Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Molly's television viewing is pretty well restricted to sitting in front of the tube during supper and flipping through the channels to try and find the least stupid electronic blah-blah while she shovels the daily caloric intake down her throat. In pursuit of this mindless activity she came across the sleazy "documentary" tonight about 'The Tomb of Jesus'. Like many other things, such as Anne Marie what's her name who died of a presumed drug overdose in (I think) the Bahamas and the so-called star who shaved her head bald (which Molly very happily can't recall the name of at the moment- hey my mind blocks work!) this crap is inescapable, and Molly devotes a considerable amount of effort to forgetting such things even before they are forgotten by the general public. Eat your heart out Freud, "garbage dump" is superior to "repression" any day of the week. By doing this I free the diminishing amount of free neurons that I have for stuff that is much more interesting such as the grammar of foreign languages or odd biological and astronomical facts. I also consider this pseudo-news as something very akin to elephantiasis, or any other parasite that sets up residence in my precious body- or in this case my mind. I get the creepy feeling of invasion whenever such nonsense hits either my ears or eyes. It goes as follows,
"I don't care. I never will care. I also hate you for trying to waste my time with useless gossip".
For somebody who spends far too much time on the phone every day, and plots ways to cut conversations short this is an important thing. It's also important for somebody who tries to take medical histories in the face of the ever present human tendency to never answer a direct question. I've had to circle back to start 8 times sometimes to get the information I want (which is what these people are paying me for after all), and sometimes I've had to give up on ever getting a straight answer. I hate people who waste my time without paying me while I merely plot ways to get information from those that do pay me so that I can be of service to them. Fair deal to my mind. But nobody pays me to pay attention to celebrities or ideas that are essentially boring.
Also my "crook detector apparatus" gets more refined every year that I live. I'm actually amazed by how efficient it is. When I get a message from the answering service this "spider sense" usually starts tingling even if the crook in question hasn't left any obvious clues to their intentions. Something is operating below the level of rational calculation here, and the message conveyed is emotional, but just as obvious nonetheless.
Thus I viewed the sound bites hitting my ears about 'The Tomb of Jesus', though here I don't have to rely on emotion. Oh yeah, a crew of film-makers makes a spectacular pseudo-documentary about discovering Jesus' tomb shortly after a multi-million dollar film grosses megabucks at the cinema. Ah...toooooo obvious. I wonder what bribes had to be paid to get it aired as I doubt that this is the first scam about this thing. Rational suspicion will suffice here. Let's also note that this stunning discovery escaped the scholars who originally unearthed the remains decades ago. This is about as obvious as a tele-evangelist pitch to send money or they will be "called home" (please hurry on that matter).
Anyways, I'd like to call the readers' attention to an interesting debunking of this matter at the Catholic Anarchy site. Not that this implies any sympathy on my part for the Church I left over 40 years ago, but the owner of this blog (see also our 'Blogs' section in the Links) has a bit more interest in this matter than I do, being as I am inclined to dismiss it as "one more crook". If I didn't write about it here I'd forget it ever existed within two weeks- which I almost did except that it disturbed my digestion. Anyways, a good debunking is presented there.
I hope, though I have no "faith", that this piece of silliness will not be adopted by atheists as some sort of "proof" against Christianity. Atheism is no more immune to nonsense than any theism, which is perhaps why I prefer to call myself a "skeptic" rather than an "atheist". Not that I believe in any theism, but I am hardly "evangelical" about the matter. Lest anyone believe that atheism cannot reproduce the worst of evangelical Christianity I urge people to look at the case of American Atheists and its founder Madelaine Murray O'Hare. The anarchist writer Fred Woodworth, who is much more of a militant atheist than I could ever be, took on O'Hare at the very height of her power.
Molly would like to take this opportunity to express a theory about theories. It is very much modelled on the "random search" model of evolutionary biology where a "fitness landscape" allows the possibility of perhaps a great number of "fitness peaks" as organisms evolve. It can be formulated as follows:
"Given the fact that the "fitness" of memes (ie beliefs) doesn't depend solely on either their logical coherence, their approximation to truth nor their compatibility to other memes such standards of morality there will always be a great number of "fit" memes which represent both a gross simplification of the original ideas and even a moral degradation of same. These will evolve and propagate amongst a population of "hosts" for a number of reasons, but, like "the poor" they will always be with us."
I call this The law of Chintz. Every great idea will eventually find a thuggish and low expression. Christianity will evolve tele-evangelists. Ideas such as those of Ellul, Shumacher, and Illich will end up as the degraded rhetoric of primitivists. Critiques of ideology and abstraction such as those of Stirner will end up as ideological gobbledygook such as "post leftism". Observations about the social context of thought, scientific and otherwise, will end up as the petty academic power politics of "post-modernism". Marxism will end up as either Stalinism or sterile academic arguments about dialectics. The anarchist idea of "direct action" will be reduced to the travelling rent-a-riots of protest. Protestanism will end up with the Jehovahs. Catholicism will end up with Austrian arch-bishops who try to deny evolution and a half assed apology to Galleleo. Islam will end up with Wahabism. The evolution of such memes is inevitable, but their triumph is not such.
Enough of the "Molly hiss" for now. The world contains better things than crooks trying to scam bucks by- probably- deliberately lying. I find it hard to believe that the film makers are not deliberate about what they are doing. In any case check out the site of my Catholic comrade for the debunking. For now I zip out to finish the day's unloading and feed the squirrels for tomorrow. They, at least, don't lie. Neither do the stars.

1 comment:

Seven Star Hand said...

Lying about the name Jesus, for profit, yet again...

Hello Molly and all,

The most interesting aspect of this Jesus Tomb story revolves around the actual names on the bone boxes compared to what is being asserted in the effort to make a profit. Pay special attention to the tortured explanations of how names like Jesus, Mary, Matthew, Joseph, and others were "translated" (interpolated) from inscriptions that actually say otherwise. Most specifically, both Christians and those who are promoting this "Jesus Tomb" discovery and its associated assertions are profiting from the very same long-term process of obfuscation and meticulous misdirection.

For anyone, whether Christian leaders and adherents or James Cameron to keep a straight face while claiming that the name Jesus was one of the most common in Second Temple Israel is highly instructive. The name that is commonly translated as Joshua was very common, but the name Jesus is a very unique and narrowly targeted construction of recent centuries that simply cannot have truthfully appeared anywhere in the ancient Near East. Likewise, many are writing that Jesus is instead the english form of Joshua, as if the millions of english speaking Christians and Jews named Joshua have foreign names. Furthermore, does anyone know of any person named Joshua who would seriously assert that the English form of their name is Jesus? These deceptive assertions are beyond absurd.

This long-term charade about a name that simply could not have been written or pronounced in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, or even Latin, which is now being touted as one of the more common names from ancient Israel/Judea, serves as an illuminating microcosm for the entire New Testament and the many dubious assertions and activities that have accompanied it and Christianity throughout their entire existence. As Christians rally to "prove" that this archeological find can't be the tomb and bones of the "Jesus" and "Mary" of the New Testament, they too should honestly answer questions about why it is correct to interpolate those names in such a unique way to support the veracity of the most profitable story in history, but not to interpret an archeological discovery. Christians must truthfully answer the question of why it is wrong for the "Jesus Tomb" crew to use Christianity's own methodology to arrive at the names now being asserted as appearing on those bone boxes.

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Here is Wisdom !!