Posted by NT Wrong on November 19, 2008
Jim West summarises the contents of PBS’s The Bible’s Buried Secrets (first screened Nov 18, 2008), composed during a ‘live blog’.
The program is available to watch in its entirety on the PBS website.
It sounds as though the program by-and-large followed the Bible’s own story of a opposition between “our” monotheism and “pagan”, “foreign” polytheism, painting polytheism as a corruption of the “serve Yahweh only” ideology of “early Israel”. That is, the program simply repeats the Bible’s own ideology. Whereas, historically, worship of only one God came relatively late in the Levant, after Yahwistic polytheism (ca. the fifth century BC). Polytheism is not a corruption of monolatry in Judea, but its antecedent. Polytheism is not “foreign”, let alone (the ridiculously inappropriate term) “pagan”, but polytheism is authentic ‘Israelite’ and Judahite religion. And monotheizing tendencies are in evidence everywhere amongst Judea’s neighbours, when it finally does happen. The “foreign corruption” may have been “corruption” towards worshipping Yahweh alone.
Here’s a segment about God’s wife, Asherah, which displays this same (biblical) bias:
Posted in Historiography, Yahweh | 2 Comments »
Posted by NT Wrong on November 18, 2008
Roland Boer has denied that Jesus and I have even one anus between us. This is blasphemous heresy. Jesus is wholly man; wholly arse. Not only does Jesus have an anus, but the divine anus is the key to the meaning of the Incarnation, in which God becomes his own shit.
The theology of Jesus’ excremental identity is discussed by world-leading theologian Slavoj Žižek, who addresses the divine anus immediately after his discussion of the Johnny Cash song, ‘The Man Comes Around’ (which he describes as “an exemplary articulation of the anxieties contained in Southern Baptist Christianity;” The Parallax View, 186).
According to Žižek, the message of Christian love has its dark underside in the message that “the just remain just and the filthy remain filthy.” It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or who you are, God will fuck you up the arse if he whimsically decides to do so. The “love which suspends the law is necessarily accompanied by the arbitrary cruelty which also suspends the law.” The Christian conception of grace can be less nicely — and much more truthfully — expressed: as arbitrariness, as the law-ignoring, bastard behaviour of divine wankery. And Mankind (to use the theological term) is thus most accurately defined, in light of the Incarnation, as a bunch of little shits:
“Martin Luther directly proposed an excremental identity of man: man is like divine shit, he fell out of God’s anus. We can, of course, pursue the question of the deep crises that pushed Luther toward his new theology; he was caught in a violent debilitating superego cycle: the more he acted, repented, punished, and tortured himself, did good deeds, and so on, the more he felt guilty. This convinced him that good deeds are calculated, dirty, selfish: far from pleasing God, they provoke God’s wrath and lead to damnation. Salvation comes from faith: it is our faith alone, faith in Jesus as savior, which allows us to break out of the superego impasse. This “anal” definition of man, however, cannot be reduced to a result of this superego pressure which pushed Luther toward self-abasement — there is more to it: only within this Protestant logic of man’s excremental identity can the true meaning of the Incarnation be formulated. In Orthodoxy, Christ ultimately loses his exceptional status: his very idealization, elevation to a noble model, reduces him to an ideal image, a figure to be imitated (all men should strive to become God) — imitatio Christi is more an Orthodox than a Catholic formula. In Catholicism, the predominant logic is that of a symbolic exchange: Catholic theologists enjoy long scholastic juridical arguments about how Christ paid the price for our sins, and so on — no wonder Luther reacted to the most contemptible outcome of this logic, the reduction of redemption to something that can be bought from the Church. Protestantism, finally, posits the relationship as real, conceiving Christ as a God who, in his act of Incarnation, freely identified himself with his own shit, with the excremental Real that is man — and it is only at this level that the properly Christian notion of divine love can be apprehended, as love for the miserable excremental entity called “man.” “
- Slavoj Žižek, The Parallax View, 187
Ah! Don’t those canny continental theologians (such as Žižek, Badiou, Agamben) make that other bunch — those puritanical guardians of dogma — appear just as unpalatable as shit on a plate?
Posted in Biblical interpretation, Evil, God, Jesus & Christ, Music, Paul, Soteriology, Violence | 2 Comments »
Posted by NT Wrong on October 15, 2008
The prolific and discerning April DeConick has kindly provided an answer to my question concerning the nature of Jewish and Christian belief in the divine in the early centuries of the Common Era.
