[religion] Man On Verge Of Self-Realization Instead Turns To God … ‘For a second there it seemed like he was going to seriously consider the cause-and-effect relationship of his own actions and elevate himself to a new level of compassion and understanding, but then he suddenly changed course and asked God to swoop in and fix everything.’
In 1980, two smart, goofy nerds in Dallas decided to start their own religion. Their names were Doug and Steve, but in the grand tradition of charlatans everywhere, they invented new names for themselves as apostles of the deity of their made-up belief system: Reverend Ivan Stang (born Douglass St. Clair Smith) and Dr. Philo Drummond (Steve Wilcox), ready to educate the masses through the Church of the SubGenius about the great J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and to spread his gospel of “Slack.”
Somehow, against all odds, the Church of the SubGenius became a real thing, if not exactly a real religion. It spread well beyond Dallas, capturing the imaginations of a number of important counterculture figures of the era. Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh, actor Paul Reubens (known for his role as Pee-wee Herman), Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, cartoonist R. Crumb, gonzo bluesman Mojo Nixon, and more all claimed a SubGenius affiliation. All of them sought Slack, an unspecified philosophical state that the church maintained as its answer to enlightenment.
To be clear, all of this was something between a con job and an inside joke. But the people involved took perpetuating that joke seriously…
[docu] The Keepers: ‘I’ve dealt with survivors and they’re sickened by the church’s response’ … Another look at Netflix’s True Crime documentary ‘The Keepers’… ‘The response of the archdiocese of Baltimore has been surprising, to say the least. “People in churches and schools in Baltimore started sending us literature that the archdiocese was sending out, on how to tell people what we got wrong. The documentary wasn’t even out. I just found it incredibly disappointing.” The @archbalt account retweeted a message that called the series “fiction”, a spokesperson subsequently admitting that this was “bad judgment”. “They’re trying to re-message. They’ve lost. It’s too late now,” says White.’
[life] Dying Lion Sure Doesn’t Feel As Though He’s Completing Some Great Cosmic Circle … ‘Observing his surroundings, the moribund lion reported that he has seen no brilliant gleaming light shining down from the heavens that makes him realize he’s part of a sacred tradition as old as life itself, nor has a hush seemed to fall over the land in a reverent acknowledgment of his passing. In addition, the large African mammal noted that succumbing to a gunshot wound hasn’t resulted in a spiritual awakening in which he suddenly feels at one with the universe, so much as it has made him feel terrified, alone, and utterly insignificant.’
Frigax The Vile, a leading demonic presence, is one of the most vocal supporters of the new circle.
“In the past, the underworld was ill-equipped to handle the new breed of sinners flooding our gates–downsizing CEOs, focus-group coordinators, telemarketing sales representatives, and vast hordes of pony-tailed entertainment-industry executives rollerblading and talking on miniaturized cell-phones at the same time. But now, we’ve finally got the sort of top-notch Pits of Doom necessary to give such repellent abominations the quality boilings they deserve.”
[war] U.S. Funneling Arms To Dissident Angel Group In Effort To Topple God … ‘According to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, a CIA-orchestrated operation has provided firearms, ammunition, and financial support to the insurgent angels of the New Dawn Front, with the goal of deposing the longtime Heavenly Father and replacing Him with someone who will advance American interests in the region.’
[lovecraft] Countdown apologises after letters round accidentally summons Cthulhu … ‘Broadcaster Channel Four defended itself from criticism and said that the letters drawn were ‘purest chance’. Concerns were first raised by viewers after contestants were challenged to twist the numbers 2, 2, 5, 6, 9, 25 and 75 through unholy geometries and cause the stars to be right. This was followed by a contestant winning a letters round with the ten-letter word “Yog-Sothoth” which regular dictionary corner guest Gyles Brandreth accepted was key and the gate and the opener of the way, and praised the contestant for managing to make a ten letter word out of only nine letters.’
The story itself, which has become more familiar than Hubbard or any of his disciples ever intended, revolves around the figure of Xenu, the tyrannical dictator of the Galactic Confederation. Millions of years ago, Xenu, faced with an overpopulation crisis, threw hordes of his own people into volcanoes on the planet Earth—then known as Teegeeack—and blew them up with atomic bombs. Their spirits, called thetans, survive to the present day, clinging to unsuspecting humans, and they can only be removed through dianetic auditing, a form of talk therapy that clears the subject of its unwanted passengers.
