Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Update on Ed: Still Dead in the Head

You can always trust Ed "I'm Talking and I Can't Shut Up" Babinski to come up with a yard-long skein of nonsense. This time we'll have a look at one such skein he offered as a comment on a review of my ebook on hell on Amazon.
Doesn't everyone with a point of view have a "''polarity' that is repulsed" to some degree by alternative points of view? Not just in religion, but also in politics, sex, science, even concerning one's opinions/tastes in dining, music, and floral arrangements?
What this has to do with anything is hard to say. Presumably it is raised as a point to my comment that the nature of God has a "polarity" opposite of sinners, which would drive sinners from His presence. What's the point? There is none. All of this is in one sense true; dualism is part of daily life. But the degree of effect is far from comparable; no one is going to be driven away from the presence of someone who prefers daisies just because they prefer rhododendrons, and the person who prefers rhododendrons isn't the author of eternal life.
It seems Dumbinski said all this for no other purpose that to make a joke, thus:
To "hell" with what others believe, or say, or do, or like to experience? So maybe the concept of "hell" is naturally based, in our natural divergencies of opinion, desires, and tastes? And we have taken a metaphor and made it an eternal destination?
So maybe Edski is versed in non sequiturs? That's likely. But as it is, the basis for hell in my view is honor and shame, which isn't a metaphor or a "natural divergency of opinion," but a social structure.
Also, conceiving such a concept as eternal punishment and a place such as hell makes it difficult for people of different religions to see what's best in each, especially in their behaviors, rather than to remain concerned about the other's "eternal fates" and their list of "proper beliefs."
Yep. Leave it to Edski to place truth and falsehood in the back seat for the sake of "seeing what's best" -- and this is a rather peculiar statement from a guy who thinks ALL of those beliefs are wrong anyway. As with Karen Armstrong, this is a clear case of tolerant condescension.

And if you're really going to (as Holding does) take the external punishment out of hell, leaving only the internal punishment, the self-punishment, and claim that only 85% of people conceived ever go there (probably a low estimate since half of all zygotes naturally perish during the earliest weeks of pregnancy), that's only 15% away from universal salvation (probably even less than 15% away from universal salvation, as I said).
The point here is what? 15% is still 15%. Not only that, but typical advocates of universal salvation aren't thinking about zygotes when they make their arguments.

And why can't a person who is torturing themselves inside be reached out to from the outside? If Satan can throw darts that even Christians in their full armor must remain wary of at all times, then why can't an omnipotent, omniscient and omnicompassionate being like God pierce through the puny mental armor of mere animated dust (humans are mere animated dust, only alive via God's spirit-breath) and relate to that animated dust what's most true and beautiful in a way that being could finally see?

Ah yes, the usual Edski naivete. Note that this is from a guy who has consistently and repeatedly over the years been challenged by me to answer various arguments, but inevitably runs away with his tail tucked between his legs, saying nothing in response. I'm still waiting, for example, for him to answer some questions I asked him about Pythagoras on TheologyWeb. Years ago. And I didn't even need to be omnipotent or omniscient to make him shut up on any of those. Edski will never grasp that being "reached" is not the same as "making a willful decision". He of all people is proof that even faced with demolition of what they claim, there are those who will nevertheless choose hell.

Also, in Holding's heaven, it will be filled with folks who either died as zygotes or in the womb or before the age of eight (half of all children who were born died before reaching 8 years old right up till the mid 1700s), so the majority of heaven will be filled with humans who recall little about life on earth. That's the majority of heaven. Why did we even need this earthly experience if that's the majority of heaven?
Gee, that's a stupid question. Why would any organization, then, need for anyone to go through the ranks of experience when the vast majority of people will start at entry-level positions?

Most of the rest of the souls per Holding will be folks who never got to hear the Gospel or learn a thing about Jesus. In fact probably 7 billion modern humans had been born and died on earth before Jesus was ever born. So another huge portion of heaven will consist of people who never heard a thing about Jesus.
Again: So? Edski is the only Skeptic I have seen that is stupid enough to turn around the standard complaint that "God sure is sending a lot of people to hell" and turn that into a complaint too. Edski won't be happy with any scenario.
He goes on to make the same point about some persons who "never heard." repeats himself three different ways, and observes that what I say sounds "pretty universalistic" (once again, like the fundamentalist he still is, Edski is more concerned with attaching labels than with understanding points or evaluating truth claims). Then he mumbles about how there will be so many people in heaven there in spite of their conversion being on what I'd reckon to be poor grounds; e.g, being frightened by a Chick tract. Again, it is amazing: Edski is the one Skeptic who can actually turn God's mercy into a reason to whine.
He says, "I guess Holding will have his work cut out for him even once he reaches heaven." Well, uh, duh, Edski -- yeah. That's the point. Despite your gross retained fundmentalism, heaven is work, not a vacation. So is discipleship. Edski whines, "Why doesn't God make it a bit easier and reveal himself correctly here and now?" oblivious to the point that the problem is his laziness, arrogance and stupidity, not God's lack of clarity. He whimpers in close:
 I just can't help thinking that people like Holding who claim to have such a clear vision as to what lay behind the metaphysical curtain actually have such a clear vision. Do they really?
Don't we? If we don't, Edski, then gird up your loins and show we don't. Answer the arguments instead of spouting 500 paragraphs of irrelevant verbal diarrhea, inane "what if" questions, and Skeptical folklore.
I won't expect him to do it anytime soon. Because I'm still waiting for that answer on Pythagoras.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Karen King Resurrects Dan Brown

Update: See link at bottom. As some expected, the papyrus has been declared a fake by experts.


