Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

barack obama's liberal speech to school children

Hi! Flush Flimflaw here, and I am just outraged by Barack "Osama" Hussein Obama's speech to school kids last week. And I'm even more outraged that the liberal media is not outraged by it.

Obama said, and I quote, "I’m glad you all could join us today."

Can you believe that? It's outrageous! What a bunch of liberal hooey. "I'm glad you all could join us today."

Now I want to explain to you what liberals mean when they say that. Because when an ordinary person says, "I'm glad you all could join us today," it's just a greeting. But when a liberal says it, it's just outrageous what the liberal media lets him get away with.

You see, what he's telling the kids is that gay marriage is OK. When a liberal says "all" he means that same-sex couples should have "all" the same benefits as normal people. That's what the word "all" means there. Obama is indoctrinating our school children right in front of our eyes.

And he does it with such plain-sounding language, that most people won't even realize what he's really saying. But the kids will know. "I'm glad you all could join us today."

The next thing you're going to see, when the kids go to recess, boys will be playing with other boys, and girls with other girls. It's just not natural. And the liberal media won't say a word.

Obama also said this: "And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous." Can you believe that!? "It's understandable if you're a little nervous."

Let me tell you, Barack "Osama" Hussein Obama: I'll tell you what makes me nervous. I get nervous every year around April 15. You see, folks, what Obama is doing is telling kids that they should learn to love paying taxes. "It's understandable if you're a little nervous." It's not understandable, Mr. President. It's outrageous! And the liberal media lets him get away with it!

You don't think he means it? Listen to this. Here's what he also said in this speech, that he claims was a non-partisan speech: "I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year." You see? He wants to talk about what the government expects of all the little comrades this year. Can you believe it? The next thing you know, he'll be talking about responsibility!

You don't believe me? Just listen to what he said next. This part is a little long, so I'm going to put it in one of these boxes here:

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

Now do you believe me? He said it, it's right there in his own words. He's telling the children that their teachers are government toadys, their parents are government shills, and the government is omni-benevolent. "Setting high standards," he says, and he expects everyone to just fall in line. And see, the government is also "turning around schools that aren't working…" He said it right there. That's an exact quote! "Schools that aren't working." Of course, when a liberal talks about schools working, he means working to indoctrinate children into being nervous so they'll fall in line and pay their taxes when they grow up and marry someone of the same sex. I'm not making this up. He said it, not me! Read the speech, see for yourself.

And here's why he wants their tax money: so he can give them the "opportunities they deserve." Can you believe what the liberal media lets this man get away with? "Opportunities they deserve." That is just outright communism, folks. Opportunities, indeed.

Next we come to the most chilling part of the whole speech.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities.

Can you believe it!? This man is telling children they have to be responsible too. That's outrageous! And the liberal media just lets him get away with it.

Now when liberals talk about responsibility, watch out. Better hold on to your wallet, because when a liberal talks about responsibility, he means taxes. You don't believe me? Just look back through his speech and see how many times he's mentioned taxes already: "It's understandable if you're a little nervous…setting high standards…" He can't open his mouth without saying the word taxes.

I'm telling you, what Obama is saying here is that the death tax is coming back with a vengeance. Rich kids won't be able to live off their inheritance anymore, that's what this is all about. They are going to have to do well in school and get a good job. It's outrageous! Class warfare, that's what "responsibility" means. Telling kids to be responsible is just another anti-American plot from the liberals.

You don't believe me? Just listen to what Obama said about it. These are his own words, from later in the same speech: "You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job." Outrageous! He actually said that to school children. And do you think the liberal media called him out on it? No!

I tell you, if we let him get away with this, it's only a matter of time before he starts telling kids, "Don't smoke, don't take drugs." We'll have a whole generation of Americans who won't know the pleasures of Cuban cigars and OxyContin. Folks, we can't afford to let the liberals do that to this country!

So let's review: "I'm glad you all could join us today…it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous…setting high standards…fulfill your responsibilities…opportunities they deserve." The five pillars of liberalism, just like the five pillars of Islam. And the liberal media still won't admit he's a closet Muslim.

Folks, the good old U.S. of A. is in a dire situation here. I mean, it is dire. We can't just roll over and let the liberals keep ramming these doctrines down our children's throats. We must take a stand against the five liberal pillars of welcoming, understanding, high standards, responsibility, and opportunity. I can only imagine what kind of nation we might have if our children learn these liberal values.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

jesus for president?

