-term goals at the expense of the country and their own organizational health; teachers and doctors who slap labels on kids like autism or ADHD when they’re just being kids; and so on.

And so, with my pastor’s example in mind, with those four I’s, I now offer my four A’s as a counterpoint. As a healthy alternative. As the path for our salvation, whether secular or religious:

First, we need awareness. Honest, willing efforts to look past the surface of things and challenge our own assumptions about everything.

Second, we need authorship, so that we will be not just show silent accountability but also open assertion of where we fail and where we cease to understand. Such things will lead to us asking for help in increasing our awareness and then our authorship.

Third, with those two things, we will see more acceptance. Always in society, there will be things we cannot accept, but those will be the things that are truly hurtful as a result of cruelty or ignorance. But we will accept that people are different and even when they lead lifestyles that we find uncomfortable, they have a right to be the way they are.

Finally, those three things, if we seek them (and I have no reason to expect that humanity will bother to, but there’s always hope, right?) will lead to the start of ascendancy. This could be secular as easily as it could be spiritual. But it will mean that we are on the path to fully realizing our potential beyond mere self-satisfaction and laziness. We won’t likely become truly ascendant in these our mortal coils, because that’s expecting too much.

But damn it, we need to make an effort to head in that direction.

08
May
10

Failure to Acknowledge

Pop quiz: What s the single biggest impediment to an alcoholic or any other kind of addict getting the help he or she needs to break the addiction?

I’m sure that most of you get an A on this quiz, because it’s pretty obvious to most people.

It’s the failure to admit that you have a problem to begin with. As long as an addict says, “I can quit any time I want” or “I’m not hurting anyone else” or any number of other excuses that minimize or deny there is an addiction, the person will not get help. Or if the person does, it will be help that does little or no good.

Maybe the person changes their ways slightly. Gets drunk less, for example. On the one hand, you could say it’s improvement, but is it really a good thing that the person is driving drunk only a third of the time now? That’s still potentially deadly, for the alcoholic and all the poor innocent bystanders. Or maybe the person only gets drunk and beats his or her children violently a quarter as often as before. Is that improvement? Yes. Is it good? No. Is it enough? No.

This is largely what has happened with racism. Too many people say things like, “Well, I don’t do anything racist” or “Slavery and Jim Crow is over and has been a long time.”

Those are good things, certainly. But did ending slavery end racist acts and policies? No. Ending Jim Crow didn’t do that either, as there are many ways to discriminate. Not hiring qualified workers or color simply because of their color. Arresting people of color more often and giving them harsher sentences than whites. Revitalizing white areas or making downtrodden areas attractive for white people and leaving impoverished areas to languish or forcing people of color out of the neighborhood to make room for the white people.

The cycle of privilege goes merrily on, and while there has been improvement, and continues to be in some areas, the basic problem remains: racism.

It remains in part because it can never truly be eradicated. But it flourishes quietly and continues to harm people of color in the United States because too many people live in denial of its existence and power.

People like Thordaddy, who once posted here before I banned him, and who posts at Big Man’s blog and other places. Heck, you can go to the comments of this post to see how he does exactly what I’m talking about (by the way, many of my own comments there are going to see revamping and repeating here, so if some of the rest of my post sounds familiar, you’re probably a visitor here and at Raving Black Lunatic, and I apologize for the repetition). He suggests (and sometimes has said outright) that because blacks have rights, and more than they did at one time, that racism is a myth, and that blacks are simply lying that racism is increasing and that their lives are as bad as in slave time.

First, I don’t know of many blacks who claim that things are just as bad as they were in slave times or Jim Crow. What they are saying is that a lot of bad things are going on, and some thing that were improving are now getting worse.

And it’s true. Because too many people claim that when things got better, the core problem vanished. It didn’t. And if you blithely ignore that the racism remains, you give it room to grow again, like a weed in an untended garden.

Failure to acknowledge racism is permission to let it grow.

Of course, the problem is that no one wants to be labeled a racist, as Big Man pointed out in his “Stigma” blog post.

Racism, as a word, is a pretty neutral one. Racism doesn’t mean evil in all cases. If I see an elderly female Asian behind the wheel of a car and assume she will be a bad driver, as I do about 90% of the time, that is racist. Is it evil? No? Does it harm her? No. But it is racist.

We’re all racist. The trouble is that so much baggage has been attached to the word that it is assumed to be a pejorative term. And so no one wants to acknowledge its pervasive power, lest the label be attached to them.

How do we get around that? As Big Man notes, he doesn’t know the answer.

