Coral Snake

D. James Kennedy, head honcho of Coral Ridge Ministries of Fort Lauderdale, is perhaps even more of a lying asshat than James Dobson and other megachurch mavens. I was living in the area when Hurricane Wilma hit last October, and despite losing power for close to two weeks myself, I remember getting a good laugh over seeing pictures and footage of Coral Ridge Church with its roof torn asunder, my amusement tempered only by the fact that the entire cursed building hadn’t been destroyed and carried off on the stinking, high-velocity breath of God himself, whose decision to repeatedly smite South Florida with windstorms is the sanest one He’s ever made.


I’ve decided that America really places no premium on honesty. None at all. Sure, some individuals still value personal integrity and the thought of lying fills them with discomfiture, but on the whole our society doesn’t merely tolerate bullshit, it virtually relies on it. The President bullshits the public, employers bullshit workers, spouses bullshit each other, parents bullshit their kids (and vice versa), students at all levels bullshit their professors and teachers, and even bloggers bullshit the people misguided enough to read their screeds. But leading the charge? High-profile religious figures, of course. They lie in federally funded abstinence “education” programs, they lie about evolution, they lie about physics, they lie about geology, and they even lie about what’s in their own intrinsically shit-streaked Bibles (an essential component of maintaining the claim that its contents are valid). And commoners of faith, conditioned from a young age to accept all manner of God-garbage unquestioningly, are all too eager to gulp down these mistruths. Salvation, baby!
Why bother prosecuting the thieving Lays and Milkens and Kozlowskis of the world when we freely tolerate dreck like the following taken from a link to a radio show, “Truths that Transform,” on the Coral Ridge home page?

Reclaiming Science from Darwinism (Part 2)
“Do you believe that Darwinism is a failed theory? Then you need to start acting like it! And you can! Why? Because the evidence points to a young Earth and a Creator! Want to know why? You can, when you join Dr. D. James Kennedy and his guest, Dr. Ken Poppe, on Truths That Transform.”

I didn’t listen to this or any of the other programs listed on the Truths that Transform site and I probably won’t, given that I don’t feel like running out and purchasing a new monitor after this one flies out the window and is smashed to pieces in the driveway two stories below. Kennedy, smiling paternally from two different graphics on his home page as if he’s just corn-hogged his favorite feline or farm animal, knows full well that there is no evidence for a “young Earth.” But he also knows that he can convince a great many people that such evidence does in fact exist and in so doing lure more people into the fold, said crease being the fetid crack of his prevaricating, money-grubbing ass. (Yep, I’m testy today.) And a site search for “homosexuality” of course yields a plethora of results (86 as of this writing), all of them bemoaning the far-flung evils of same-sex relations and urging visitors to actively combat this shameful solecism.

Coral Ridge also links to an outfit called the Creation Studies Institute. Here’s the CSI’s mission statement:

“It is our heart’s desire as a ministry, to serve the body of Christ by equipping you with the knowledge needed to refute the lies of evolution. We believe that through this knowledge, your faith will be strengthened, and you will be brought closer to Christ. Our goal is to prepare you to confidently share with others, the truth of Creation, as taught throughout the Bible. We also believe that when we receive the knowledge of Christ as our Creator, we are one step closer to knowing Him as Savior.”

Were it not for the aegis of religion, people spouting such drivel would likely be institutionalized; there is not one coherent sentence in this paragraph except, perhaps, for the second one, which merely promises to make adherents even more insane. Then there’s an undertaking by the CSI that the organization has termed “Operation SALT”:

“Through distribution of informative pamphlets/booklets, CSI will provide scientific evidences with qualified resources in the area of the origins of man and the universe. These will challenge the prevalent and popular evolutionary worldview, which practices deception, censorship and brainwashing. Each issue will contain information regarding a certain so-called ‘proof’ of evolution that is currently being taught in the secular school system through textbooks and lesson plans. CSI then tackles this ‘proof’ of evolution with the truth, using factual scientific evidence and quotes from the evolutionists themselves.”

