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Burn a Bible on September 11th

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On September 11, 2010, the congregation of the Foist Our Beliefs on Others Church will be burning 150 Bibles in protest and offer Christians the opportunity to convert. Reverend Jerry Tones, recently ordained at www.weordainanyone.com, claims divine inspiration for this protest, “It’s about time someone showed those evil Christians what we think of their so-called Holy Book.” When asked if he had any concerns for the rights of Christians to practice their religion freely in the United States, Rev Tones said, “I thought about it a little while at the Piggly Wiggly the other day and decided Christians really need to get with us and join in our Church. We are the only people to know the true religion and the correct method to worship. We are doing them a favor.”

“We feel that Christianity is a danger to those who practice it,” Reverend Tones emphatically stated as he oiled his 22 caliber rimfire semi-automatic pistol. “Oh, and I’m fixing to be armed and ready just in case any of those hot-blooded Christians come after me on September 11th if they don’t like it, I’m burning their book.”

The FOBO Church is a small non-denominational congregation of about 50 people who have no actual belief or disbelief except that all male members are required to wear absurd facial hair and all women dress in white blazer jackets. The men are devoted to the use of Balm of Gilead pomade which they liberally apply to their bizarre facial hair, sometimes fashioning extreme handlebar mustaches. The Church meets several times a week for potluck dinners and games of Euchre. Reverend Tones vehemently denies all accusations that he cheats at Euchre. It was merely a coincidence the other night when his wife named trump and Tones happened to place his hand over his heart just before she called “hearts”.

Tones offers several examples of why Christianity is a religion to fear and shun. The following are examples of vicitms at the hands of Christian zealots:

The Crusades (1095-1291): Hungary, Turkey, Antioch, Jerusalem, Constantinople, best estimate – 20 million dead.

The Inquisition (1232-1568): estimated four million victims, special mention for Torquemada responsible for 10,220 burnings all by himself.

The Great Witch Craze (1484-1750): several hundred thousand (80% women).

Suppression of the Huguenots (1372): 20,000 in France.

Counterreformation (1631): 30,000 Protestants in Magdeburg, Germany.

Persecution of the Jews (600s to 1400s): In 694 Jews of Toledo Spain had all property confiscated and their children were forcibly baptized.  In 1257 and 1267, the Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others were exterminated.  In the 1340s Jews all over Europe were killed for supposedly spreading plague.

Reverend Tones is also irked by the constant infighting by the disorganized sects of Christianity. Each one claims superiority over the others and often disputes end in fisticuffs, bloodshed, and some pretty nasty name-calling. Rather than trying to understand such mayhem, Tones suggests his “Bible Burning might be the wake-up call those Christian folks need to see how wrong they are to live the way they do. I’m ready to talk with them and help them down the path to joyous discovery of bad facial hair and pomade. Just give me a call. That’s all I want. I’m not asking for any trouble, but if anyone comes looking for it, I have my weapon right handy.”

About dharma55

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Personally, I think it would be best for everyone if ALL so called “holy books” were burned or otherwise used under table legs, to press flowers, for ballast etc. The only such book that should be allowed to remain in circulation would be “The Bartender’s Guide.” It’d be great to see some preacher man failing about with “The Guide” advising us all on how to make a heavenly dry martini.

    We don’t need no stinkin’ bibles, korans, talmuds, upanishads… yada, yada, yada.

    B

  • Cannonshop

    I’m just left wondering what it is that they (whoever ‘they’ are) don’t want us to see with all this hyperventilation over a bunch of Florida Rednecks who want to burn some books.

    What is the press so desperate NOT to report?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    What do you imagine? Do you suppose this is just a diversion while Obama and his brown shirted thugs take over Starbucks?

    Sure, the idiot pastor is just after his 15 minutes and has gotten it and more. But, why would you imagine that the media has some ulterior agenda in its coverage? Silly or not, it’s news.

  • Baronius

    This article has got me thinking, where are all the activist atheists? Shouldn’t they be burning Korans? Burning a Bible is no big thing anymore. Badmouthing the Bible in America doesn’t take courage. Why doesn’t Christopher Hitchens fly to Kabul and pass out copies of his book, Allah Isn’t Akbar?

  • Mark

    Ahh, the possibilities…

    spurred by our own Ruvy, old members of the JDL travel to Florida and use physical persuasion on the lunies. This show of support inspires certain world leaders and leads to peace in the middle east…

    well, I can dream

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Probably the same reason you don’t go there and pass out bibles. You’d soon be dead.