Frankly, neither do I, and I don’t think there is a good answer, at least none that can be broadly applied. Because the answer is for whites to take a good long hard look at history and the current day and to recognize things like white privilege and inequity. Many aren’t willing to do that, because they don’t want to believe it exists, they are ashamed of the prospect, or whatever else.

But let’s say you get them to recognize such things exist.

Then they have to care. And recognition doesn’t always equal caring. Or at least not caring enough.

And if you’re someone who thinks privilege is totally normal and should be encouraged and continued, as Thordaddy does, then you you won’t want to have a society that is fair and based on merit and personal traits (rather than connections, skin color, etc.), and you won’t ever care. Instead, you will try to convince the gullible that racism is a myth and that it hurts no one anymore, simply because it no longer enslaves them or allows them to be lynched with impunity.

And frankly, even if your aren’t as bad as a Thordaddy and you’re simply scared (of losing jobs, of economy tanking, etc.), and you’re white, you might start to see things like equitable and fair treatment as threats, even if only on a subconscious basis. And if you do, you will want to narrow things like the definition of racism, or pretend it’s gone.

It’s all about education, and people are very selective about what they really want to learn. It requires more self-education than anything else, in order for it to be internalized and be productive, and people are even more selective about the knowledge and learning they will actively seek out.

As I noted, we’re all racist on some level, about someone or some group or something. It’s all levels and gradations, though. And some people’s racism has the power to do more harm than other people’s racism. But because many of us, of all colors, have lost the ability to treat the word racism neutrally and really talk about things openly, we get nowhere.

Racism had long since become a dirty word, and so people can’t see it as an accurate and useful word, and understand that it has gray areas and doesn’t equal “evil.”

There’s not making it a neutral word again. No chance of it. And if you pick a new word, the stigma eventually attached to that will make it a dirty word too, unless people are willing to learn and to grow.

People have to want to learn and see and understand and do better. They can only do that, I think, by continued exposure to one another and honest communication.

But I don’t have much hope for that in this age of Tweets and Facebook and niche discussion boards and hypersensitivity.

I fear we’ve lost our ability to discuss widely, and most of us now retreat to those places and groups where we don’t feel threatened.

I think about my own travels online and among people in real life (not simply the racial ones), and the problem is that so often, I will try to talk about real shit with folks, and then they get defensive, no matter how diplomatic or reasonable I try to be. No matter how hard I try to show that we’re both right and wrong about some things and that some things aren’t cut-and-dried. But it breaks down quickly, and the ability to have real discourse disintegrates.

All too often, I’ve been in discussions with agnostics, atheists, racists, liberals, conservatives, etc., and I can say things like, “hey, I see your point” or “yeah, you might be right about that” but they never budge on their own positions and never consider that their positions need adjustment (or so rarely that it might as well be “never.”)

Discussion is a two-way street and there needs to be give and take. But very few people are really willing to give…not even a little.

It’s very disheartening, and has led me to leave many online venues and to distance myself from people in real life because they only want to hear their own views parroted and supported and reinforced.

I’ve rarely been that way. Yes, there are core concepts that I hold strongly to, but I don’t hold any of them as sacrosanct because all of them rely on my own interpretations and filters, and I know that I can be wrong.

About race. About religion. About money. About politics.

But pride is a powerful thing. And so is fear.

And as long as we hold tightly to those things, and continue to fail in our ability to even acknowledge that a problem remains, we will never fix it.

04
Mar
10

That Old, Old, Really Old Time Religion

In my previous post (here), one of my faithful readers, The Word of Me, brought up in the comments that fact that many Old Testament tales—such as Adam and Eve, the Great Flood, and so on—don’t bear up under scientific scrutiny.

And certainly, he’s right. There is no evidence of a global flood. Humanity didn’t begin 7,000 years ago. Language differences didn’t begin at the site of the Tower of Babel. I could go on, but I won’t, because it isn’t necessary.

His point was that is such material is false, then the whole Bible is suspect, and must be assumed to be false. And therefore, taken to the logical extreme, if there was no Adam and Eve and original sin or any of that other stuff, there would be no need for Jesus and therefore Jesus wasn’t the son of God. Not that there is a God, of course, in TWOM’s view.

I don’t fault TWOM’s reasoning. That is, if you begin from the standpoint that the Bible is a pack of myths or lies or both, then it all falls apart.

But why do all the stories in the Old Testament have to be literal? Particularly those appearing in Genesis.

It is a fault of both the atheist/agnostic camps and the fundamentalist/Bible literalism camps that the stories in the Bible must be true in order for God to be true. Both sides are dead wrong.