I’ll start and end by pointing out that scientists don’t deal in “proving” anything. But there’s no reason to parse this nonsense any further. This isn’t a matter of religious people clinging stubbornly but innocently to a nutty belief system. Not all purveyors of “faith” are brainwashed — many of the more visible ones may have half a phallus in God’s toothless maw, but for the most part they’re about as devout as I am; they’re profiteers and racketeers, and whoever wrote the above passages is a shameless f*cking liar.
This is, if I remember correctly (and I admit may be thinking of Focus on the Family) the same church which at one point embedded words such as “gay” and “homosexual” in the META tags of certain pages on its Web site so as to lure Internet surfers to its “corrective measures” pertaining to queerdom. These were removed after a gay blogger called attention to them (and I forget the name and URL of said blog); regardless, the Coral Ridge site includes scads of material condemning homosexuality, including a stomach-turning manifesto titled “THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA: A BARRIER TO EVANGELISM,” written by Alliance Defense Fund president and former Reagan lapdog Alan Sears, who, given the depth of his fixation on gays’ motives, must have nightmares (or sweet dreams) each and every night about having his fudge packed by a gigantic, flouncing, tutu-wearing sodomite. Then there are the inevitable deconversion stories, which, according to the site, offer “evidence that Christ delivers from homosexuality.” That’s generous of him, since Jesus didn’t utter a word about homosexuality in the Bible. Jesus did say, “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18), but Christians seem to pay precious little attention to this verse.
Coral Ridge, of course, offers many items for sale (the prices of which are termed “donations,” which may well fool most shoppers most of the time), among them books with titles that could make Eeyore burst into brays of laughter on his most dyspeptic, dysphoric day: Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, Evolution’s Fatal Fruit, The Collapse Of Evolution, Evidence For Creation, Evolution: The Root Of The Problem, D. James Kenedy Plays a Mean Skin-Flute. Okay, I made that last one up, but it’s the only title in the bunch that stands a chance of being true.
What’s most striking about Coral Ridge Ministries and the countless sites and outfits like it is the patency of their duplicitous, full-scale assault on reason and science. Christians, much like toddlers, are quick to bitch about being “marginalized” when they don’t get exactly what they want, when they want it; they complain bitterly when shows like Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! “mock” (the correct word is “expose”) religion. Yet these same whiners feel no compunction whatsoever about mocking “Darwinism” and everything else that scuttles their dogma — and they do it by dipping into an endless well of lies.
But take heart! It’s still early in Florida’s hurricane season.
8/16 11:49 UPDATE: P.Z. Myers has linked to his own D. James diatribe from the Pharyngula of yore. I have to admit that “lying asshat” doesn’t hold a candle to “dead-eyed, purse-lipped, mackerel-faced man,” but when reaming someone it’s important to cover all the bases.

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  1. #1 by somnilista, FCD on August 15, 2006 - 5:35 pm

    DragonScholar says:

    I find the attack-religion idea pretty non-functional. It produces backlash, it makes you look bad, and it’s an invitation to loosing perspective.

    I say: tell it like it is.

  2. #2 by somnilista, FCD on August 15, 2006 - 5:36 pm

    D. James Kennedy, head honcho of Coral Ridge Ministries of Fort Lauderdale, is perhaps even more of a lying asshat than…

    I’m not quite clear on something. You don’t like the man, do you?

  3. #3 by DragonScholar on August 15, 2006 - 6:33 pm

    somnilista,
    “Tell it like it is” may sound nice, and even feel good (at times, very good), but the real question is this – is it going to work? What are the best tactics in this case?
    Seems to me attacking religion just plays into the hands of the ID crowd. They can take aside some moderate and reasonable person and say “see, look at those evil Darwinista types, I TOLD you they’re like that . . .”
    We want to fight, we have to fight smart, and we’ve got a large population of people already against science and rationality. We don’t need to give them the advantage of conforming to their propaganda.

  4. #4 by Bill from Dover on August 15, 2006 - 8:00 pm

    I find the attack-religion idea pretty non-functional. It produces backlash, it makes you look bad, and it’s an invitation to loosing perspective.

    And what do you suggest? Attempting to use reason and logic to argue with these godidiots. Have you not read any of the links? The only way to deal with these bugfuckers is to expose them for the blabbering hypocrites that they are.
    As far as keeping mum as to avoid producing backlash, this is exactly the reason the world is in such a fuckin’ mess today; especially the freedom & democracy spredin’ like across the Middle fucking East.