Jesus for President is the title of a book by Shane Claiborne. But what kind of President would Jesus actually be?

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

bible translations update

In January of last year, the Society for the Promotion of Individualized Theologies (SPIT) announced the publication of the New Conservative Bible and the New Liberal Bible.

Now, scarcely a year and a half later, SPIT has returned with revised versions of both translations. The New American Conservative Bible (NACB) hits the shelves next week, while the New Progressive Translation (NPT) arrives the following week.

Due to my connections, I was able to get a sneak peak at both translations.

Despite the new names, it is clear that these are essentially the same translations, repackaged and rebranded, with colorful covers. Frankly, I have to wonder whether the revisions were warranted, or whether they are simply ploys to force the Bible-buying public to shell out more money.

Furthermore, the few changes that I have seen are not encouraging.

You may recall that I expressed some reservations about the NLB's handling of Matthew 5:9.

Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS!! Don't you get it, President Bush?!?"

It appears that the NPT translators took my criticism to heart, and have changed this verse to read:

Nyah nyah told ya so

Honestly, I think this is actually worse. It ought to have some sort of punctuation, maybe "Nyah, nyah, told ya so," or possibly, "Nyah, nyah! Told ya so!" Additionally, this phrasing doesn't quite capture the spirit of the original Greek, or so it seems to me.

The NACB has similar problems, in my opinion. Here's Matthew 22:35-38.

A lawyer asked him to test him, "Which commandment is the greatest?"

Jesus answered, "A man shall not lie with a man as with a woman. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, A woman should not have an abortion. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Call me old-fashioned, but I am not a fan of this kind of dynamic equivalence translation. I think a lot gets lost in the rewording.

I'm equally unimpressed by the NACB's addition of an eleventh commandment in Exodus 20.

Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

I'm not an expert at biblical Hebrew, but my understanding is that in the earliest and most reliable manuscripts, this phrase is merely a margin note.

Speaking of adding to the books, I don't like what the NPT has done to Revelation 22:18.

We know y'all libruls don't really read the Bible, so it don't matter what we put here.

I hate to sound nitpicky, but frankly I'm disappointed in the quality of the grammar of this translation. Didn't anyone proofread it?

In related news, SPIT regrets that the New Emergent Bible (NEB) is still not available. The translators have been engaged in a heated debate conversation, discussing whether we can even know the biblical languages well enough to translate them. The good news is that they have managed to find enough common ground to establish that, if there ever is an NEB, it will not feature book names or chapter and verse numbers, as these are unnecessary and divisive labels.

In a written statement, one NEB translator offered the following, which may be a paraphrase of what other Bibles call 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Dude, we see in part, like in a mirror. I mean, really, can we ever say we know anything, you know, for real? Not this side of heaven.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

the god delusion: a source criticism

I've recently finished reading Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, and it has made a skeptic of me. Specifically, I'm skeptical that such a poorly researched, self-contradictory book could really be the product of such a brilliant, rational mind as Richard Dawkins.

In fact, I've detected two separate sources within the text, each with its own distinct purpose and theology. (Or should that be atheology?)

The first source is opposed to what he or she calls the "God Hypothesis." For this reason, I will label this source "H". This hypothesis is stated by H to be:

There exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us. (p. 31)

The second source is opposed to the very idea of a deity:

I am not attacking any particular version of God or gods. I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented. (p. 36)

I will label this source "A" because he or she is opposed to *ALL* gods.

These sources were brought together sometime in the early 21st century by a redactor "R", possibly Dawkins himself, although the existence of "Richard Dawkins" is not universally accepted.

R's intent is this:

I suspect -- well, I am sure -- that there are lots of people out there who have been brought up in some religion or other, are unhappy in it, don't believe it, or are worried about the evils that are done in its name; people who feel vague yearnings to leave their parents' religion and wish they could, but just don't realize that leaving is an option. If you are one of them, this book is for you. (p. 1)

R's task is extremely difficult: He (or possibly she, if R is not Richard Dawkins) must blend the thoughtful, tolerant, often conciliatory H source with the venomous, factually-challenged A source. R seems to recognize that most of the best material is found in H, but R's sympathies clearly lie with A. In places, as I will show later, R embeds A-like lines into H material.