    Atheists aren’t about burning books of whatever ilk. Truth be told, I’d have no problem whatsoever if all so called “holy books” suddenly disappeared. But that would change little. There would just be a whole new slew of demagogues popping up everywhere “streaming” new religious claptrap straight from the mouth of their newly minted god or gods.

    B

  • dharma55

    Baronius, why would an athiest burn Bibles, Qu’rans, or other religious books? If you don’t believe in God, the power of “the book” does not exist, therefore, the reason to burn it does not exist. Sure, you might argue that to burn The Book would tweak the “religious”, but then that in itself recognises the existence of a God.

  • dharma55

    Baronius, BTW, I like your poke at the sactimonius Christopher Hitchens.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogsop.com Lee Richards

    Clever, fun article.
    Atheists, agnostics, and other free-thinkers actually read and know more about “holy” books than devout followers do. Believers know about the parts they’ve been propagandized with, but not very many bother with reading/studying all the rest of it, or with any historical background, modern textual criticism, comparative studies, etc.
    For one thing, much of these texts is utterly boring and, for another, many parts raise serious questions the faithful have no answers for. Knowledge is too scary.
    Ignorance of one’s religious book is more blissful;just take all the holy writ on faith(and ridicule those of all other religions who do exactly the same with their divine books.)

  • Cannonshop

    #9 there’s a reason for that, Lee-I became an agnostic Because I read the Bible, and the qu’ran, and a few other major religious texts-in other words, because I studied the subject of God.

    The core of Fanaticism, is ignorance and dull-wittedness, particularly Religious Fanaticism.

    Unfortunately, it has finally seeped in for me that the vast majority of the human race are both dull, and ignorant of their own ‘beliefs’, and worse they are HAPPY to be so, and believe themselves correct in their views-and with very selective reading (and ignoring the context, as well as the rest of the text) they can point to their mental poison of choice to justify ANY action they take.

  • Baronius

    “Atheists, agnostics, and other free-thinkers actually read and know more about “holy” books than devout followers do.”

    That’s dumb. I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a witty reply, but you know what, that’s just dumb.

  • Baronius

    (Sigh. Someone’s going to dump on me for that response, so I guess I have to flesh it out. Too bad, because I don’t really think it’s worth the effort.)

    It’s unfair to stereotype all believers. There is a broad spectrum of intensity of belief and degree of knowledge among religions. There is a lot of religious ignorance among non-believers, too.

    Additionally, you can’t broadly rule on “all” religious books unless you’re familiar with them all. It’s easy to prove the Book of Mormon’s inauthenticity, but what about the Mahabharata? The evangelical and the Episcopalian are going to approach seeming inconsistencies in the Bible completely differently. Many religions have books that explain their holy books. You simply can’t make blanket statements about religious texts.

  • dharma55

    Baronius, for once I agree with you that the statement Lee Richards made was “dumb”. I still maintain that if you choose not to believe a thing you don’t require any instense study to convince yourself you are correct in making that choice. I prefer to think of religions as coping mechanisms. But that’s just me. But what I do know is that much of the misery of the world has been caused by one group forcing their “god” on another group and I know that isn’t right. I suspect if Reverend Jones is hearing a voice, it isn’t God.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    There are probably a few million people in Utah that would fail to see the humor in “it’s easy to prove the Book of Mormon’s authenticity.”

    Lee’s point was overstated, but he did have a point: a person [like me] who is interested in the history of the Bible may well know more than some “true believers” who have little or no interest in any history that might conflict with the Bible’s narrative. But I’m sure there are plenty of believers who don’t reject a scientific/historic point of view, and may therefore know a lot more than I.

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/ Tommy Mack

    According to the gospel of Beavis and Butthead, in order to burn things you need fire. [Yah, fire, fire. He said fire!]

    This fits in nicely with my definition of art, which is “anything that can be burned.”