  5. #5 by Kevin Beck on August 15, 2006 - 10:37 pm

    DragonScholar,
    I appreciate your idealism and wish it were well-founded, but as Bill noted, treating people like Kennedy and his ites with kid gloves is a sure route to failure. These people are lying sacks of shit and the best thing people can do is expose their lies. Now, in oral public discourse I wouldn’t rant and rave and drop F-bombs the way I do here if I wanted to make a point, but hammering away at creationists’ dishonesty and hypocrisy is the only imaginable means of convincing fence-sitters that these people are in fact lying sacks of shit as well as bigoted and often delusional to boot. To engage them civilly is to give tacit approval to their tactics if not necessarily their views; nonreligious moderates see this and falsely assume it means scientists are making a modicum of concession to the cancerous wreck that is contemporary fundagelical Christocracy. If they see defenders of reason behaving civilly but not pulling a single punch, they may grasp the true nature of the conflict.

  6. #6 by DragonScholar on August 15, 2006 - 11:49 pm

    Bill, Kevin
    Actually, I think you missed my point I’m not interested in being NICE to the ID/creationist crowd. I’m simply arguing that a “war on religion” approach as noted seems to be an invitation to failure. It sounds like a way to make more enemies (“I’m a churchgoer and I guess these scientist guys hate me”) and give the ID crowd more ammo (“see, they unreasonably hate religion just like we said”). We don’t need either.
    It’s not idealism, it’s quite the opposite, pragmatism. It’s concern over a tactical choice that seems to me as if it will bear little fruit.
    In short, I WANT to live to see a day ID/Creatioism is known for what it is, exposed, and left as a footnote in history. I don’t see the “assault on religion” idea is going to give me that future.

  7. #7 by Ick of the East on August 15, 2006 - 11:58 pm

    I think it’s quite possible that D. James and his ilk actually believe what they are peddling and are not consciously lying.
    I’ve got otherwise perfectly normal relatives who believe the same and are making no money off of this shit.
    That’s what religion does to people. It makes them insane. They can actually believe things that are just plain nuts.
    As for combating it? Neither reason nor scorn work. So I vote for scorn. It feels better.
    .

  8. #8 by Kevin Beck on August 16, 2006 - 12:33 am

    Yeah, Kennedy is probably more than a little off the beam. Here, courtesy of Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s Kennedy bio at http://www.au.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5936&abbr=cs_ , are some excerpts from his 1994 book, Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul, which he co-wrote with Jim Nelson Black.
    The Culture War
    “Christians did not start the culture war but…we are going to end it. That is a fact, and the Bible assures us of victory.” (p. 76)
    Deliberately Deceitful Educators
    “Not all the educators in our public schools and universities are deliberately deceitful, not all of them want to destroy this nation, but many do. The major teachers’ unions certainly do.” (p. 75)
    The United States: A Christian Nation
    “But the fact is, the United States of America was conceived and brought forth by Christians, and history tells us that story in no uncertain terms….Anyone who reads about the values upon which this nation was founded understands perfectly well that this was, from the start, a Christian nation.” (p. 71)
    Ten Thousand Communist Professors
    “Just a few years ago, there were as many as ten thousand Communist professors in American universities. The average person never saw any of them, and many would doubt the truth of that statistic. But I can assure you it is true.” (p. 63)
    Secular Sinners
    “Modern secularists and agnostics do not want to admit that the Christian religion is true, because that would mean that they are sinners; and they have no intention of giving up their right to sin.” (p. 46)
    Public School Immorality
    “Teachers in many of our public schools have acceded to the policies of the liberal teachers’ unions to make sure that students from kindergarten through high school will be stripped of any sense of moral or ethical absolutes. Right and wrong are non-issues in our public schools.” (p.260)
    Evolution: Into The Slime
    “Every new advance and every step taken by science confirm not evolution but the Genesis account of creation. Yet evolution still continues to be taught as fact….Thus, the honorable place that had been given to human beings by God is surreptitiously aborted, and they are dragged down into the slime.” (p. 178)
    Dismantling The Wall Of Separation
    “If we are committed and involved in taking back the nation for Christian moral values, and if we are willing to risk the scorn of the secular media and the bureaucracy that stand against us, there is no doubt we can witness the dismantling of not just the Berlin Wall but the even more diabolical ‘wall of separation’ that has led to increasing secularization, godlessness, immorality, and corruption in our country.” (p. 126-127)
    Engaging The Enemy
    “God forbid that we who were born into the blessings of a Christian America should let our patrimony slip like sand through our fingers and leave to our children the bleached bones of a godless secular society. But whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: God has called us to engage the enemy in this culture war. That is our challenge today.” (p. 91)
    No Power On Earth Can Stop Us
    “This is our land. This is our world. This is our heritage, and with God’s help, we shall reclaim this nation for Jesus Christ. And no power on earth can stop us.” (p. 85)
    Reclaiming America For Christ
    “How much more forcefully can I say it? The time has come, and it is long overdue, when Christians and conservatives and all men and women who believe in the birthright of freedom must rise up and reclaim America for Jesus Christ.” (p. 80)

