mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Via @Danjite & BlogHer, in finally severing all ties with the Southern Baptist church, Jimmy Carter says :

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views. Jimmy Carter, ex-Baptist, ex-US president, Nobel Prize winner.

It's a shame it still needs to be said, but at least someone with a little clout is saying it.

mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (murata catgirl 1 (nekkid in boots))
Have a look at the Angel Kitty USB Keyboard Bra. Yes , that said what you though it did.

Work safe, but oh, so wrong! It is very cute though....

Somewhat less than safe for work is the gPod, an iPod attachment that has a "joystick" that vibrates to the music. They say you attach it to your mobile phone and "feel" your boyfriend's voice...

Then there's Ten Ways To Have Fun With Boobs, all about various boob-shaped equipment, which is sadder than the keyboard, but quite amusing.

And bibles should come with public health warnings. ]:)>
mundens: Pixie -like angel with fiery wings (Burning Angel)
There is a wonderful article summarizing why humans are disposed to believe in the supernatural and gods in particular in the NY Times.

The précis of the summary is that a synergy of agency, causal reasoning, and 'theory of mind', all of which individually have strong evolutionary advantages results in humanity's disposition to believe. Add the idea of minmal counter-intuitiveness

.., we are born with an innate tendency for belief, but the specifics of what we grow up believing — whether there is one God or many, whether the soul goes to heaven or occupies another animal after death — are culturally shaped.

Whatever the specifics, certain beliefs can be found in all religions. Those that prevail... ..are those that fit most comfortably with our mental architecture. Psychologists have shown, for instance, that people attend to, and remember, things that are unfamiliar and strange, but not so strange as to be impossible to assimilate. Ideas about God or other supernatural agents tend to fit these criteria. They are what Pascal Boyer, an anthropologist and psychologist, called “minimally counter-intuitive”: weird enough to get your attention and lodge in your memory but not so weird that you reject them altogether. A tree that talks is minimally counter-intuitive, and you might believe it as a supernatural agent. A tree that talks and flies and time-travels is maximally counter-intuitive, and you are more likely to reject it.

But that's what's known as the "by-product" theory, that religion is a random by-prodict of evolutionarily useful traits like agency and causal reasoning.

Others, the adaptionists, argue that religious belief actually is (or was) adaptive, whether it be for individuals or via group selection (the idea that a group can be treated as an evolutionary organism).

Finally, I want one of theses chairs! (brought to my attention by [livejournal.com profile] mangee)
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
I found, via several odd links, a reference to the recent US Army War College Quarterly Winter 2006-2007 article The Quranic Concept of War by Joseph C. Meyers.

This is a review of the principles put forward by by Brigadier General S. K. Malik of the Pakistani Army in his 1979 book The Quranic Concept of War.

According to Myers, the important thing to learn from Malik's book is :
Malik’s most controversial dictum is summarized in the following manner: in war, “the point where the means and the end meet” is in terror. He formulates terror as an objective principal of war; once terror is achieved the enemy reaches his culminating point. “Terror is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose . . . .” Malik’s divine principal of Islamic warfare may be restated as “strike terror; never feel terror.” The ultimate objective of this form of warfare “revolves around the human heart, [the enemies] soul, spirit, and Faith.”56 Terror “can be instilled only if the opponent’s Faith is destroyed . . . . It is essential in the ultimate analysis, to dislocate [the enemies] Faith.” Those who are firm in their religious conviction are immune to terror, “a weak Faith offers inroads to terror.” Therefore, as part of preparations for jihad, actions will be oriented on weakening the non-Islamic’s “Faith,” while strengthening the Islamic’s. What that weakening or “dislocation” entails in practice remains ambiguous. Malik concludes, “Psychological dislocation is temporary; spiritual dislocation is permanent.” The soul of man can only be touched by terror.57
It is interesting for one of no faith to examine this. Because I feel no terror at all caused by the actions of so-called terrorists. Does the lack of faith somehow make one unable to be terrorized ? And thus unable to be targeted by Quranic warfare?

It seems to me only someone who was innately full of terror would ever require faith to protect themselves from it. Although one could perhaps argue that the reason I don't have the terror is because of faith in myself.

Still, defining the act of waging a war as winning it, is cheating, IMO!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
As part of the winter solstice Saturnalia celebrations, during which the sun dies and is reborn, the Birth of the Unconquerable Sun (Natalis Sol Invictus) occurs on the 25th of December and is cause for much revelry and debauchery.