One of the church members who read this account was screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, who was a devoted Scientologist for over three decades before resigning in an ugly public split. Haggis told Lawrence Wright, the author of the seminal New Yorker piece that became the exposé Going Clear, that after finishing the story, he got the wild idea that it was some sort of insanity test—if you believed it, you were kicked out. When he asked his supervisor for clarification, he was informed: “It is what it is.” Haggis read it again, but the same thought continued to resound in his brain: “This is madness.”
Hubbard himself had another term for it. In an insertion to the original manuscript, squeezed between two lines, the author left his own description of what he had written: “Very space opera.”
Many underground and alternative comic artists admired him. In an interview last year, the cartoonist Daniel Clowes said that, as far as he was concerned, Chick deserved a place in the comics pantheon. “As a comics aficionado you don’t really think of those as being part of the official canon of effective comics,” he said. “And one day I sort of changed my mind on that. I thought, ‘These are really compelling and interesting and I’d rather read these than pretty much anything else published in 1985.’”
The revelation came after a Chick tracts bender, Clowes said: “[O]ne day I made a long trek out to a Christian bookstore in Queens where they had a rack where they sold them, and I bought every single one, which totaled I think $3. I think they were each 10 cents. And I went home and read them all in one sitting, and it was maybe the most devastating comics-reading experience I’ve ever had. I really felt like he’d almost won me over by the end. There’s really something to be said for that.”
[religion] Did Jesus Have a Wife? … a must-read crazy detective story into the origins of a papyrus fragment from a gospel where Jesus mentions his wife…
His account of how he’d come to possess the fragment, I noticed, contained a series of small inconsistencies. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to make of them.
But years later, they still gnawed at me. The American Association of Museums’ Guide to Provenance Research warns that an investigation of an object’s origins “is not unlike detective work”: “One may spend hours, days, or weeks following a trail that leads nowhere.” When I started to dig, however, I uncovered more than I’d ever expected—a warren of secrets and lies that spanned from the industrial districts of Berlin to the swingers scene of southwest Florida, and from the halls of Harvard and the Vatican to the headquarters of the East German Stasi…
[tags: Religion][permalink][Comments Off on “I love the smell of Armageddon in the morning.”]
December 22, 2015
[religion] The Scientology Christmas Catalog Is Totally Insane … a look inside The Scientology Christmas Catalog. The Hubbard Professional Mark Ultra VIII™ E-Meter (Price: $5,000) – ‘Please note that the Mark Ultra VIII comes with free electrodes! “Our gift to you,” the copy says. Why, you’d practically be losing money if you didn’t buy the thing now. These electrodes look like anal-probing suppositories, but you actually hold them in your hand while the church’s local hired goon audits you. I assume the fancier e-meters come with free nipple clamps.’
[religion] Religious Symbolism in E.T. … a look at the similarities between E.T. and Jesus … ‘Occasionally incongruous pieces of religious symbolism are sprinkled throughout the film. The children’s mother is called Mary, a fact emphasised by her children calling her by her first name throughout the movie. Elliot promises to believe in E.T. his whole life—implying, curiously, that the event would later become a matter of faith. The iconography is also Biblical — a rainbow in the sky, E.T.’s glowing heart, and the famous image of the boy’s and alien’s fingers touching—suspiciously reminiscent of Michaelangelo’s Creation of Adam.’
[life] Angels ‘can only intervene in the trivial bullshit of the self-absorbed’ … ‘Angel Tom Booker said: “For some reason we are not permitted to assist people suffering the effects of war, famine or disease. “It’s angel policy that we can only help with trivial matters affecting the lives of the privileged, for example easing traffic congestion so that a middle-class divorcee can get to her book group on time. Or the all-time classic, finding someone’s car keys. When my designated human says ‘Guardian angel, please find my keys so I can go on holiday’, I am duty bound to oblige.”’
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August 21, 2015
[bible] The 14 Weirdest Moments In The Bible … ‘You call me bald, I will have you killed by a bear: Some children mock a bald man. He curses them, and two female bears come out of the woods, killing 42 of them. He continues on his journey. No one seems to think this is disproportionate.’
[religion] 8 Short-Lived Religious Manias That We’re Lucky Didn’t Stick Around … Rule of Thumb: Religious Manias never end well. ‘The nuns were a contemplative order, and had very little contact with the outside world. This is a shame, because contact with the outside world might have helped new novices realize that initiation into a convent shouldn’t involve large amounts of oral sex with the mistress of novices. Perhaps a more open atmosphere would have given the first three nuns Maria Luisa turned on a chance to get away before they were poisoned to death.’