  9. #9 by nate on August 16, 2006 - 10:49 am

    I have watched D. James on his Coral Ridge Ministries hour on some station, have ordered many of his pamphlets (those that were free), and receive his email updates, and the man is despicable. His message is disturbing–it’s extremely authoritarian, and, as you note, supported with pure lies. I received the financial breakdown for his church and he takes in 10s of millions of dollars a year, so he is obviously being accepted by a large number of people. The thing I find fascinating about him is that he isn’t terribly charismatic–something I would expect necessary for the cult he is running.
    I agree that piles of scorn should be heaped upon D. James Kennedy and his followers–reasoning with the fuck could not possibly work, and any person that accepts his message has also abandoned all reason.

  10. #10 by Robert O'Brien on August 16, 2006 - 10:58 am

    Kevin:
    You suffer from a distinct lack of intellectual acumen. No wonder you and Peezee are bedfellows.

  11. #11 by Robert O'Brien on August 16, 2006 - 10:58 am

    Kevin:
    You suffer from a distinct lack of intellectual acumen. No wonder you and Peezee are bedfellows.

  12. #12 by Robert O'Brien on August 16, 2006 - 10:58 am

    Kevin:
    You suffer from a distinct lack of intellectual acumen. No wonder you and Peezee are bedfellows.

  13. #13 by Kevin Beck on August 16, 2006 - 11:10 am

    “You suffer from a distinct lack of intellectual acumen. No wonder you and Peezee are bedfellows.”
    Thus spake Robert! Heady stuff coming from someone who beieves that saying “you’re an idiot!” is all that’s required to establish a point. No wonder you, D. James Kennedy, Jeezee and any number of imaginary friends and neighbors are bedfellows.

  14. #14 by GH on August 16, 2006 - 11:16 am

    I think Robert is clueless of course as does anyone who thinks normally BUT you mention divorce here and equate it wrongly with Christians stance on homosexuality.
    Jesus was giving divorce a value, calling it a sin. Simple.The sentence is passive. This placed a value on it. Christians are entirely consistent to think divorce a sin and see it as forgiven. Equating it with the continued sin of homosexuality is not a fair analogy.
    Divorce is a one time event not a lifestyle.
    Having said that I think it’s all pretty crazy.:-)

  15. #15 by Kevin Beck on August 16, 2006 - 11:28 am

    “Christians are entirely consistent to think divorce a sin and see it as forgiven. Equating it with the continued sin of homosexuality is not a fair analogy.”
    I’m not equating the two per se, as it’s clear which Christians deem the more severe. My points are 1) that homosexuality is never mentioned by Jesus and 2) that few Christians, even if acknowledging what the Bible says about divorce, would admit to being adulterers by the standards of scripture.
    Robert is an evolution denier and thinks that Ed Brayton is a moron, so I must be on the right track here.

  16. #16 by GH on August 16, 2006 - 11:39 am

    acknowledging what the Bible says about divorce, would admit to being adulterers by the standards of scripture.

    Actually I know few who wouldn’t have thought it a sin, they just understand it’s a one time event and forgiveable. They are not adulterers per scripture, they may have committed a one time sinful act but they aren’t adulterers. The verses you cite are far from clear and there are no less than 100(at least) various takes on them.
    And just because homosexuality isn’t mentioned by Jesus doesn’t make your argument stronger. And understand I actually agree with you for the most part I just think your argument in this case isn’t strong.