This particular celebration has much older roots, I only use the Roman terminology because it is better documented than others, such as the Persian Mithraic version,, or the druidic tradition.

Around 354 A.D. Pope Liberius of Rome (or Pope Julius I, his predeccesor, depending on which reference you accept) declared Jesus' birth to fall on the 25th, though evidence is that Christ's Mass may have been celebrated in Rome for some years earlier. It wasn't until later that the Eastern church accepted this date.

It is speculated by religious scholars that this was done to try and prevent his flock from taking part in the Saturnalia celebrations, as many early Roman Christians hedged their bets and supported both the state deities and the Christian god.

Decorating a tree was part of Saturnalia, and also part of old Norse practice ("Jol" or "Jule"), but only officially became a part of western Christmas celebrations about 200 years ago in 1841 when Prince Albert, Victoria's royal consort, decorated a tree at Windsor.

So, those of us who enjoy a good feast and revel, and decorating trees, but don't approve of Christmas, can celebrate Natalis Sol Invictus and decorate our trees, without having to accept the christian reasons at all!

Not new to most people I expect, but I was interested and was doing some reading and thought I;d pass it on.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Jet Black)
Well, there were two things that annoyed me over the weekend, so I'm going to vent on one of them here, maybe the other later, but I'll cut it so you don't have to read unless you feel like it.

The cartoons )
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
Seeing as Conan's blog doesn't have comments:

So Buddhism says that desire is bad, and that wanting nothing is a good thing. From my cynical viewpoint that's a very useful philosophy for a part of the world that has a huge population and finds it difficult to feed them, great for keeping the hungry peasants in line. It's funny how most religious philosophies encourage people to become less material and put up with their poor lot in life. It's almost like religion was specifically designed as a tool to control the peasantry.

Personally, I feel that if I desired nothing, there would be no point in living. Buddhism (as described by Conan anyway) goes too far, just as any reactionary tenet does. As always the best place to be (IMO), is in balance. Enjoy the desire, but don't let it control your life, and accept that you will never get everything you desire.

Desiring something you know you'll never get may be suffering, but it's such sweet suffering sometimes.

One might also add that if everyone followed this path of eliminating desire then the human race would die out, and none of the great things have been achieved by people would have occurred either. Admittedly, none of the nasty things would have occurred either.

Fine if you like the void, but why do all these promised states of bliss sound so damn boring? Heaven is boring, nirvana is boring, and so are many other bands.

Where are the major religions offering an eternal life full of music, fun, drinking, and debauchery? Where everyone has a Mach 3 supersonic fighter and you can fly it around canyons with no thought of the danger, just for the rush of speed and control and competition, because you know you will live forever?

Maybe after a while even eternal life might get boring, but the imaginative could fill in many lifetimes of fun. What would it be like to be able to feel the solar wind and sail on it? What does magma feel like when you can swim in it? what does a nuclear explosion look like from the inside, especially if you could "see" in wider spectrums. Do the gas clouds of Jupiter sing in the radio spectrum? Set the controls for the heart of the sun. So many experiences this tiny weak fleshy body could not survive, so many things it has not yet felt, so many subtle shades to those experiences you could try out, if you had the time.

Why do most people seem to look forward to boredom?

I don't expect there to be anything after this life, my n-grams will fail as the flesh degrades and I am already obsolete and unnecessary baggage as far as the species s concerned, so want to get as much fun in before I die, but I think that's why I like pagan religions better, at least some of them celebrate partying!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Deser Peach)
Classic example of religious stupidty on television this evening. A member of the Exclusive Brethren church said that he, and other members of the church didn't vote, and that the reason for this was that government came from their god.

But this was in the context of them admitting they are responsible for the anonymous leaflet drop encouraging people to vote National. He said they were doing this because they didn't like what was happening in New Zealand.

The leaflet drop was specifically designed to convince people to vote against the incumbent government. In other words, they were trying to change the current government. The government he had just said came from his god. Thus, he is acting against his god by attempting to change that government.

Actually, you could tell even he was beginning to realize the stupidity of what he'd just said as he reached the end of it!

I'm not surprised, but I am amused, at the hypocrisy of effectively saying "We won't vote, but we'll try and get you to vote differently!"

Surely if they were really trying to follow their own teachings they should be trying to convince more people not to vote at all? That way their god would be allowed to choose the government with less interference from humans! :)

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