Look at Jesus. He told parables. He didn’t say, “this is an allegorical story” when he told them. He told them as if they were stories of real people and real situations. And it’s clear that many of those stories, perhaps none of them, had to do with real scenarios of which Jesus was aware. That did not, however, diminish the importance or value of those stories for teaching lessons and revealing truths.

The Son follows the example of the Father. Why can’t the Old Testament stories be parables writ larger, speaking to greater truths? Truths about human failings, broken connections with the divine, the need for redemption, the love of God, and so much more.

Whether there was a literal couple named Adam and Eve doesn’t matter. Whether the global flood really covered the Earth, or flooded a mere nation or valley, or never happened at all, also doesn’t matter. What matters is that God has shown Himself to humanity for millennia, most notably through his son, whose message and legacy endures, against all odds, even to this day.

15
Jun
09

Drive-by Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

Been a while since I’ve posted a drive-by scripture, so here we go, with Second Timothy, chapter 3, verse 16.

Much is made about how the word of God is infallible. In other words, the Bible is the final word and it’s not wrong in any way, shape or form.

I believe that. And I don’t believe that.

Having spoken recently on the translational issue with my post “Lost in Translation,” it should be clear that I have differing levels of regard for various translations. To some degree, even differing levels of trust.

I wholeheartedly believe that the structure of the Bible as it stands is pretty much inspired by God. The Catholics and the Protestants have a slightly different take on books that should or should not be included, but the differences are minor in the end. I believe there is value in some of the books that are not in the Protestant version, as well as some important books that are not in either Catholic nor Protestant translations of the Bible.

But at the same time, humans have had their grubby little hands all over the word of God, and mistakes, personal interpretations and the like are inevitable when human error gets brought into the mix.

But this, I think, can be a good thing as well as a challenge. While I believe that we can never truly understand God while we are in this world, tethered to our bodies and our carnal needs and desires, I believe we are meant to search for Him and seek Him continually, even if we are among the faithful.

Perhaps especially if we are among the faithful. For I believe that true faith and a closer relationship with God forces us to really think about what the Bible is trying to tell us, instead of expecting it to give us simple answers. And I think that truly coming to God forces us to question our faith, ourselves, and even the version of the word of God that we open to read.

30
Oct
08

Lying Through Our Teeth

While this post is inspired by some of the shenanigans going on as the presidential campaign winds to a close, it isn’t really about politics or politicians. But it is about lying, and for some of you, politics and lying may actually be synonymous.

But I digress.

When I lie—and really, I’d much prefer not to, as it just feels wrong even if it wasn’t a 10 Commandments kind of sin—I try to do my best to rein it in. To make sure no one gets the shaft. Yes, I might lie to protect myself or someone I care about from a bad situation or an uncomfortable moment, but when I do so, I try to do just enough lying to protect, while not doing so much that the person I am lying to will be harmed, disadvantaged or betrayed in any significant way.

That doesn’t make my lying any more forgiveable, but I think it at least makes the practice more humane.

And yet, politicians, business leaders, shallow lovers, fair-weather friends and lots of other folks seem to lie with abandon, as if there are no consequences. We see it not only on the campaign trail as a politician smears another with lies (Liddy Dole calling her Christian opponent ‘godless’ leaps to mind) but from business leaders who lie about their company’s bottom line or environmental practices or whatever else.

People in important positions frequently lie, and the lies they tell are the kind that can ruin careers, destroy families, tank an entire national economy, and maybe worse than that.

And yet, where is the outrage? We let them tell us lies, and we don’t hold them accountable really. How many lying CEOs or company presidents go to prison for committing crimes that do far more damage than some penny-ante shiplifting or selling of weed or even gross assault sometimes.

Have we reached a point in this nation where we just don’t care anymore?

Are we so beyond being shocked that we just accept this now?

And if so, does that mean that telling the truth is the new sin of secular life?

19
Jul
08

Sweet Talk by Miz Pink

We do like it when people tell us what we wanna hear don’t we? We say we want good plain straight talk but we rarely really do. For one thing, once we get it we usually realize it’s mostly double-talk or empty talk in the end (John McCain has really hit that home for me these days; yeah, Barack Obama, too a bit but he didn’t ride in on the “straight talk express” like ole John but on that change thang instead…so at least changing his tune is themetically straight.)

Whoops! Waxing political there. Let’s get back on track.

People love to have their egos stroked. So most of us would rather go to places where people tell us humans are basically good and certainly God will let most folks into heaven based on good deeds and other such dangerous talk. Heck I’m amazed at the Unitarian-Universalist church down the street and its sizable attendance. And why not? It’s church without Jesus. Its religion with almost no rules. It’s a congregation that tells you everyone is right when it comes to that “higher power.”