  17. #17 by Zeno on August 16, 2006 - 11:43 am

    I’ve never quite been able to figure out the degree to which D. James Kennedy is simply a flagrant liar versus being profoundly self-deceived. He gives stirring eyewitness testimony to nonexistent events like the Julian Huxley hoax. Kennedy claims he personally watched a TV interview in which Sir Julian said evolution was embraced by scientists as an excuse for sexual licentiousness. It never happened, but Kennedy keeps repeating it.

  18. #18 by Kevin Beck on August 16, 2006 - 11:46 am

    “And just because homosexuality isn’t mentioned by Jesus doesn’t make your argument stronger.”
    Well, I’m not certain what you see as “my argument.” The entirety of said argument, apart from my contempt for Kennedy and fundagelical Christianity, is that Jesus himself never once mentioned homosexuality. I didn’t address the broader issue of whether it’s a sin according to the Bible, which — as a glance at Leviticus sugests — it probably is.
    Anyway, I think we agree that a good many Christians are rampant hypocrites and curiously (so to speak) selective when it comes to their own supposed “Bible literalism.”

  19. #19 by Chiefley on August 16, 2006 - 11:56 am

    I have posted a number of times in these threads that the mainstream Christian denominations embrace, encourage, and participate in science. As a practical matter I have advocated the same as some here, the denigrating all Christian denominations does reinforce the fundy message the science is anti-religion and incompatible with religion. LIving here in Ohio, I can tell you that if it is swing votes for science that you are after, you won’t get them this way.
    However, the more I detest fundamentalism, the more I agree that we need the kind of editorial that these comments are associated with. I personally wish he could focus it more tightly on fundamentalims, but I have come to believe that this kind of thing is extremely useful.
    My point is that if the mainstream denominations continue to remain mostly silent about fundamentalism and its war on the Enlightenment then they deserve the collateral damage they receive from guilt by apparent association.
    When it comes to fundamentalims there is plenty of room for flaming atheistic criticism as there is for others who can articulate that science is embraced by mainstream Christianity.
    So I urge the author and others like PZ to continue with their campaign and I will gleefully print out these invectives and hang them on my wall (gosh I wish I could write like that). However, I also urge others who are so inclined to tell the ordinary civilians who represent the big swing vote that affect the politics of science and science education that the major denominations, including probably their own, embrace science and specifically evolution.
    I cannot stress enough how useful this message about the mainstream denominations is among the people I know here in rural Ohio where we are represented by such people as Carol Owens Fink and Colleen Grady, both Creationist advocates on the State BOE.
    It seems to be the biggest secret of them all, and I hold the mainstream denominations responsible for allowing that to happen.
    So flame away everybody. This blog is now on my bookmark list and I sent the link to my pastor.

  20. #20 by David Strother on August 16, 2006 - 12:05 pm

    D. James Kennedy makes ridiculous claims on a regular basis. One of my favorites is his claim that nothing in archeology contradicts the Bible, by which, he means that nothing in archeology contradicts a 6000 year old Earth chronology. Specifically, Kennedy has said “The most recent and continuing testimony of archaeology, like all such testimony that has gone before, is definitely and uniformly favorable to the Scripture at its face value, rather than to the Scripture as reconstructed by critics.”
    After hearing this repeated on his “Truths that Transform” broadcast, I emailed his organization to ask about a few dates, and I received the following answers from a “Reverend Steve”.
    When did Noah’s Flood occurred? 2305 BC (based on the Bible).
    When where the Great Pyramids built? 2500 BC (according to archeology).
    Houston, we have a problem. According to the dates given to me by Coral Ridge, the Great Pyramids came first. But obviously, they couldn’t have been built before the Flood, because if the Great Pyramids came first, they would be buried many miles down in Flood sediments. So, archeology clearly contradicts the Bible as D. James reads it. (And just as obviously, there is no evidence of world-wide flood in the archeology record, but I was trying to take things one point at time with Rev. Steve).
    After receiving these dates, I innocently asked Rev. Steve, “Does this mean that the Great Pyramids were built before the Flood”? Now, he changed his tune and said that he would date the Great Pyramids as being “post-flood”. “But wait a minute”, I asked, “How can they be post-flood when nothing in archeology contradicts the Bible?”
    At this point I was told that “I (Rev. Steve) have been in the Kingdom long enough to realize that when the Bible and “science so-called” clash, it is the Word of God that is trustworthy”, and “I am concerned that you do not succumb to the wisdom of men rather than the clear teaching of Scripture.”
    So there you have it. D. James clearly said that the “wisdom of men”, in the form of archeology, does not contradict the Bible. But archeology says that the Great Pyramids were built in 2500 BC, and of course, there were several dynastys in Eygyt before the Pyramids were built. But when someone points out that archeology does indeed contradict the Bible, Coral Ridge Ministries is not about to correct or modify D. James absurd statements. Instead, it’s back to attacking “science so called”.
    When I then suggested that “perhaps the human wisdom that should not be succumbed to here is the wisdom of Dr. Kennedy”, I received no reply.