Every time some nutty thing pops up, I know it without watching the news because I get at least 3-4 messages about it right away. That was the case with the latest fad find, announced by scholar Karen King, of a papyrus that said Jesus had a wife.

As usual, the right answer is: So what? The papyrus is dated to the 4th century,  and so it tells us nothing because it has earned no privilege over the canonical sources. Anyone who thinks so has a lot more work to do than go, "Whoop, there it is!"

I'll add a comment from one of my longtime contacts, who actually went to Harvard:

Good grief, what a joke. I never took a class with [King] when I was at Harvard because I was friends with some of her students. In short, a lot of nonsense. The methodology is this: make the evidence usable for contemporary political concerns--the negotiation of social power. What frankly pisses me off is that she knows this doesn't really tell us anything about Jesus (though, given her predilections, this doesn't stop her from exaggerating the significance of "gender" and "sexuality" in the early Church): she just uses the fragment to stir up a controversy whose framework she's rather fond of. In other words, the under-informed reader doesn't have a whit of understanding regarding Scripture or Tradition, but she or he does know that "renowned" scholars are taking the notion of a married Jesus (and, by implication, a centuries-long wide-scale cover-up of truth on the part of the Church) quite "seriously" . . . all of which goes some way in proving that I was right in what I said a few years ago: Harvard should change its motto from "veritas" to "utilitas."

That about sums it up...except for this.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Protest That Isn't There

Islam isn't my specialty, so naturally I will be neither watching nor commenting upon the recent brouhaha involving a viral video critical of Muhammed. However, I do think it is a worthwhile place to make a point.

Why don't Christians get activist when crap like The God Who Wasn't There comes out?

Obviously, I do not mean "activist" to the point of assassinating people, burning things, and overturning cars. I mean a much more orderly, much more intellectual, but also very much as public, activism where we make our displeasure known, and also explain why we are displeased -- in great, intellectual detail, and with accompanying public shows of numbers.

It is said by some news agencies that much violence is expected in the Muslim world today as they meet for Friday services, and are expected to hear their weekly versions of sermons which encourage them to go out and have at it against the Great Infidel. Right now, it's hard to imagine pastors on Sunday activating their congregations the same way, unless it is to attack the buffet down at Golden Corral. Why is that?

Oh yes, of course, many Christians did show up at Chick-Fil-A to show their support. When there's food involved, and you have to eat lunch anyway, and you may not even have to get out of your car -- well, that's about the limit of Christian ideological activism, I suppose. Maybe if we could get Chick-Fil-A to cater a demonstration against The God Who Wasn't There, more Christians would show up? 

It's puzzling, really. We have demonstrations at abortion clinics (rightly so), but it doesn't occur to anyone to demonstrate against things like Flemming's film that attack our underlying reasons for demonstrating against abortion. Right now Westboro Baptist could get a bigger showing for a soldier's funeral than I could get for a demo against Flemming's crap. 

In that parlance of today, what's up with that?

Friday, September 7, 2012

TektonTV Behind the Scenes: Mitch Eaten By Monster

We made an offer on TektonTV to give "how to" overviews of scenes from our vids. One reader requested a how-to on a scene used at the end of a couple of vids where ProfMTH (Mitch) is eaten by a monster. You can see this at the end in the following vid:

The process here was rather simple, but it's also a good example of how to get certain complex things done in these vids. Unfortunately, since this was an early vid, I had not yet got the idea of saving all the old elements for later re-use and demonstration, so I only have finished graphics to illustrate, starting with the base graphic:

When the monster eats Mitch, certain elements in this scene will remain the same -- the background, and the bulk of the monster. What moves? The monster's mouth, his tongue, and Mitch himself flying into the monster's mouth. Since the majority of the scene does not move, it is far more economical to add in the things which do move. 

So what I do is create a potpourri of miscellaneous “parts” – the monster’s open mouth (not his whole body), the monster’s tongue, and Flying Mitch.
The open mouth is designed to simply be slapped on top of the monster as he stands there. The tongue can be cut, copied, and pasted to any length needed. Then we have the separate drawing of Mitch as he's being eaten. 
First, the monster's mouth pasted on. I can size adjust the layer that the mouth belongs to, if it doesn't quite fit, and also erase anything that sticks out too much, before I anchor it to the scene.

Then we add in the tongue. I had to do this twice, copying and pasting more of its length so that it could reach Mitch.

At this point I then erase the standing Mitch and part of the tongue, and replace it with the flying Mitch. Then I repaste in the end of the tongue, from Flying Mitch to the other end of the tongue.

Then, at the end, we're back to the monster with his mouth closed. For this I didn't need to remove everything I had added; I just took an earlier picture from the vid and erased Mitch.

That's how it was done. Bon appetit!