philosoraptor42: (Default)
The Destruction Of The Babri Mosque imagined as a short dialogue. Probably works best if you imagine both sides as having cockney accents. ;)
Under cut because making light of relatively recent religious atrocity.... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)

I should probably warn everyone that I've never personally watched this trailer...

(Read review here) )
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Okay, there's a new story about a member of a religion complaining about intolerance based on their choice of clothing. A Jedi has been ejected from Tesco for wearing a hood. Daniel Jones, who prefers to be known as "Jedi Master Morda Hehol" is a leading Holyhead Jedi in the Anglesey Jedi Church. They have a website and have made (preliminary) plans to establish a base on the moon.

Just when you thought Jedi Knights were the keepers of peace and order in the galaxy, Tesco has all but branded them nothing more than common hoodies.

Morda Hehol, 23 – known in his spare time as Daniel Jones – accused the supermarket of religious discrimination after he was banned for refusing to remove his hood.

Members of the Star Wars faith, a global religion, choose to wear their hoods in public.

But Master Morda, leader of the UK’s first Jedi Church, was branded a security risk by supermarket staff and ejected from the premises in Bangor, North Wales.

He said he would advise other Jedis to boycott Tesco if this happened again, adding that “they will feel the force.”

“I walked past a Muslim lady in a veil. Surely the same rules should apply to everyone,” said Morda.

The handbook of the UK Jedi Church states: “Jedis must wear a hood up in any public place of a large audience.”

But a spokesman for Tesco said: “We would ask Jedis to remove hoods.  “Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all went hoodless without going to the Dark Side.”

Clearly, when Yoda said, “Luke, when gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be,” he was not banking on the religion flourishing a long time ahead in a galaxy far far away.   (Daily Dust)

Five other examples of religious clothing disputes in the UK... )

So anyway, Topless Robot first alerted me to the Jedi Knight story and he begins his article as follows:
Okay. You know how a bunch of people went and made "Jedi" an official religion in England?

*BEEP!* Sorry, incorrect.

It was believed that if enough people wrote down their religion as Jedi on the census it would become an official religion in the UK. The fact is that all it did was make Jedi a recognised thing that people write down in the 'religion' section of the census.

This is the official line: the Census does not provide recognition to any religion in the official statistics nor does it attempt to define religion. The list that you can see by checking out the pdf file above is merely a list of possible answers that people have been known to put in the box marked religion.

As such, Jedi Knight is not officially recognised as a religion.

This is the same situation that Scientology is currently in within the UK. It has never been recognised as a religion in the UK and even failed to receive charitable status when it applied for it. This was noted during the odd scenario where a protester was given a written warning by the police for holding up a sign during a protest referring to Scientology as a dangerous cult. What was even more absurd was how, even after this had been cleared up at the London event, the same mistake took place again in Glasgow and again in Birmingham. In any case, these were all judged to be mistakes and scientology can be freely and publically referred to as a cult because legally it is.

Anyway, first of all I'd note that the Jedi religion does not have a long history of wearing their hoods down in public, not least since they only established their church about 5 years ago. Secondly I'd note that they don't really have much excuse for setting up such a tradition in the current setting. But the best rebuttal amusingly came from Tesco themselves:

'He hasn't been banned. Jedis are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods.

'Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood.

'If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they'll miss lots of special offers.'

x-posted to [ profile] atheism
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Ok, this isn't the first blog about religion for me to check out that isn't by an atheist.

Blogs I recommend... )

Anyway, the new blog I discovered today called "The World Of Doorman-Priest" is written by a Lutheran Pastor working as an RE teacher. Today I was very amused to stumble on the following list of God-proofs (intentionally humourous):

The Argument from Personal Experience:

  • My Aunt had a brain tumour
  • She had a lot of medical interventions
  • We prayed
  • She got better
  • Therefore God exists

The Argument from Christian Superiority:

  • I'm not wasting my time on you Athiests. God exists whether you believe it or not
  • Therefore God exists

The Argument with the Doctor:

  • I am not taking my medication
  • I AM God
  • Therefore God exists

Benny Hinn's Argument:

  • Telling people about God has made me a millionaire
  • Therefore God exists

The Argument from miracles:

  • In a train crash 400 people were killed
  • A small girl survived, but lost both her legs
  • Therefore God exists (Praise the Lord)

The Evangelical's Argument (1):

  • Most people do not believe in God
  • This is what the Devil wants
  • Therefore God exists

The Evangelical's Argument (2):

  • God loves you (John 3.16)
  • How could you ignore that?
  • Therefore God exists

The Evangelical's Argument (3):

  • God exists
  • No he doesn't
  • Yes he does
  • No he doesn't
  • Yes he does
  • No he doesn't
  • Athiest goes home in a huff
  • Therefore God exists

And my own personal contribution, the Argument from Piss off and Die

  • God exists
  • No he doesn't
  • You know, that offends me but I am praying for you
  • No he doesn't
  • Therefore God exists
He also had a rather neat explanation of the his problems with the evangelical approach concerning hell and the atonement:

I have to confess, I had a little problem with Hell. If we didn’t accept Christ there was only one outcome. Not that the youth leaders or clergy made a big thing about Hell that I can remember. No, it seemed more to be an idea left hanging in the air, the Voldermort of Christianity. We were all aware of it but it was rarely spoken of as sentences trailed off while leaving an inescapable implication echoing in the silence. Of course none of this was helped by the terrifying visions of medieval artists as they struggled to express on canvass an apocryphal idea from print. Yes, the conversations trailed off with a conspiratorial finger to the side of the nose and visions of lakes of fire and eternal agony.

Much better to sing a chorus.

My problem was simple. My dad was a policeman and I knew the theories of punishment: protection of society, rehabilitation, deterrence and of course retribution. I think I understood instinctively that Christian teaching on Hell was in some way linked to the idea of retribution; well it wasn’t going to be linked to rehabilitation was it, what with it being eternal and therefore with no parole to give you the chance to prove that you had been reformed? But I had grown up with another understanding – that of the principle of the punishment fitting the crime. What could anyone do in our insignificant lifespan that could possibly justify eternal torment? So what with it seeming all a bit overblown and out of proportion I felt the doctrine shot itself in the foot rather.

“Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot.” They would say.

Yeah, well maybe.

“Anyway, all sin is sin against God. There is no victimless sin.”

I found it hard to see God as a victim – a generic victim that is not the victim in Jesus on the cross: that was only too real and I understood that bit. God as victim didn’t seem to fit in with Omnipotence and Transcendence and I found it hard to reconcile the idea of an equal punishment for, say, genocide and mild sexual fantasy following reading the inner pages of Playboy Magazine.

Or was it that we were all punished eternally but with different levels of torment? Perhaps if you weren’t that wicked it wouldn’t be the burning flesh falling from your skin and then reappearing only to burn off again in perpetuity. Maybe it would be more like, I don’t know, perpetual repeats of The Antiques Roadshow. Ah, but how would even an Omniscient God be able to distinguish between the various levels of sin? Was muttering darkly at my maths teacher for being obnoxious with me over quadratic equations better or worse than getting away without paying the bus fare to school that morning? And in the cosmic scheme of things did either of them merit that lake of fire and the demonic toasting fork?

“No, what it is, right, is that once you are there you continue to curse God because of the torment and so perpetuate the sin which requires additional punishment. It becomes a cycle.”

“I see.” I didn’t but I was learning not to rock the boat. (I gave that up as I got older.) I just didn’t equate God with being quite so petty and mean-spirited. That’s not to say that I felt we should get away scot-free: after all punishment seems a perfectly reasonable principle and I was eternally grateful to Jesus for taking my sins.

Being a teenager and a Christian, I was beginning to discover, was occasionally the cause of a headache.

A more recent post was about his wife's experiences in a charity shop. If there's a war on Christmas, why is it Christians trying to prevent it being celebrated?

Anna came home from work quite worked up and upset. Anna works at Oxfam in Headingley and has done for two years. She absolutely loves it.

This happens from time to time and it is usually related to shoplifting. Anna is a very moral person and the idea of shoplifting from a charity shop is one she simply can not get her head around.

"What sort of person does that?"