[religion] The pope has said that he would baptise a Martian – but would they want our religions? … ‘The Vatican has already covered the angles, it seems. In 2008, its chief astronomer, José Gabriel Funes, publicly accepted that there could be life on other planets. “Why can’t we speak of a ‘brother extraterrestrial’?” he said. “It would still be part of creation.” Aliens might even be closer to God than us, Funes suggested, and humans could be the “lost sheep” of the universe.’
The professor claims that, while his DMT experience is largely ineffable and almost impossible to describe to anyone who hasn’t also been through it, he “saw the self transforming machine elves that Terence McKenna was talking about” and that they communicated with him.
“I can’t believe I’ve been so wrong all of these years,” raged an exasperated Dawkins while smashing his private collection of dinosaur bones. “I always thought I’d be able to explain away any experience I had on the basis of evolutionary theory but I just wasn’t able to apply it to this, it was mental.”
[religion] God’s Lonely Programmer … fascinating story of a man who has crafted his own computer operating system inspired by God … ‘ The words pour out on TempleOS.org, a torrent of verified random numbers, news links, YouTube videos, and scriptural exegesis. It’s the dense work of a single, restless mind writing ceaselessly without an audience. After two months of emails and phone conversations, I know more than when I began; specifically, I’ve accumulated more raw data, more facts about his life and experience. But I suspect I’ve only sketched a shadow. The full reality remains unreachable, an irreducible mystery.’
Reactions ranged from incredulity to claims of “Without a doubt, this is the most significant discovery of the age.” and “A truly earth shattering discovery!” Naysayers left comments such as “Hmmm…no dimple on the chin. I call FALSE BOB! CAST HM OUT!”, “That is not ‘Bob’ — it’s a False Bob. Do not be fooled by cheap imitations”, “The shadows are ALL WRONG. The shadows from his nose and cheeks point downwards at a 45 degree angle to the left (DOWN AND TO THE LEFT, DOWN AND TO THE LEFT), but the shadow of his PIPE go down at a 45 degree angle to the RIGHT. It’s LEE HARVEY OSWALD all over again”, and “Note the strange roundness of the pipe.”
[tags: Religion][permalink][Comments Off on Holy Grail Image Of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs Found From 1956?]
[movies] The Original Robocop Was A Christ Allegory … ‘We could view Robocop as Verhoeven’s response to a kind of mythological or narrative challenge: retell the life, death, and resurrection of Christ (as an historical figure or a religious one, it’s up to you) in a way that’s relevant for our contemporary context. The idea that someone like Verhoeven might respond to that challenge by inventing a murdered cop who is brought back to life by technical wizardry, only to walk the Earth again as a robot, is pure genius, almost hilariously so. It not only suggests an awesomely freewheeling response to an ancient storyline; it also raises the absolutely gonzo interpretive possibility that the machines and devices around us, from police drones to television sets, are able to bear religious, mythic, or theological implications.’
[life] Decoding Cancer-Addled Ramblings … a remarkable post on Ask Metafilter where the commenters partially decode the last messages of a Grandmother who died twenty years ago… ‘AGH, YES! Sorry for the double post, but: OFWAIHHBTNTKCTWBDOEAIIIHFUTDODBAFUOTAWFTWTAUALUNITBDUFEFTITKTPATGFAEA Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name… etc etc etc’
[Religion] God Admits He Rarely Forgives … ‘Speaking to reporters, God, who admitted that He is “generally motivated more by anger and spite than forgiveness,” reiterated that being forgiving is “not in [His] nature,” and on the whole constitutes a small part of what the Lord does every day and what He feels He should do every day.’
[funny] The Venn Diagram of Irrational Nonsense … ‘In my gross over simplification the vast majority of the multitude of evidenced-free beliefs at large in the world can be crudely classified into four basic sets or bollocks. Namely, Religion, Quackery, Pseudoscience and the Paranormal.’
[religion] Hearing the Voice of God … An anthropologist vists with and studies American evangelicals and attempts to understand their experience …
Stanford was the setting for a psychological experiment described in When God Talks Back. To better understand if and how spiritual practice impacts the mind, Luhrmann randomly divided volunteers who were Christian into groups: one listened on iPods for 30 minutes a day to lectures on the gospels. Another group participated in a more interactive, imagination-rich way, similar to the prayer style of Vineyard members. Their recordings invited them to see, hear and touch God in the mind’s eye, to carry on a dialogue with Jesus, to imagine a psalm in every detail.