  21. #21 by GH on August 16, 2006 - 12:10 pm

    We agree and I don’t want to belabor this. I do not see them as hypocrites as much as I see them using the bible to enforce their misguided and uninformed prejudices.
    All Christians from day one think they are sinners. They are not hypocrites for understanding they have sinned as well as the homosexuals they condemn. They certainly don’t think them above sin.

  22. #22 by GH on August 16, 2006 - 12:19 pm

    the science is anti-religion and incompatible with religion.

    Of course they are incompatible. Now perhaps we shouldn’t shout it from the rooftops but science, and particuarrlly evolution, does alot of harm to Christianity. Less so to deism, Buddism, etc.
    Of course you can make anything compatible if A. you compartmentalize it. B. don’t think to deeply about it.

  23. #23 by Rev. BigDumbChimp on August 16, 2006 - 12:32 pm

    I didn’t address the broader issue of whether it’s a sin according to the Bible, which — as a glance at Leviticus sugests — it probably is.

    Of course if you follow Leviticus, there are a number of other issues you need to start treating as sin and some laws you need to start following. Or you can be hypocritical and just cherry pick the bible as you see fit.

  24. #24 by Uber on August 16, 2006 - 1:02 pm

    just cherry pick the bible as you see fit

    If you choose to believe the bible is a moral code on anything then this is an absolute necessity. It isn’t even an option.

  25. #25 by BlueIndependent on August 16, 2006 - 1:12 pm

    I’m someone who grew up in/with religion the entirety of my young life, and I CANNOT STAND these religious fools using their positions to work against good society and good science (like evolution), and generally misleading tens of thousands, even millions, with galling intent. James Dobson is WRONG. Dembeski is WRONG. Behe is WRONG. (insert creationist/YEC name here) is WRONG. They are all wrong, and worthy of the garbage bin of history, along with the flat earthers of a few hundred years ago.
    Societies run by religion always fail. America will as well if religious fundamentalism continues to grow.

  26. #26 by Jim on August 16, 2006 - 2:10 pm

    You know, I’m not one to quote the bible, but a couple of verses come to mind. I think someone needs to remind D. James of Ecclesiastes 10:13
    “the beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is mischievous madness”
    Then again, I never had much trust in book that declares (Ecclesiastes 1:18)
    “For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow”
    That’s the sort of wonderful sentiment that will get this species far. If you take that literally, it basically translates to “science=bad”. I mean, what’s the whole bit about knowledge being bad? It all starts with that tree in Eden and goes from there. I never understood the concept. Hmmm, maybe I’m short on knowledge. What a predicament…

  27. #27 by Bill from Dover on August 16, 2006 - 2:12 pm

    We agree and I don’t want to belabor this. I do not see them as hypocrites as much as I see them using the bible to enforce their misguided and uninformed prejudices.
    All Christians from day one think they are sinners. They are not hypocrites for understanding they have sinned as well as the homosexuals they condemn. They certainly don’t think them above sin.

    You can call these mega-hypocrites many things, but they are anything but misguided and uninformed. I believe they know exactly from whence they come and where they are heading (usually to the bank).
    And on day one, the mind is mostly blank. To believe one is born a sinner, it must be constantly beat into your malleable brain when you are young enough to believe this along with dead men rising, virgin births, three Gods in one, living in whale’s bellies, archangels fucking and eternal burning if you refuse to tow the line. And ain’t it coincidental how they all ask for and receive wads of cash – much from the unfortunates who can least afford remit.