People also love to be entertained. Who doesn’t like a preacher or priest to get behind that pulpit and tell us some good tales and maybe get us to laugh a bit. Most of us don’t care whether he or she mentions God much…or Jesus for that matter…or the Holy Spirit. They just get in the way, right? Who wants to think about someone watching over us and watching what we’re up to?

As a woman, I know all too well how much my sisters in the world want some guy to whisper wonderful things in their ears and make us all gooey inside. Doesn’t matter if he’s good for us if he just makes us feel good for a while and tells us nice things. Then when he dumps on us later and smooths it over with more sweet words, it’s all good right? I’m sure men aren’t immune to this either. Lord knows I’ve sweet talked Sir Pink into some stuff he probly shouldn’ta ougtha done.

But let’s look at this… 

1 And when I came to you, my brothers, I did not come with wise words of knowledge, putting before you the secret of God. 2 For I had made the decision to have knowledge of nothing among you but only of Jesus Christ on the cross. 3 And I was with you without strength, in fear and in doubt. 4 And in my preaching there were no honeyed words of wisdom, but I was dependent on the power of the Spirit to make it clear to you (First Corinthians Chapter 2)

Paul valued straight talk and I respect that ish even if I don’t always agree with him. We need fewer honeyed words and more of them that maybe make us pucker up a bit.

If you just want to feel great about yourself, go for Oprah and the self help section of the book store. If you want to have a better spirit and be in touch with God, expect to hear and read some things that you might not like. But much like medicine, even if it goes down rough, youre usually better off in the end for having taking it.

15
Mar
08

Deacon Blue vs. Nsangoma

turin-jesus.jpgSo, I was visiting one of my favorite blogs yesterday and made the “mistake” of responding to a comment on one of the topics to correct a gross misrepresentation of history (I guess in hindsight it wasn’t a mistake, because now I have a topic for today). The commenter decided to get a bit obnoxious and when I mentioned I didn’t want to take the commentary off topic with our discussion, he basically turned it around to say that I was simply running away because I would lose the argument. Since his nonsense involves the assertion that Jesus never existed, I don’t feel like that is shit I can let stand. Since I really don’t want to take the comments on that blog off topic, I have decided to reprint the comments of myself and Nsangoma here, respond to the points I wasn’t able to before out, and I will invite him to continue the debate here, where it is appropriate.

Oh, by the way, the original blog post that started all this (and which has nothing to do with Jesus, oddly enough), is at the field negro blog, and it is the March 13th post titled “Hillary You Are Breaking My Heart.” Please check it out when you have a chance.

Now, on to the debate:

NSANGOMA SAID:
Jesus is a myth; Jesus is an anthropomorphism of the Sun. Any Negroe (Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr included) telling you that Jesus existed, is lying. Anthropomorphism, as in the Sun took on human form and dwelled here on earth with human-kind for 33 years.

DEACON BLUE SAID:
Kinda like saying Cleopatra didn’t exist man. It was only 2,000 years ago and the man made a splash (and we have reliable history of people’s existence for shite even older than J.C.). Even if you don’t believe he was the son of God, at least give Jesus props for actually being on planet earth. Still, even when you lose me with your line of thought or raise my hackles, Nsangoma, I have to admit you sound awfully cool saying it.

NSANGOMA SAID:
deacon blue, let us be clear. There is no evidence of the physical existence of a Jesus. There is historical physical evidence of a belief in Jesus, but no historical physical evidence that Jesus ever existed.

DEACON BLUE SAID:
How much physical evidence do we have of anyone that far back in the day? Anyone have the prophet Muhammad’s body, either? Or busts of him? Much of what we know of the existence of any ancient personage is historical. There is plenty of documentation about Jesus, dating back to within less than a human lifetime of his ministry…whereas we rely on stuff about Alexander the Great and others as “accurate” that was often written generations or centuries after the person died.

I’m just sayin’, ya know? But I respect the fact that you think he was too fringe to be proven and that you don’t trust the source materials…even if I disagree with you. And I sure don’t want to drag this too far off topic. 😉

NSAGOMA SAID:
… And I sure don’t want to drag this too far off topic. 😉
deacon blue 11:56

Why of course you do not, you will lose. The New Testament of the so-called Holy Bible was written a minimum of 70 years after Jesus supposedly existed. And it was written by people who never met this Jesus, who supposedly existed. Saul was struck blind by the Sun; he is the light of the world. Solar metaphors.

DEACON BLUE SAID:
I’m not interested in a pissing match. Keep your intellectual arrogance if you must. I was being civil (or so I thought). I admit it, you have a bigger dick. (But I use mine with more finesse).