To see the tension between the two sources, take a look at these two passages from chapter 3. This is in a discussion of religious scientists in history. The first quote is from H:

We have no reason to doubt Michael Faraday's sincerety as a Christian even after the time when he must have known of Darwin's work. He was a member of the Sandemanian sect, which believed (past tense because they are now virtually extinct) in a literal interpretation of the Bible, ritually washed the feet of newly inducted members and drew lots to determine God's will. Faraday became an Elder in 1860, the year after The Origin of the Species was published, and he died a Sandemanian in 1867. (p.98)

Contrast that with A's dismissal of the faith of Gregor Mendel:

Mendel, of course, was a religious man, an Augustinian monk; but that was in the nineteenth century, when becoming a monk was the easiest way for the young Mendel to pursue science. For him, it was the equivalent of a research grant. (p. 99)

This is misleading. Mendel may have come from a poor family that could not afford to send him to University, but like Faraday, Mendel took his faith seriously. He was promoted to Abbot in 1868, only two years after publishing his paper on genetics. As Abbot, he devoted less time to genetic research because his responsibilities to the monastery were a priority for him.

Unfortunately, the A source cannot give people the benefit of the doubt as H can. H, in fact, can even praise scientists who hold onto their faith:

Kenneth Miller of Brown University [is] for my money the most persuasive nemesis of 'intelligent design', not least because he is a devout Christian. I frequently recommend Miller's book, Finding Darwin's God, to religious people who write to me bamboozled by [Michael] Behe. (p. 131)

It's not just scientists who receive approval from H:

Searching for particular examples of irriducible complexity is a fundamentally unscientific way to proceed: a special case of arguing from present ignorance. It appeals to the same faulty logic as 'the God of the Gaps' strategy condemned by the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Creationists eagerly seek a gap in present-day knowledge of understanding. If an apparent gap is found, it is assumed that God, by default, must fill it. What worries thoughtful theologians such as Bonhoeffer is that gaps shrink as science advances, and God is threatened with eventually having nothing to do and nowhere to hide. (p. 125)

That last phrase, "and nowhere to hide," is R's addition to the text. It doesn't fit with the entire preceding paragraph, and stands as an example of R's attempt to harmonize the vast differences between the two sources.

A, on the other hand, cannot even imagine a "thoughtful theologian":

Similarly, we can all agree that science's entitlement to advise us on moral values is problematic, to say the least. But does [Stephen Jay] Gould really want to cede to religion the right to tell us what is good and what is bad? The fact that it has nothing else to human wisdom is no reason to hand religion a free licence to tell us what to do. (p. 57)

R's monumental task of weaving these two very different sources together produces, as I said, mixed results. R again struggles valiantly to reconcile the two sources as they define the nature of God.

A, after rejecting Aquinas's "first cause" proof for existence of God, adds:

Even if we allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to an infinite regress and giving it a name, simply because we need one, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such human attributes as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading innermost thoughts. (p. 77)

H, on the other hand, before discussing the problem of evil, notes:

Goodnes is no part of the definition of the God hypothesis, merely a desirable add-on. (p. 108)

H then expands on the problem of evil. But R, trying to reconcile this with A, interpolates freely. I will first quote the entire passage.

But, for a more sophisticated believer in some kind of supernatural intelligence, it is childishly easy to overcome the problem of evil. Simply postulate a nasty god -- such as the one who stalks every page of the Old Testament. Or, if you don't like that, invent a separate evil god, call him Satan, and blame his cosmic battle against the good god for the evil in the world. Or -- a more sophisticated solution -- postulate a god with grander things to do than fuss about human distress. Or a god who is not indifferent to suffering but regards it as the price that has to be paid for free will in an orderly, lawful cosmos. Theologians can be found buying into all these rationalizations. (p. 108)

Knowing, though, that H is generally conciliatory toward religion, we can make a good guess at just which parts have been added by R. I will now quote the passage again, putting R's interpolations in {braces}.