    Tommy

  • Baronius

    Handy, that’s my point. Holy books shouldn’t be believed or condemned because of people’s opinions about them. They should be considered on a book-by-book basis.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogsop.com Lee Richards

    RE # 12
    “Dumb” is a condescending term and not constuctive criticism.
    As I was imprecise and did seem to stereotype all believers, criticism was justified.
    Studies have been done to demonstrate the lack of knowledge about their scriptures by large numbers of Christians–strange results, indeed, if that scripture is the word of God and a passport to heaven.
    Your statement about approaching “seeming” inconsistences in the Bible indicates perhaps an agenda to downplay or ignore the very real inconsistencies that exist. And what else do ALL religions do but make “blanket statements about religious texts”, which you say can’t be done?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Studies have been done to demonstrate the lack of knowledge about their scriptures by large numbers of Christians

    Yeah, yeah. And similar studies have shown the “lack of knowledge” of Americans about their own country when compared to other nationalities and so on.

    The point is to define what is meant by “knowledge.” Are we talking knowledge of the historical context of the bible or knowledge of what it means within the framework of the religion?

    So yeah, it’s kind of “dumb” to suggest that one group of potential students “knows more” about a topic than another without qualifying what it meant by said “knowledge” in the first place.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And what else do ALL religions do but make “blanket statements about religious texts”, which you say can’t be done?

    Another steaming generalization without so much as an example. First, “religions” are not homogeneous entities. I’ve heard a lot of this type of erroneous thinking lately and it’s quite bothersome, whether we’re talking about the Left or Right or “religions” or “atheists.” We love to quantify groups and then assign those groups a series of characteristics that dismiss the concept of there being individuals within those groups with varying beliefs about specific principles.

    The reason, Lee, your statement was called out as “dumb” by more than one person here is because it was and is heavily couched in an unhealthy generalization. And that is what’s really condescending.

  • Baronius

    And what else do ALL religions do but make “blanket statements about religious texts”, which you say can’t be done?

    I mean blanket statements about the validity or invalidity of all religious texts, rather than the investigation of each.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    If we take god out of the equation, ALL holy books and religious texts become essentially irrelevant.

    The fact is, especially regarding fundamentalists of whatever ilk, they take great pains to flaunt their book as the inerrant word of god. Never mind that in virtually all cases, these books are a garbled mass of contradictions and inconsistencies. Evangelists claim that humans just aren’t intelligent enough to grasp that what we believe to be those same contradictions and inconsistencies are, in fact, no such thing.

    Of course, if our lack of intelligence as humans is a given how does ANYONE – including evangelists – know ANYTHING about what is or is not a contradiction or inconsistancy?

    But it is often these same evangelical assholes who wave the bible or whatever book quoting scripture – but it all amounts to cherry picking what works for them and ignoring the rest. Just like the way cons/Reps choose to cherry pick the Constitution.

    And the truth is that a large portion of “believers” really don’t know what’s in their adopted holy books – even among those who supposedly read the damn things with regularity. Why? Because the books are incoherent and largely incomprehensible gobbledygook.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogsop.com Lee Richards

    #19
    Sorry, Jordan–You’re missing the forest by picking out trees. It’s homogeneous religious groups–Catholics, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormans, Jews, Muslims, etc., who agree to generalize within their group that they’re right in their interpretations of the religious texts they hold sacred, and that those who disagree are wrong. That’s really an unhealthy generalization about truth.
    Of course, as you say, groups are made up of individuals who may vary from the party line to a greater or lesser degree, but you can’t be seriously suggesting that, because they might not be lockstep on every specific, there is no group identity or reasonable set of characteristics they share which can’t be observed as a dynamic of the overall group they’re aligned with.
    Your struggle with “what is knowledge” on this thread is sophistry in such a limited forum as this. And if it makes you feel superior to others here to use perjoratives such as “dumb”, I guess that’s a small price for us to pay for your emotional well-being.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogsop.com Lee Richards

    The word should be pejoratives in my previous comment. (I guess I’m careless as well as dumb.)

  • Jordan Richardson

    It’s homogeneous religious groups–Catholics, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormans, Jews, Muslims, etc., who agree to generalize within their group that they’re right in their interpretations of the religious texts they hold sacred

    The interpretations of scripture within various religious groups are vast, Lee, and gallon upon gallon of exegetical study reveals that the amount of discrepancy and debate within each of those bodies of the faithful you listed is enormous.

    You’ve got liberal interpretations, conservative interpretations, literal interpretations, analogies, metaphors, and countless other possibilities that both support and betray historical context. Those “groups” do not “agree that they’re right” in any meaningful sense. They can’t even agree on the degree to which they believe others are wrong.