“I found that after a month of prayer practice, people reported more vivid mental imagery than those who listened to the lectures,” she says. “They used mental imagery more readily and had somewhat better perceptual attention, and they reported more unusual sensory experience. In short, they attended to their inner experience more seriously, and that altered how real that experience became for them.”
‘I went to the Illness drawer and scanned the divider labels: Asthma, Bowels. Cold virus, Colic, Consumption, Convulsions / Fits, Distemper, Dropsy, Faintings, Food Poisoning, Homesickness, Depressed, Kidney, Lips, Measles, Pleurisy, Pox, Prickly Heat, Scurvy, Seasick, Smallpox, Typhoid, Venereal.
Venereal was the thickest category. Eighty-seven notecards referencing 87 mentions in close to 87 logbooks – that’s one-third more than the Scurvy category and a magnitude thicker than the Homesickness category. I thumbed through Venereal and found, slid between endless Syphilis cards, an archaic Lady’s Fever, the whimsical Blue boar in groin, and the enigmatic doby itch. Of all the Illnesses, it appeared the stops on shore hit the whalemen the most, the damage done in the arms of a woman. One 19th-century writer calculated that during whaling season in the port of Lahaini, Hawaii, there were ”upwards of 400 instances of intercourse daily.”
Crammed between Depressed and Kidney, at only 10 notecards thick, was the file I was looking for: Injury by Whale.’
[tags: Religion, Science][permalink][Comments Off on Were People Ever Swallowed By Whales and What Would Actually Happen To Them?]
January 1, 2012
[moore] Alan Moore’s alternative Thought for the Day … Broadcast yesterday on Radio 4’s Today Programme … ‘The big advantage of worshipping an actual glove puppet of course is that if things start to get unruly or out of hand you can always put them gak in the gox. And you know, it doesn’t matter if they don’t want to go gak in the gox, they have to go gak in the gox.’
[tags: Religion][permalink][Comments Off on ‘Draw A Circle Around The One God Loves Most.’]
December 21, 2010
[iraq] Qur’an Etched In Saddam Hussein’s Blood Poses Dilemma For Iraq Leaders … ‘Over the course of two painstaking years in the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein had sat regularly with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher; the former drawing 27 litres of his blood and the latter using it as a macabre ink to transcribe a Qur’an. But since the fall of Baghdad, almost eight years ago, it has stayed largely out of sight – locked away behind three vaulted doors. It is the one part of the ousted tyrant’s legacy that Iraq has simply not known what to do with…’ [via @qwghlm]
[tv] Vatican confirms Simpsons as Catholics … ‘Of course, this is the Vatican we’re talking about, and the devil is of course in the detail. In praising Homer, Rome is effectively dissing other characters in the series – notably the happy-clappy and neighhourly Ned Flanders. Indeed, back in December, the Vatican referred to “the naive radicalism of Flanders and his sons (sic) manic biblical scholars.”‘
[quote] ‘Think of it like a movie. The Torah is the first one, and the New Testament the sequel. Then the Qu’ran comes out, and it retcons the last one like it never happened. There’s still Jesus, but he’s not the main character anymore, and the messiah hasn’t shown up yet. Jews like the first movie but ignored the sequels. Christians think you need to watch the first two, but the third movie doesn’t count. The Muslims think the third one was the best, and Mormons liked the second one so much, they started writing fanfiction that doesn’t fit with ANY of the series canon.’ — Think Of It Like A Movie
[movies] A Religion for Toys … a movie review that describes the theology behind Toy Story 3 … ‘In the theology of Toy Story, Andy is God and Woody is his prophet. He is more Moses than Jesus. For one thing, he is orthodox. In the theology of toys, the ideal is to be owned and to be played with. Of these two, it is more important to be owned, and to be owned by one God only. Andy’s room is heaven…’
[comics] Jack Kirby’s Visual Interpretations of God … ‘I always found it interesting that of the very few pieces of his own work that Jack Kirby displayed in his home, three of them were his visual interpretations of God.’
[bdj] Archbishop of York attacks Belle de Jour for glamourising prostitution … ‘Dr John Sentamu attacked the books and television programme based on the character Belle de Jour, a high-end London call girl, for misleading the public over the reality of prostitution. He said that the lifestyle portrayed in the works was in stark contrast to the suffering endured by the majority of women involved in the sex trade.’