Leap of Faith

August 21, 2013

The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one. David Hume.

“Honey, the Lord has spoken unto me.”

“That’s nice, dear, what did He say?”

“He said, ‘Sean, my son, takest thou thy wife and the little children of thy loins, and go to San Diego. There buyest thou a small boat—say about ten cubits long by, oh heck, three and a half cubits wide–and sail it across the Pacific to Kiribati, that thou mayest be free of the Godless laws of America, where men are permitted to lie with men, and women with women, and the unborn are ripped untimely from their mothers’ wombs at the expense of the federal government, and my commandments are not permitted to be displayed on the walls of the city courthouse.’ ‘But Lord,’ I replied, ‘we know naught of nautical matters–there is no sea in Arizona–and we are sore afraid of the ocean.’ Then He said in a loud, annoyed kind of voice, ‘O ye of little faith! It’s not called the Pacific for nothing, you know. And as to the matter of navigation, I shall guide thee.'”

And so Sean Gastonguay took his wife, Hannah, and his daughters Ardith (3), and Rahab (8 months) to San Diego, bought a small boat, and set sail for Kiribati. It is unclear whether or not they knew that the highest mountain in Kiribati is about a yard high, and the government of that unhappy nation has advised its citizens to leave as pronto as possible, before rising sea levels drown them. But off they went into the Pacific where, to quote Mrs Gastonguay, it was just “storms, storms, storms.” After ninety days all they had left to eat was honey and fruit juice; the deck of their boat had begun to separate from the hull, like the upper coming adrift from the sole of an old shoe; and they hadn’t the faintest idea where they were.

They were luckily spotted by a fishing trawler and rescued. They are back home in Arizona, jobless and considerably poorer than when they left. The federal government are charging them $10,000 to cover the costs of their repatriation, in addition to the $9,963 they already owe in back taxes.

Here endeth the lesson.

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Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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God Bother

December 12, 2012

Alber Saber is due to be sentenced today in Egypt for the crime of ‘insulting Islam.’ He is alleged to have administered the Egyptian Atheists page on Facebook. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out, but in the meantime there are some questions to be asked of a jurisdiction that makes thoughts the subject of criminal proceedings.
blake_1
Mr Saber was brought up in a Christian household, but at some stage decided that he did not share the Christian beliefs of his parents, or indeed any belief in any supernatural gods. Mobs of believers descended on his home and demanded that he be arrested and punished for daring to say that he disbelieved in the things that they believed in, which is what happened. The obvious question this raises is why believers think that their gods are so fragile they need this kind of protection.
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Lady and the Loonies

June 28, 2012

It has reached my ears that there exists a person called Lady Gaga. I don’t know whether she is a member of the British aristocracy, or “Lady” is her name, like that dog in the movie, but I’m told that she makes her living by donning surprising costumes and singing and dancing. She is coming to sing and dance in Cape Town soon, and I say good luck to her. I shan’t be attending her performance because that sort of thing isn’t what floats my boat; but I’m quite sure that there are plenty of people who will enjoy what she has to offer in the way of entertainment.

Her imminent arrival has also flushed the usual crew of crackpots and lunatics out of their malodorous lairs. They have set up a facebook page called “Christians against Lady Gaga & Beyonce’s SA tours!!” They claim—amongst other things—that Lady Gaga is a satanist and may even be the bride of satan. Here’s a sample of the comments left on the site:–
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Art Raises its Head

May 24, 2012

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.
John F. Kennedy

A week or two ago I wrote about my “blind spot” with reference to the visual arts in general and, in particular, The Scream by Edvard Munch. Now a very different painting has been dominating the news, not because of the absurd price it commanded,–it sold for a modest $16,000–but because it depicted the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, with his penis hanging out of his trousers.

The Spear would probably not have been in the news at all were the South African government not as ignorant of the Streisand effect as they are of constitutional law, philosophy, civics, economics, geography, democracy and science. They brought suit in the High Court seeking an injunction against the painting being displayed in the Goodman Gallery, or on the website of a newspaper, the City Press. Their grounds are that the painting is disrespectful and impairs the President’s constitutional right to dignity. The case will be heard today, but the outcome is moot because the image is now hosted on thousands of websites worldwide. Oh, hell, let’s make it one more:–

The Spear


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Bun Fight

April 18, 2012

The last time Scallywag and I took a long-haul flight (Cape Town to London), we ordered Kosher meals. Our reason was not religious–we aren’t Jewish; we just wanted to be fed first, so we could take our Mickey Finns and be asleep by the time the cabin attendants had finished doing their “chicken or beef” routine with everyone else. It worked perfectly. I didn’t consider the fact that, had the plane been hijacked by al-Qaeda, we would have been first against the bulkhead. Perhaps next time I’ll order Halaal instead. The point is that it doesn’t matter a jot what logo or Imam’s or Rabbi’s signature appears on the packaging.

That’s why I was mystified by the brouhaha that broke out at Easter over a Halaal sticker that was affixed to the packaging of hot cross buns by a local retail chain. Some Christians got hot under the collar for some unfathomable reason. Here are some of the things they had to say

I hate woolworths… How can you do that to the Christians, I hope that God will have mercy on you. And dnt be surprised if your shops run bankrupt.. I will pray to my living God and you will see what he is capable of!

Nothing, so far. Either he’s ignoring you or he isn’t capable of much. Or perhaps he doesn’t exist.
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Beer and Baptists

March 8, 2012

My financial woes are over. When I get my payout from SAB-Miller I’ll be able to afford the lifestyle I so obviously deserve.

You see, if I hadn’t used so much of their product in my youth I would have been at least a billionaire and quite possibly the chairman of a FTSE 100 company. The money I spent purchasing beer by the cubic meter would have been invested in dot com start-ups and then sold before the bubble burst; my brain would have been unrotted by booze and, with steady hands and a clear-eyed, steely gaze, I would have ascended the corporate ladder, yeah, even unto the highest rung. I therefore intend to file suit and sue the brewery for leading me astray and depriving me of the riches that should have been mine.

I suppose you think I’ve eaten of the insane root that takes the reason prisoner, and I don’t blame you; but what I described above is what, in essence, the mellifluously named Arquimedes Nganga is doing, except that the defendant in his case is the Baptist Church, and it wasn’t beer that was his downfall, but religious mania.
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Richard Dawkins Interview

February 24, 2012

I heard this interview (15.6 MB) on the Redi Thlabi show on Cape Talk. There are some quite interesting points made, and there are some funny moments–poor Redi nearly cracked up with laughter at one point.