Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Thou Shalt Not Love Thy Neighbour In Icky Ways

A while back, I discussed the old superstition that epidemics are divine punishment for the misdeeds of humanity. I ended this piece with some musings as to what the deity is trying to tell us with bird flu. Perhaps something about not keeping ducks in our back yards?

As it turns out, bird flu is actually not a message to worldwide humanity (or fowl): it's addressed specifically to the people of Israel. And the message is "Thou Shalt Not Consider Condoning Gay Marriage".

The joker behind this pronouncement is gay-bashing Kabbalist rabbi David Basri. Basri is no peripheral nutcase, but a prominent person who for some reason commands a lot of respect in some circles.

Well, he don't over here at my place.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, so the reason the world is in such a bad shape is because I haven't bashed any gays this year. And here I was thinking it was because people were mean to each others!

22 March, 2006 09:46  
Blogger Martin said...

Well, what you need to understand is that for divine purposes, a lot of "people" are not in fact people at all. So according to this school of thought, gay-bashing is not actually being mean to people. It's just being righteously mean in general. Which is a divinely sanctioned attitude.

I mean, if you're omnipotent and still allow evil in the world, how much meaner can you get?

22 March, 2006 09:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have for a while TRIED to understand just how people justifies to themselves to believe in either an omnipotent and evil god or a useless powerless god on the other hand but I suppose the answer is simpler. They haven't thought about it and avoid doing it on purpose.

22 March, 2006 10:54  
Blogger Martin said...

I was thinking of prayer the other day. It confuses me. Why pray to an omnipotent benevolent being? It must already know your needs and cater to them. And why pray to an evil and/or non-omnipotent being? It will either not want to help you or not be able to.

22 March, 2006 11:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose I'm a bit harsh, if I remember correctly 20 years back from my confirmation. The reason God doesnt intervene directly is because last time it ended with him killing the entire planet -12 people. Wow, way to go God, how many humans did you drown back then, must have been a 500 million or so. Lucky they were all sinners.
The old swedish state church (protestant) beliefs aren't so offensive but incase I get to pick when I die I keep my Thors hammer around my neck. Fighting the giants at Ragnarök sound like fun and my skills at the gun range might come in handy.

22 March, 2006 12:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ups forgot to sign.

22 March, 2006 12:01  
Blogger Martin said...

In order to get drafted into the anti-Giant squad, make sure to die in battle. Otherwise you end up in Hell with the women and farmers and ergi boys.

Oh, and please keep me informed about what old-people's home you get put in. I'd like to stay clear of you on the day you decide, at 87, that it's time to go down in a blaze of glory. (-;

22 March, 2006 12:15  
Anonymous martha said...

Sounds like he should come on over and hang out with Pat Robertson. I imagine they would have a lot to talk about. Oh wait-- Pat Robertson hates Jews too. Oh well. Never mind.

24 March, 2006 17:45  
Blogger Martin said...

I was appalled to read about the recent gallup poll that showed that Americans generally feel that gays and Muslims are not trustworthy people, but that atheists are even worse.

They really appear to believe that the only reason people ever treat each other decently is because the bible says so.

24 March, 2006 17:51  
Anonymous martha said...

One of the inevitable problems of living in a large and geographically isolated country is that a lot of people are very provincial and have a limited knowledge of the outside world. Even in the age of international communication this is true. There is also the huge problem of hubris and smug complacency that goes along with being the world's superpower. I come from the midwest originally, the heart of the nation, and when I went to live in London for a brief period, it was a really eye opening experience. The people there were very aware countries have to interact with each other, that there are customs and languages that have to be accomodated, and I think that a lot of that awareness has to do with need. They can't afford to hide their heads in the sand. That said, I'm very uncomfortable being lumped into the patronizing, disagreeable stereotype of the ugly American. Yes there are plenty around, and yes the current administration is corrupt, power hungry and disgusting. But Bush was elected by a very small majority. There are plenty of us Americans who are thoughtful and eager to work with other nations and other kinds of people. I think lumping all Americans into one group is pretty much the same as lumping all Muslims into one group, or all gays or all atheists.

Sorry for the rant, but this is something that's painful for me.

24 March, 2006 21:57  
Blogger Martin said...

Absolutely -- part of the reason I keep this blog in English is because I'd like to reach a few of the many liberal-minded humanists in the US.

But it is strange that the world's greatest nation of immigrants has managed to forget to such an extent about other ways of life than the American one.

25 March, 2006 08:30  
Anonymous martha said...

It's inexplicable, isn't it? And scary, and sad and deeply frustrating.

25 March, 2006 18:28  

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