Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beware of iCat

Greetings.

Jewish date:  3 ’Elul 5769.

Today’s holiday:  Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Today’s quasi-holiday:  International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition.

Worthy causes of the day:  “President Obama, Please Protect the Grand Canyon” and “Protect Deep-sea Corals”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “World’s first Muslim superheroes, the 99, out to conquer the West”:  The idea behind the 99, a group of Muslim superheroes, is an attempt to counter the negative image that Muslims have on much of the planet.  This is an interesting idea, but it is like trying to cover a brontosaurus with a wash cloth.  To be very blunt, the Muslim world is at war with the West.  Islam has been at war with the rest of the planet since Muḥammad, who conquered much of Arabia, and his followers went on to conquer a band of territory stretch all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  The only Muslim country which is more or less democratic is (non-Arab, more or less secular) Turkey.  As for the rest, even the ones “friendly” to the United States, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have authoritarian governments and are no bastions of tolerance.  Non-Muslims are at best second-class citizens in Muslim countries, and even Muslims can be subject to harsh punishment or death for failing to adhere to Islamic norms.  Islam has become virtually synonymous with terrorism and war.  In short, the Muslim world is an obvious choice to provide villains, not heroes.  If Muslims want people to think better of them, it would make much more sense to start treating their own people and the rest of the planet a lot better.
  2. “Is Ga. kosher law kosher?”:  The law in Georgia is that in order to label a product as kasher, it must be kasher according to (Orthodox) Jewish law.  This has the “Conservative” movement unhappy, since according to Jewish law their “rabbis” are (to be blunt) heretics and incompetents, and thus not to be trusted to give competent hekhsher (kashruth certification).  Let the “Conservative” movement be unhappy.  Even if they get the Georgia law overturned, it makes little or no difference in practice.  A “Conservative” hekhsher is worthless, whether or not Georgia allows it.  No serious Orthodox Jew is going to accept a “Conservative” hekhsher, and a “Conservative” Jew does not need the approval of the state of Georgia to eat something when his/her “rabbi” says it is OK to eat anyway.
  3. Even a New Siddur Can’t Close ‘God Gap’”:  (Submitted by Harold.)  One of the hardest parts of Judaism is to try to maintain a personal relationship with YHWH, towards which we are required to pray.  However, maintaining enthusiasm and concentration in prayer is itself an uphill struggle; it is very easy to just recite the words by rote and to let one’s mind wander.  This article argues that new editions of the siddur (prayer book) are not solutions to the problem, based on the fact that this tactic has not worked in the past.
  4. Swiss basketball association forbids Muslim headscarf”:  More pointless religious intolerance.
  5. Homosexual Parenting”:  I really need to post more articles by Rav Maryles.  This is a good demonstration of calm thinking and rejection of irrational moral shortcuts, with the excellent points that all of us are subject to temptation and all of us screw up occasionally.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “iCat may not be compatible with other Apple products.
funny pictures of cats with captions
Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron
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