Today it was something different. They have been threatened. A letter was delivered (now with the police for forensics) which said: "This is a very polite but very serious reminder not to display Christmas cards until November 1st. We will put superglue into your locks if you do. Peace and goodwill." The organisation calls itself The Movement for the Containment of Christmas.

This is not an idle threat. They have already glued the locks of the Mind (mental Health) charity shop in the same parade of shops.

Peace and goodwill?

The wife sounds like quite an interesting character:

As my wife asked me: "What's the point of knowing about the atonement if you can't answer any questions about insect bites?"

One feels she may have a point.


", if you lie about farting in bed, why should I believe you about the resurrection?"

philosoraptor42: (Default)
Okay, I initially bought into the last video from YouLoveMolly. My first reaction was "oh my goodness, how racist of them!" Now, since their Indian friend Saara is still with them rather than beating them over the head with a kitchen stool like any normal person would, I'm not so convinced. Considering that she claims to be a fan of the well known parody-maker Edward Current it's looking likely that this is intended as a parody too.

The biggest hurdle with accepting that the last video was a parody was that it wasn't that funny. The 'characters' were so obnoxious that as a parody it simply seemed mean-spirited. Also, the nagging doubt when watching the video that it all might be real was more than a little unsettling.

In this latest video they've certainly put the effort in. There's a trip to a Church, a tour of local random Christian signposts and through the video there are reaction shots from Saara who seems like a passive "Alice In Wonderland" in this world of Mad Hatters we are watching.

If you don't fancy watching the video (possibly because you were put off by the last one), here's a nice little snapshot to give you an idea of what you are missing:

Here's the latest video if you want to check it out:
Video under the cut... )
x-posted to atheism
philosoraptor42: (Default)
While previously all you could find were four short clips on youtube, the entirity of the finished 'Sita Sings The Blues' is now available here:

The actual animation doesn't start until about 6 minutes in. The story of Ramayana doesn't begin until 7 munutes and that's where it starts getting fun (though the intro does look damn shiny too).

As you can imagine from the title, the point of this animation is to emphasis Sita's part of the story, since she is normally seen as a bit player and rather undermined. 11 minutes in the awesome animation you might know from Youtube starts up. Oh my goodness it's so cool!

So anyway, I understand that this is only online for a limited time - so check it out now you fool!

philosoraptor42: (Default)
Just looked at an interesting post where someone was claiming not to be a liberal. (I'm not interested in going into that since it's quite irrelevant to this post.) I've always had a problem with the term 'liberal' myself, especially in online conversations with more politically right-wing Americans who seem to use it as a term equivalent to 'scum'. The kinds of things they claim to be 'liberal' are often things which all three political parties in the UK would accept as common sense. Anyway, the point is that you need to know what you a term like 'liberal' means before you can affirm or deny holding to it.

This made me think about the whole atheism/agnosticism thingy.

Yes, this is where you click to read the rest of my pointless rant. )

philosoraptor42: (Shambo)
There's been a new conflict between religion and the state. This time it isn't a terrorist attack or even an offensive stageplay or book. This time the state wants to destroy a religious group's object of worship.

The object of worship is a bull.
The bull has TB.

But this bull ain't goin' nowhere without a fight!

The Guardian article gives up-to-the-minute news of what is happening to the bull.  There is something rather farscical about the whole thing:

I just wish I knew a bit more about the health threat. The best I've been able to find is this:

"They will be obliged to reconsider the public health objectives that underlie the surveillance and slaughter policy, and come to a view as to whether, in the reasonable pursuit of those objectives, the slaughter of this animal - or some less intrusive measure - would be proportional given the serious infringement of the community's rights ... that slaughter would involve," he said. The judge said the danger to humans from bovine TB was "particularly small" and the risk to other animals was minimised by isolating the bull.

This is from an old article where the judge was prepared to allow Shambo's case a little more consideration and to cancel the then-current orders to have Shambo slaughtered. It seems, however, that this didn't last. Anyway, I reckon I'm probably in favour of the slaughter of Shambo and it seems like the Hindu traditions have not been ignored. I thought people would find this entertaining nonetheless.


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