“My point is this. Early Judaism and Christianity were not monotheistic religions, but were at best monolatrous (=worshiped one god but allowed for the existence of other gods). It was because of this that Christianity was able to be born out of Judaism as a Jewish expression of a new form of Yahwehism, and Gnosticism could become the fancy of Jewish intellectuals living in first-century Alexandria.”
- April DeConick, ‘Early Jewish and Christian polytheism?’
Have a read of her whole response here. I’m largely in agreement with her. But I like the distinctive way she has expressed it.
Is this how you have been led to understand early Jewish and Christian religions?
Posted in Divine Intermediaries, Early Christian literature, Early Jewish literature, God, Jesus & Christ | Leave a Comment »
Posted by NT Wrong on October 14, 2008
* Safe for Jews, too.
Posted in Humour, Yahweh | Leave a Comment »
Posted by NT Wrong on September 28, 2008
The latest ‘Jesus and Mo’ Cartoon:
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Posted by NT Wrong on September 22, 2008
Stephen Weinberg’s essay on the relationship between science and Christianity, ‘Without God’, appears in the September 25, 2008 New York Review of Books. It’s a fine read. Weinberg argues that while science and Christianity are not strictly incompatible, they are in tension at many points. These tensions have led to the weakening of this particular institutional form of religion.
“The first source of tension arises from the fact that religion originally gained much of its strength from the observation of mysterious phenomena—thunder, earthquakes, disease—that seemed to require the intervention of some divine being. There was a nymph in every brook, and a dryad in every tree. But as time passed more and more of these mysteries have been explained in purely natural ways. Explaining this or that about the natural world does not of course rule out religious belief. But if people believe in God because no other explanation seems possible for a whole host of mysteries, and then over the years these mysteries were one by one resolved naturalistically, then a certain weakening of belief can be expected. It is no accident that the advent of widespread atheism and agnosticism among the educated in the eighteenth century followed hard upon the birth of modern science in the previous century.”
- Stephen Weinberg, ‘Without God’
Towards the end of his essay, Weinberg offers a few words of guidance “for those who have already lost their religious beliefs, or who may be losing them, or fear that they will lose their beliefs, about how it is possible to live without God.”
“We who are not zealots can rejoice that when bread and wine are no longer sacraments, they will still be bread and wine.”
(Spotted on Santi Tafarella’s magical blog, which also offers this juxtaposition.)
Posted in God, Politics | Leave a Comment »
Posted by NT Wrong on August 28, 2008
This proof for the existence of God comes from The Young Ones, in the Episode ‘Interesting’ (1982).
[Rick opens door, and a Christian is at the door]…
RICK: I think you’ve got the wrong house – you see, I don’t believe in God.
CHRISTIAN: How do you know his name then, smart arse. [Grabs Rick's groin and squeezes hard. He doubles over in pain]
So, there we have it. That God exists is 100% undeniable.
Posted in God, Historiography, Humour | 1 Comment »
Posted by NT Wrong on July 27, 2008
Neil Godfrey at Vridar has commenced an in-depth summary of Margaret Barker’s book, The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second God (1992). Margaret Barker is always good to think with, innovative, iconoclastic, challenging of presuppositions, and utterly debatable — as good scholarship should be.
Posted in Books, Jesus & Christ, Yahweh | Leave a Comment »
Posted by NT Wrong on July 24, 2008
The pronunciation and meaning of The Name of YHWH has been a mystery for 2000 years. But, Rabbi Mark Sameth of Westchester now claims to have cracked it! And it turns out that God is a hermaphrodite …
“Rabbi Mark Sameth contends in a soon-to-be-published article that the four-letter Hebrew name for God – held by Jewish tradition to be unpronounceable since the year 70 – should actually be read in reverse.
When the four letters are flipped, he says, the new name makes the sounds of the Hebrew words for “he” and “she.”
God thus becomes a dual-gendered deity, bringing together all the male and female energy in the universe, the yin and the yang that have divided the sexes from Adam and Eve to Homer and Marge.
“This is the kind of God I believe in, the kind of God that makes sense to me, in a language that speaks very, very deeply to human aspirations and striving,” Sameth said. “How could God be male and not female?”
Sameth, 54, the spiritual leader of Pleasantville Community Synagogue in Pleasantville, first hit on his theory more than a decade ago when he was a rabbinical student.
Since then, he has pieced together clues and supporting evidence from the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament to Christians, and the vast body of rabbinic literature.”
- Solving a biblical mystery
Now that’s been solved, what will Madonna and the other kabbalists do? And where did the alephs go?
Rabbi Mark Sameth’s article will appear in CCAR Journal, published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Posted in Hebrew & Semitics, Yahweh | 5 Comments »