___________________________________

OK, I admit my last comment was a tad snarky, but I had been pretty accommodating until that point. Fact is, I’m not interested in a pissing match. But I’m also not interested in someone trying to undercut my religion based on some absolute bullshit.

My “you have a bigger dick” comment at least had the virtue of getting him to shut up in the commentary since I presume he is under the impression that I am now cowed by his pseudo-intellectual claptrap (a shame, since most of the commenters at the blog are pretty astute). Fact is, I think Nsangoma is either a bully or someone who was bullied in childhood and now wants payback by metaphorically holding people down and hitting them with his verbal/written arguments until they yell “uncle,” and then sometimes hitting them once more thereafter just for good measure.

Now, Nsangoma, I’m going to respond to your earlier points. And if you’re so damn sure of yourself, come here and try to knock my socks off, man.

___________________________________

Point #1: Jesus is a myth

Highly unlikely that someone made up Jesus to create a new religion, generated so many conversions and spawned so much written material about his life…and no one refuted his existence. The Roman historian Josephus mentions Jesus and, if I recall, there are Hebrew texts from the time that refer to Jesus as some kind of sorcerer stirring up trouble in the region.

Point #2: Jesus is an anthropomorphism of the Sun

This is the kind of shit people come up with when they get some education, start thinking they’re smarter than everyone else, and get wild notions up their asses. This idea is ridiculous. Are we to believe that at a time when there is Judaism, innumerable temples devoted to the Roman/Greek gods and who knows what else, someone decided to just create a new sun god?

Apollo is an anthropomorphism of the sun. Jesus is not. In addition to the metaphors about light, Jesus was said to be the “way and the truth” and it was said that if “you knock he shall open the door” and he was the “good shepherd” and much more. According to Nsangoma’s logic, someone not only made a new sun god, but also made him the god of roads and doors and the patron deity of animal husbandry. Jesus was about much more than light.

If one is going to argue against the divinity of Jesus, one would be better to claim he was an updated rehash of Osiris, an Egyptian god associated with resurrection. Claiming he is an embodiment of the sun is nonsense.

Point #3: There is no evidence of the physical existence of a Jesus.

Unless you were a ruler or other kind of high-flying muckity-muck and people mentioned you on all the papyrus scrolls and made busts and statues of your ass, there isn’t much physical evidence of anyone in the ancient historical record.

But the New Testament documents of the time around Jesus were widely distributed and word of him spread quickly, particularly after his death and resurrection. That no historian of the time refuted Jesus’ existence, and the fact that some mention him, is proof enough he existed.

The church had to start with a fairly sizable number of people in order to be able to grow and spread as fast as it did. Those people would have been people who had been with Jesus or seen him. If Jesus hadn’t existed, there is no way any sizable number of people would have believed in him and formed a religious experience around him because you don’t gather around someone who never existed. Even cults have to have a real person to gather around, much less major religious movements.

Point #4: The New Testament of the so-called Holy Bible was written a minimum of 70 years after Jesus supposedly existed. And it was written by people who never met this Jesus, who supposedly existed.

Actually, the oldest known, surviving copies of New Testament documents date to around 70 years after Jesus’ ministry. Those documents were almost certainly based off older copies and the original texts, which would have likely been written less than a generation after Jesus’ ministry and death. Those would have been written by the authors to whom they were ascribed, all of whom traveled with Jesus.

Furthermore, the accuracy and reliability of these older copies is almost irrefutable (that is, they are very accurate to the original copies) as there are thousands of copies of New Testament documents from a variety of regions and in a variety of languages, which show the same information being transmitted. Pretty impressive for a time and day when no one had phones and photocopiers.

By contrast, the only ancient document that even comes close to having so many copies that remained true to the original through the ages was the Greek Iliad.

In point of fact, most of the ancient history we simply take as truth is based on documents for which the oldest surving copies date to centuries after the chronicled events. Thus, the proximity of the original New Testament documents so close to Jesus’ life means that anyone who wished to refute them (i.e. I was around then and I know there was no Jesus) could have put an easy end to Christianity long before it gained momentum. We trust ancient documents about people like Alexander the Great and Ramses that have fewer copies to corroborate things and which were removed by hundreds of years, yet doubt documents that were 70 years after the fact. Talk about hypocrisy and ignorance.

OK, Nsangoma, the ball is in your court now. Take your best shot. Hell, swing at me a few times. I can take the hits. My savior’s reputation has survived the efforts of the Hebrew priesthood, the Romans and many others to sully it, and the spiritual legacy he left behind has endured and prospered and spread across the world in a way that can only be explained by the fact it resonates with truth. It isn’t going away just because you want it to.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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