    Take your garden variety Calvinists, for instance, and dig up the variants even within that piece of doctrine. You’ve got your hyper-Calvinists, your supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism, your so-called moderate Calvinism, and so on. Then you continue to work outward from there, with each fragment of these religious groups containing more and more internal divisions than even the most absurd of political parties could hope for.

    Religious groups are a lot of things, but one thing they are not and have never been is agreeable.

    Your struggle with “what is knowledge” on this thread is sophistry in such a limited forum as this.

    Bullshit.

    I asked you a simple question to back your assertion. The answer doesn’t call for hand-waving and excitement, Lee. It calls for some elaboration on your part: what did you mean when you said that atheists and agnostics are more “knowledgeable” than religious adherents on the contents of their own scriptures?

    It’s a hefty claim and your refusal to support it appears to be couched in your inference that the “knowledge” of atheists and agnostics is “superior” to the “knowledge” of religious people. It’s little more than an Us vs. Them mentality, propped up by a lofty, arrogant, self-righteous, sanctimonious bit of posturing that you apparently can’t defend.

    I am not religious. But I know condescending garbage when I see it, Lee.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’ll just ask my simple question again because it’s hardly specious:

    “Are we talking knowledge of the historical context of the bible or knowledge of what it means within the framework of the religion?”

    It’s a very specific question, Lee. Sounds pretty basic to me.

  • Jordan Richardson

    but you can’t be seriously suggesting that, because they might not be lockstep on every specific

    I should add, too, that many of the specifics these religious adherents are not in “lockstep” on are core specifics.

    Christians, for instance, have hearty and frequent disagreements about the fundamental figure of Jesus Christ and what his role is in the faith. Liberal Christians differ as to his divinity, for instance, while Calvinists will quibble about “particular redemption” and its role in Christ’s death as being “limited in scope” to those predestined for salvation by God. Indeed, the argument over predestination conceivably changes the entire fundamentals of the Christian faith and renders, at least for some, the concept of evangelism entirely moot.

    Similar specifics take place in all of the world’s religions and these specifics are far from minor scrapes. They have eroded the core foundations of these religions, often sprouting new versions along the way and heading down entirely different paths as the human experience of faith evolves.

    Like the author of this article, I believe religions are coping mechanisms. I believe they sprang out of the realization of the meaningless of existence and the inevitability of death and the finality that implies. In order to comfort our weary souls, we invented a series of faith-filled assertions and cast them into the stars. That series of assertions evolved over the years with complex doctrine, some of it based on control and some of it based on honest searching.

    The study of these assertions, of religion itself, is fascinating because they are not in any way homogeneous. It is the core differences in the world’s many beliefs and the way in which religious adherents arrive at and deal with those differences that keeps religious lifeblood flowing around the world. For better or for ill, the differences keep religion alive.

  • zingzing

    jordan: “Like the author of this article, I believe religions are coping mechanisms. I believe they sprang out of the realization of the meaningless of existence and the inevitability of death and the finality that implies. In order to comfort our weary souls, we invented a series of faith-filled assertions and cast them into the stars.”

    well, maybe, but they also couldn’t figure out why the sun rose every day or why it rained sometimes and why it didn’t at others. we assign meaning to things, whether right or wrong, just because… we can’t help ourselves. religion is just ignorance as a bullshit explanation for crap we don’t understand. now that we do understand so much of what religion initially “explained,” it amazes me that we hold onto it. but that’s where your “coping mechanism” really comes into play. at death, our existence goes black, cold and silent, but that’s just too much for some people, so they waste what time they have fooling themselves.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Religion gives meaning to its adherents and it’s easy to see why many around the world would cling to that notion. As a response to the trauma of death, propping up a deity or a series of deities that loves you becomes easier than facing the unknown.

    Deep down, nobody really knows and I wish religious adherents would have the courage to admit that they, too, have no earthly clue. But the soft comfort of belief in “something” isn’t going anywhere any time soon. When that soft comfort turned to hard certainty, religion became the problem it is today.

  • zingzing

    it’s like drugs. a nice little high, sure… but religion is on crack these days. they kill each other over it. whole cities, countries and regions crumble because of its nasty influence. they hallucinate and think the things they see are true or good ideas.

    religion is a crutch and a disease. it sucks upon their intelligence and wallets. it’s time to ween the world off of that shit. but it’s a tough addiction. one little thing goes wrong and they’re on it again. any little excuse to blame their troubles on something else.

    the sober among us see how fucked up they are. but what can we do? there is no methadone for god.

    lalallalalaa.