  28. #28 by GH on August 16, 2006 - 2:25 pm

    I agree with you much Bill.

  29. #29 by Bill from Dover on August 16, 2006 - 4:05 pm

    What I should have said was “It is all about praying, but it should be spelled with an e.

  30. #30 by JKB on August 16, 2006 - 8:49 pm

    Then again, I never had much trust in book that declares (Ecclesiastes 1:18)
    “For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow”
    That’s the sort of wonderful sentiment that will get this species far. If you take that literally, it basically translates to “science=bad”. I mean, what’s the whole bit about knowledge being bad? It all starts with that tree in Eden and goes from there. I never understood the concept. Hmmm, maybe I’m short on knowledge. What a predicament…

    Well that could be one way of looking at it, or looking at it in context relative to stanzas around it, it could alternatively mean that with enlightenment and knowledge one gains appreciation of empathy, compassion, justice and knowledge that injustice and brutality will never be stamped out. Or that being a bass fisherman could be a rewarding way to pass time unless there’s heavy thinking done while fishing.
    That book is like the most depressing thing you could possibly motivate people with: I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong….whatever you do, do well, because you’ll rot in hell soon enough and your efforts will be so much rubble like south Beirut…love the one you’re with because it’s too much work and too expensive to sleep around… — To me that be hard earned wisdom right there.
    Or maybe he’s just clinically depressed and was trolling the other books of The Bible with their proverbial wisdom. The guy that wrote Ecclesiastes is like the patron saint of nihilism. Cynical to the bone and anonymous — but very readable in the 21st century.
    Myself, I read 1:18 to be on a personal level, not an admonishment to rabbis to stop teaching, but a cautionary warning to the reader — that becoming too serious can lead to sucking on a gun and that the dark side of seeking truth can reveal its ugliness and surprisingly it may not be all rainbows and ponies that we expect.
    And what’s the final lines of the book? Fear God because he’s keeping count and he’s gonna smite your ass at His convenience if you don’t fear him lovingly. I believe that’s the same point I may have tried to make earlier: to do good because you fear negative consequences is acceptable as an ethos. Has been for a while.

  31. #31 by Sue Stine on August 16, 2006 - 9:03 pm

    To practice any religion is to practice self-hypnosis. There has to be a positive psycho-chemical result to the practice of self-hypnosis, the experience of which encourages more self-hypnosis. It’s all in the head (and the brain has a mind of its own).

  32. #32 by Sue Stine on August 16, 2006 - 9:09 pm

    To practice any religion is to practice self-hypnosis. There has to be a positive psycho-chemical result to the practice of self-hypnosis, the experience of which encourages more self-hypnosis. It’s all in the head (and the brain has a mind of its own).

  33. #33 by naturalist on August 16, 2006 - 11:28 pm

    What is so pathetic and depressing is that a deceitful idiot like Kennedy would have no audience if it were not for the millions(?) who uncritically accept every word he says as truth. These people in effect created this monster with their own complacency and naivity

  34. #34 by Jim on August 17, 2006 - 9:13 am

    JKB: As I’ve said elsewhere, I’d rather deal with people who do good for the sake of doing good (selflessness) than people who do good out of fear of reprisals (ultimately, selfishness). I will agree that Ecclesiastes is depressing, but while I agree that “all is vanity” on a personal level, I don’t take that tone for the species as a whole. To paraphrase Newton, we’ve gotten as far as we have by standing on the shoulders of giants. We each make our contribution to moving this experiment forward (well, some push backward like D. James, but it’s not all Brownian motion).
    In any case, I think one reason that guys like D. James are successful is because they use the bible as a sledgehammer, and not only do I mean that he says it will crush you, but that the average potential crushee is not going to examine said implement too closely out of fear. I cannot image that these extremist fundie preachers would have any following worthy of note if the followers actually read the book and thought about it in a critical manner.

  35. #35 by arensb on August 23, 2006 - 8:27 am

    Coral Ridge, of course, offers many items for sale (the prices of which are termed “donations,” which may well fool most shoppers most of the time)

    Focus on the Family does the same thing, and apparently will ship you stuff even if you “donate” zero dollars. Does anyone know whether Coral Ridge Ministries does so as well?

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