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31 October 2005

tribalism

A good read, especially if you’re a disillusioned South African. I had to steal a snippet;
At the ethical center of both tribalism and totalitarianism was the ideal of unity, of conformity, of groupthink carried to a point where the interests of the individual barely existed. In his discussion of “totalitarian justice” Popper pointed out that for both Plato and modern totalitarians there was only one ultimate standard—the interest of the state. “Everything that furthers it is good and virtuous and just; everything that threatens it is bad and wicked and unjust. Actions that further it are moral; actions that endanger it immoral… This is the collectivist, the tribal, the totalitarian theory of morality: ‘Good is what is in the interest of my group; or my tribe; or my state.”
... or religion.

Darwin Award winner in training

Oi, we nearly had a Darwin award here, when this poor woman got her face bitten off by a seal.
The seal was lying among the rocks and hissed when my mother stroked its face and head," Louise Eliis, 25, Van Tonder's daughter, said from their flat in George on Sunday."

"We thought the seal was dying and my mother suggested that we should roll her onto my one-year-old baby, Elouise's blanket and try to get her back into the water."

The seal hissed at them ... because that's the sound dying seals makes, right? Then this woman goes on to say:
"We believe that it was negligent of the SPCA and CapeNature to not put up boards warning that seals could be dangerous," Ellis said. "Who is going to pay for her pain suffering and plastic surgery?"
The SPCA nogals? Maybe if she can somehow arrange a refund on her school fees. Imagine these people at a zoo, they won’t make it past the dying tiger enclosure, and almost certainly won't be easy around the beached crocodile and stranded polar bear areas.

28 October 2005

Terri's Halloween Lecture, Abridged



This is how a Maypole should look-note the obvious sexual symbolism of it.

So, while most of out fellow Seffricans are ignorantly celebrating a festival meant for the start of winter hoarding, we will be out in the woods all night, a-summoning summer in.

Just to rub it in, here's a pic of Happy Pagan Dancing, With Clothes On.



Warren and I will be aknowledging the marriage of the Goddess and God, aka the astronomical start of summer, a week later on 7th November. Merry Beltane feast to you all!

26 October 2005

Prepare to be truly scared ....

....by thisremote control device for humans recently unveiled in Japan.
A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head — either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved


Apparently, the operator can cause the subject to move in a specific direction by means of a joystick.

I found this description of the experience interesting:

It's a mesmerizing sensation similar to being drunk or melting into sleep under the influence of anesthesia. But it's more definitive, as though an invisible hand were reaching inside your brain.


I can identify.Monolithic Religion, take some lessons.

24 October 2005

exorcism

I wrote this for this blog, and I then ended up using it on my personal blog, because I kept getting time-out errors on bloody Blogger, but here it is now, a cross post

So I’ve been rather lucky the last few months, in not having had to write too much about the superstitious folk, till yesterday that was, when I caught a glimpse of an article about the 20 year old Farhana being brutally whipped to death by healers, in an attempt to rid her of some evil spirits, while her family knew she was only suffering from epilepsy.

I heard about this sad occurrence a week or so ago, and I tried to ignore it, but being confronted with the way it was reported in the media made my head explode. On September 28, we have the following headline attached to the story; Woman whipped to death in 'exorcism', then the next day the follow-up gets this heading; Exorcists condemned after woman's death. Suddenly no inverted commas, and they managed to track down several exorcism experts, who said:

Exorcism experts have condemned the whipping saying that "the correct procedure had not been used".

Exorcism expert Reverend Michael Porthen, from the Church of the Nazarene, said the whipping was totally unacceptable.

Porthen, who has been conducting exorcisms over the past 40 years, said "the girl may have died because proper procedures were not followed for an exorcism".

"There is never any violence during any religious exorcism, whether it's Muslim, Christian or any other religion."

He said that before carrying out an exorcism, one has to look at the person's psychological history.

If there is psychological problem, the person should be referred to a psychologist. But, he said, if there was a genuine case of possession, "we prepare for an exorcism".

Also:

Hafez Suzail Soofie, an Imam from Durban, said that violence is never used during a Muslim exorcism ritual.

Uhm ... except this time, right? Remember now, these are our exorcism experts, saying these things. Ok shall we quote some fresh news just in for our man, Imam Soofie

One of the suspects stood with his feet on the victim's throat and lower belly, while the three other suspects held the victim down while reciting verses from the Koran, the source said.