But, for a more sophisticated believer in some kind of supernatural intelligence, it is {childishly} easy to overcome the problem of evil. Simply postulate a nasty god {-- such as the one who stalks every page of the Old Testament}. Or, {if you don't like that, invent} a separate evil god, {call him Satan}, and blame his cosmic battle against the good god for the evil in the world. Or -- a more sophisticated solution -- postulate a god with grander things to do than fuss about human distress. Or a god who is not indifferent to suffering but regards it as the price that has to be paid for free will in an orderly, lawful cosmos. {Theologians can be found buying into all these rationalizations.}

Removing these, we discover H's original text:

But, for a more sophisticated believer in some kind of supernatural intelligence, it is easy to overcome the problem of evil. Simply postulate a nasty god. Or a separate evil god, and blame his cosmic battle against the good god for the evil in the world. Or postulate a god with grander things to do than fuss about human distress. Or a god who is not indifferent to suffering but regards it as the price that has to be paid for free will in an orderly, lawful cosmos.

It's possible, too, that the two sentences, "Simply postulate a nasty god," and "Or postulate a god with grander things to do than fuss about human distress," are both R's interpolations. Certainly the word "postulate" has not appeared in any of the H texts that we've looked at.

Obviously, much study remains to be done in this field of Dawkins source criticism. Maybe I'll apply for a research grant.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

the one true translation

Mark Driscoll is at it again. The controversial pastor, who caused quite a stir last fall when he alleged that all mainline Christians are liberal homosexual pagan potheads, has recently sparked discussion in the blogosphere over his theological reasons for switching to the ESV translation of the Bible. Several people have already responded to Driscoll's statement, but I want to touch on a point that I haven't seen anyone mention yet.

In point #3, Driscoll says, "Words carry meaning." Unfortunately, he has forgotten about the Bible verse that says, "A picture is worth a thousand words." (I don't recall the exact scripture reference for that one, but I'm pretty sure it's somewhere between "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," and "God helps those who help themselves."

Anyway, my point is that a Bible translation with lots of pictures is therefore better than one without. And the ESV, whatever its strengths, falls woefully short in the area of color pictures.

In fact, most available translations are inadequate in this area. I haven't had a Bible with color pictures since the Children's Living Bible I received when I was five. The only modern translation that even comes close is the Good News Bible from the 1970s, which has some really cool line drawings. But the sad truth is that most modern translations omit the Lego photographs that God placed in the original text. That's why the best modern translation, hands down, is the Brick Testament.

Perhaps an example would help explain why this is so important. Driscoll laments in point #4 the absence in some modern translations of certain theological terms. But honestly, now, which drives home the point better: The terms "justification" and "propitiation" (I'm not sure that last one is even a real word), or this Lego image of Jesus crying out in anguish from the cross?

Granted, the Brick Testament is not even a complete Bible. But because every picture is worth a thousand words (I'm going to find that reference soon), when you add everything up, it leaves out a lot less than most of the modern translations.

And while I'm on the subject, take a look at these three photos. Do you see anything strange? They've taken the cross out of crossing!! Does this politically correct hyper-secularization of our society have no limits?

Whew. I feel a lot better now that I've gotten that off my chest.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

catch older lemon knower

A famous museum... a shocking murder... a distinguished symbologist... an alluring cryptologist... secrets written in code.

No, it's not that "other" story.

Follow the adventures of Langford Fife as he uncovers the secrets of The Norman Rockwell Code. It's coming soon to a website near you, but you can see the trailer today.

Hat tip to Monk-in-Training.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

god hates shrimp

And he's not too crazy about clams, either. See this website for details.


Monday, April 10, 2006

you'll never believe this

This is big. Bigger than the Gospel of Judas. Bigger than The Da Vinci Code. Big. And you heard it here first.

One of my friends has a cousin who knows someone who lives across the street from an elderly gentleman whose niece works with a man whose wife is taking an archaeology class at a certain community college. It just happens that one of her classmates went to Gaza last year and met a shepherd who told her of the most amazing discovery. While looking in a cave for a lost sheep, he found an ancient manuscript with the title Magic Secrets of Jesus of Nazareth, Volume 2.

Now I know many of you are skeptical from the start, especially because this sounds like an urban legend, "friend of a friend"-type story. I understand your reluctance. But frankly, it's a matter of trust. I say, if you can't trust your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, acquaintances, complete strangers, or some guy with a blog, then who can you trust? And if you'll look closely, you'll see that each person in the list has one of these relationships with the next. Therefore, it is safe to assume that this is fully trustworthy information. And of course you can trust me on this: They don't let just anyone publish stuff on the Internet, you know.

