Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beware of the surprise narrator

Greetings.

Jewish date:  29 ’Av 5769.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  Root Beer Float Day, Potato Day, National Aviation Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Protect Our National Forests!” and “Tell Obama: The public option is not optional.”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Twitter site offers followers line to God”:  While I can appreciate the sanctity of the Western Wall and that going to the trouble of going there in order to pray or directly place a written prayer in the Wall might well have a huge impact on one’s kawwanah (intent, concentration) and demonstrate the seriousness of one’s petition to YHWH, somehow using a Twitter account to get the prayer there sounds more like placing an emphasis on the place rather than the Deity to Whom the prayer should be addressed.
  2. Something of an experiment:  Earlier this summer I sent out a bunch of requests to various religious organizations requesting various religious texts listed as being for free.  These are most of what I received:

    This is about half of what I (or rather my alter ego “Hiergargo Adelman”) requested, consisting of the King James Version of the Christian Bible, the Book of Mormon, a few copies of various versions of the New Testament, a few copies of the Qur’an with associated material, The Urantia Book, some Eckankar material, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Journey of a Soul, some Witness Lee/Watchman Nee material, and various pamphlets.  (Note that the bookends are there just to hold up the books; no one mailed them to me.)  Those who sent for free what I requested have demonstrated that they value spreading their message more than making money.  This is especially true for Urantia Canada, who sent me two hardback copies of The Urantia Book.
  3. Recent reading #1:  Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis (of The Chronicles of Narnia fame).  I really need to reread this book (which I feel is worth reading twice, as good books usually are) and mark out where all the interesting material is.  This is an exposition of basic Christian ideas from the point of view of someone who is sane and who does not think those who disagree with him are necessarily stupid or evil.  Very notable is Lewis’s notion that being a Christian is not an all-or-nothing deal.  Rather, he considers it a sliding scale and that people can be fractional Christians, depending on how much of Christianity they accept; thus members of other religions and even nominal Christians(!) according to him can be fractionally Christian.
  4. Recent reading #2:  The Witch’s Bible by Gavin and Yvonne Frost.  This book is not worth reading once.  It never gets into why anyone should believe in Wicca other than it is (allegedly) ancient.  Rather it is mostly a manual for rituals and the operation of covens.  There is also a large emphasis on pseudoscientific ideas, such as developing psychic powers and dealing with hauntings.  The Frosts do not seem to be able to distinguish between scientific and pseudoscientific sources at all.
  5. Unexpected religious reference I ran across yesterday:  See today’s weird thing.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is The Pink Panther cartoon “Pink Panzer”, which ends with a surprise twist as to who the narrator of the cartoon really is.

Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron
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