OK right so by some sekrit magik Reverend Michael Porthen became an expert on exorcism and all the forms religion we ever suffered from on this planet. Well, I suppose the brainwashing at Church of the Nazarene training camps does not include access to the evil internets.

We can be pretty sure he didn’t study Vatican's Exorcism 101 (how about that smug expression on Gabriele Nanni's face) at the Legionaries of Christ collage or at the Regina Apostolorum University in Rome.

In 1999, the Vatican issued its first new guidelines since 1614 for driving out devils, offering cautions to exorcists about taking psychiatric problems into account.

1614, eh? Jesus, that’s a long time, would this mean that they’ve been using the old edition till now, like this priest?

Comming back to my original story, I complained about the reporting in this case, and here is the reason why, Doreen Premdev, for the same paper did a much better job in exposing this gruesome crime:

"My mother, grandmother, cousins and myself sat inside the house. We could hear the two men demanding that the spirits that possessed Faranah identify themselves. She remained silent and then the beating started. We looked out the window and saw one of the men holding on to the rope, which was tied around Faranah's neck. The other man was beating her with the whip.

"She showed no emotions, it seemed as if she was not feeling any pain. At one stage, my mother opened the door and peeked through and she was shouted at by one of the men. At around 1am my mother demanded that the men stop the beating. But they said she should not feel pity for 'this evil thing'."

She even got the this guy to comment:

President of the Islamic Dawah Care Centre, Rashid Suleman, said the community would go on a "witch hunt" and drive out quack spiritualists. "Faranah had endured a beating so severe, her jaw was broken and her body had turned purple. As she lay in her coffin, all that could be seen were her eyes and nose, the rest of her body was disfigured. This sort of thing will not happen again," Suleman said.

Oh yeah, right, only thing is, our non-violent Imam Soofie would almost certainly not approve of "witch hunts", would he?

She also got professor of Islamic studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Suleman Dangor to leave us this little gem:

"In this particular case, the family were desperate and cannot be blamed for the end result of the ritual. In our community, this kind of thinking is popular, but people need to be careful. The government has plans to regulate spiritual healers. This may help in separating the charlatans from those who may have the power to heal," said Dangor.

Oh yes, professor let the trials begin.

Another helpful soul from some magical organisation offered some advice:

President of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Dr Bisraam Rambilass, said the organisation was against healing by the use of the occult.

… and then he goes on about black magic and “practices that border on mysticism”. Boy, it must feel funky living such a slightly detached life, this women was whipped to death, and we are lectured on black magic, Christ!

20 October 2005

Bible Krip Notes

Wondering which religion to turn to for spiritual guidance? Fear no more! Salvation has been summarized into Life’s Little Instruction Book . Now you can understand any religion without having to read its divine scriptures... Not that we thought the religiously inclined ever read anyway....

18 October 2005

Desert Faiths Cast Long Shadows




I know I keep making this point: America, and maybe some of the rest of this poor Pale Blue Dot, is heading for a Theocracy.

Unless we of No Good Faith take some kind of stand, that is.

Our Liberal upbringings are liable to convince us to stand by while mad religions usurp all power bases, anywhere-as that is what mad religions are particularly good at.

In another century, wars were fought among Christians over intricate points of theology. Now there is reunion, in resistance perhaps to Islam or to secularism. Increasingly, one hears in America people name themselves simply as "Christians."
Though in a recent poll, a majority of Americans indicated an "admiration" of Islam. One senses more: one senses envy, envy of the Muslim's freedom to worship in the public square in ancient, desert cities.



But, ever since Sept. 11, 2001, when havoc descended, in the name of my desert God, I find my easiest companionship with the agnostic and the atheist.

11 October 2005

poker

For nearly two weeks now, I’ve been wondering about these bloody spamming poker sites, and about Google happily classifying their pathetic little press releases as news. This link will take you to one of many (read spam) press releases, apparently the new thing apart from comment spam, RSS feed spam, referrer spam and email spam, is controversial domain name pollution. So for the past few weeks these guys have been attempting to fuel some controversy through endless fake interviews and press releases.

For Christ’s sake now I’m also suckered into this, but I’m not going to even quote one single line from their lame sites, instead it seems like the Christians had an equally tacky trump card up their robes.

Look at these Jesus poker chips … Jesus Christ!

Via Boingboing

07 October 2005

There Is No God (And You Know It)

What can I say?

The man's good.

Go read.

There Is No God and You Know It