Anyway, the manuscript goes into detail about how to walk on water (know where the stones are), how to feed 5000 with five loaves and two fishes (hide extra fish and bread in your sleeve), and how to turn water into wine (be sure the wedding guests are really drunk). The cut-and-restore-the-ear trick has a very clever secret that I won't reveal here. Unfortunately, such feats as healing a man born blind, curing leprosy, and raising the dead are not described. Perhaps they can be found in the still-undiscovered Volume 1.

A book about this amazing discovery is due to be published early next year. It's called The Magician Code, and the movie rights have already been sold.

Anyway, this college student is going back to the Middle East this summer for more research. She's going to need some financial help, and that's why I'm posting this. If you have any extra money, let me know and I'll give you her address. Better yet, just send the check to me and I'll make sure it gets where it needs to go.

And after you've sent me your money, email this to ten of your friends. I thank you, and my friend's cousin's acquaintance's neighbor's niece's coworker's wife's classmate thanks you.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

new bible translations

We are truly blessed to live in an age when we have so many Bible translations to choose from. Sometimes, though, I wonder if we have too many choices.

Case in point: I've just received word that the Society for the Promotion of Individualized Theologies (SPIT) will be publishing not one but two new translations this year, the New Liberal Bible and the New Conservative Bible. One of my friends from college has a brother whose neighbor's ex-wife's cousin's boyfriend has a friend who went to school with someone on the translation committee. Through these connections, I was able to get advance copies of both books.

Frankly, I'm a little disappointed. Though the committee calls these "translations," not "paraphrases," I have some reservations about their faithfulness to the original text. Now, granted, it's not always easy to find an exact equivalent for the Hebrew or Greek word. Granted, too, I'm not a Greek or Hebrew scholar. I'm just a layman with an interest in theology.

Still, it seems to me that both these new translations frequently cross the line into interpretation, sometimes offering, um, questionable interpretations. I'm going to give some examples, along with links to the NRSV so you can compare the translations. Please let me know if you agree with my concerns, or if I am way off base.

First example, in the New Liberal Bible (NLB), Genesis 22:2, God says to Abraham:
Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him a great big hug on one of the mountains that I will show you.

Now I don't know the difference between the Hebrew words for "sacrifice" and "hug", but it just seems to me that this translation completely changes the tone of the story. Especially when Abraham ends up hugging a ram.

Now let's look at the New Conservative Bible (NCB), Matthew 22:17-18. The Pharisees are asking Jesus a question:
"Tell us what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?"

Jesus answered, "Hell no! Taxes are just legalized theft. It's your money, and the government has no right to take it! Don't give to Caesar, give to God."

Again, I'm not a scholar, so I don't know the nuances of Koine Greek. However, I wasn't able to find another translation where Jesus uses the word "theft" in this passage.

Here's another example from the NLB, Matthew 5:9, where Jesus says:
Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS!! Don't you get it, President Bush?!?"

Again, I was not able to find another translation that mentions George W. Bush. But even if this translation is somehow accurate, it gives me reason for concern. Bush's term in office ends in three years, and then the NLB will be out of date. If we are going to insert contemporary names into the Bible, it should be done in a way that will not soon make the translation obsolete.

Which brings us to the NCB's translation of 2 Timothy 3:16.
The Bible is the Very Word of God, inerrant in all that it teaches, including matters of history or science, and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. Bite me, Charles Darwin!

I think this translation reads a little too much into the Greek word theopneustos. But again, I could be wrong; I'm not an expert.

Also, through online research I've discovered that the phrase "Bite me, Charles Darwin" has very little textual support in the ancient manuscripts. And there are some questions of authenticity in the few manuscripts where it does appear.

Finally, I want to look at a verse that is troublesome, I think, in both translations. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says in the NCB:
Do not be deceived! Abortion doctors and gay rights advocates will never inherit the kingdom of God.

A footnote adds, "and stem cell researchers," but that phrase is generally thought to be a late addition.

The NLB, on the other hand, says:
Do not be deceived! The intolerant will never inherit the kingdom of God. I can't tolerate intolerance.

I'm left not knowing which translation to trust. And if that weren't enough, the committee is already working on their next big projects, to be published in 2007: the New Emergent Bible, the New Calvinist Bible, the New Jesus Seminar Bible, and the New Megachurch Bible. I can't wait.