BWAHAHAHA! How to write a praise song (in 5 minutes or less)

This is such a perfect (and unfortunately, true) satire of what passes today for Christian praise music, it must be viewed by all.

The beauty (and power) of this brilliant and clever video is that it’s dead on the money. The unimaginative, grammatically ignorant, theologically defunct tripe that passes for “worship music” today is parodied perfectly by Garrett Vandenberg.

Watch it and lament what has become of contemporary worship music.

nonstampcollector’s latest: the ten commandments (as the supposed basis for the morality of western civilization)

My favorite YouTube author, nonstampcollector, has produced his latest film entitled, “The Ten Commandments: the basis of our laws and morals.”

The movie raises the question of the relevance of the 10 Commandments as the supposed fundamental basis for the ethics and morality of western civilization. Specifically, the video cleverly highlights those who argue that ALL Ten Commandments serve as the basis of modern morality (especially those who argue that said Commandments should be publicly displayed in courthouses and public places).

The incongruity of the 10 Commandments with modern foundational ethical concepts like freedom, liberty, and democracy is exposed in the following exchange:

Moses: “Surely, the way to nurture a society towards becoming amazingly advanced and prosperous is by having theocratic prohibitions against working on certain days of the week and graven images and all that.”

God: “Well, that’s where the problem lies, see. The more humanity progresses, the more it will base its laws and constitutions around things like freedom, liberty…”

Moses: “Freedom??!!”

God: “…democracy and self rule, opportunity, human rights, justice for all.”

Moses: “W…well, you haven’t commanded any of that here yet.

God: “Yeah, and I’m not about to either!”

Moses: “So the laws and morals of this mighty, advanced, western civilization aren’t going to come out of these commandments at all then.”

God: “Oh don’t rub it in!”

Give it a watch and I welcome your comments.

facebook summary of the facebook movie

Facebooki thought this was clever.

Aaron Sorkin posted a note: “The Social Network screenplay, first draft.”

David Fincher: I’m a little concerned about accuracy. Did Zuckerberg really address a joint session of Congress?

Aaron Sorkin: I don’t know that he didn’t.

Aaron Sorkin posted a note: “The Social Network screenplay, second draft.”

David Fincher: Come on dude. The old-money white-bread “Winklevoss” twins?

Aaron Sorkin: That’s the one part I didn’t make up.

devry university, itt tech, and university of phoenix announce acquisition of dead sea scrolls

Dead Sea Scroll Fragment

A fragment (4Q51) of a Dead Sea Scroll

in a stunning development just one day after southwestern baptist theological seminary announced (blog) it had acquired three fragments of dead sea scrolls, the assassinated press is reporting that three more prominent american universities have acquired fragments of the dead sea scrolls and other well-known jewish cultural heritage objects from unnamed antiquities dealers.

in what has become a race of archaeological one-upsmanship, several universities have begun purchasing fragments of the famed dead sea scrolls and other jewish antiquities that have previously been in private collections. prior to last year, princeton theological seminary and the university of chicago were the only american universities to have portions of the dead sea scrolls in their private museum holdings. then late last year, southern california academic powerhouse azusa pacific university surprised the world by announcing (blog) they had purchased fragments of the dead sea scrolls from a southern california antiquities dealer. then just yesterday, southwestern baptist theological seminary announced it had also acquired fragments of the scrolls from an undisclosed antiquities dealer for an undisclosed amount of money.

the desire for christian universities and seminaries to boost their academic reputations by purchasing fragments of the enigmatic scrolls has apparently started a trend among other institutions of higher learning also seeking to gain overnight credibility by purchasing classical jewish inscriptions. this morning, online education powerhouse devry university announced that it has acquired a fragment of the great isaiah scroll discovered in cave 1 near qumran. the fragment is a .5 cm x .3 cm wide and contains a single letter: aleph. despite the fragmentary nature of the fragment, professor roger smoak, who holds a joint appointment in accounting and northwest semitic palaeography, assured devry’s board of regents that the fragment was authentic and worth every bit of the 2.3 million dollars it paid for the single letter.

This fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls, although small, shows DeVry’s commitment to being a leader in the online university/alternative education market. Big things come in small packages, and this single aleph is the ‘A’ for effort that will make DeVry a major player in the world of higher education. Look out Harvard! DeVry knows a little about the Bible too. In fact, we now own a part of it.

immediately after devry’s announcement, online technical school itt tech announced that it had acquired an inscribed piece of pottery, or ostracon, from an antiquities dealer in jerusalem for an undisclosed sum. the dealer claims the ostracon is from the famed ‘samaria ostraca‘ collection, which comprises a number of ancient tax receipts for items brought to an israelite palace in samaria. the sherd acquired by itt tech contains three hebrew letters: bet, yod, and taw. while most scholars agree that this fragmentary ostracon simply contains the hebrew word bayit, or ‘house,’ itt tech associate professor of information systems security and hebrew bible, jeremy suriano, said:

While most scholars believe this ostracon says ‘house’ or ‘house of,’ I believe it is the earliest known reference to the computer term ‘bit,’ the foundational building block of bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes. In this sense, this simple ‘byt’ inscription must be considered a prophecy of the technology boom we are now experiencing today. And now we own this piece of prophecy!

A purported silver sliver of the backside of the Ketef Hinnom inscription shown next to a penny for scale.

not to be outdone, the university of phoenix has announced that it has acquired a fragment of the ketef hinnom inscription from a pawn shop in the silwan valley. matthew nam, professor of international trade and systematic theology, believes the silver sliver of text could be the centerpiece of the online university’s new masters program in international business and theology.

Obviously, the acquisition of a piece of history this significant is no small thing. Despite the fact that it contains no actual writing, the 1.1 million dollars we spent on this sliver of the Ketef Hinnom amulet’s backside shows our dedication to establishing our new program in international business and theology and establishing ourselves as the world’s premier online business degree for those who also love the Bible. Because we have made this purchase of a mere fragment of an archaeological object, we must immediately be recognized as a legitimate and major player in online theological education.

still other institutions are rumored to be in the hunt for valuable jewish antiquities in an effort to improve their academic reputations overnight. in an effort to solidify its place atop the field of agribusiness education,  fresno city college is said to be near the completion of a deal to purchase a 2 cm x 2 cm portion of a bar kokhba letter that mentions a piece of fruit. thousand oaks high school has partnered with local temple etz chaim preschool to acquire a coin minted by herod the great. and, liberty university is in talks with the jordan archaeological museum to acquire one segment of the copper scroll, which liberty university will then trade to the istanbul archaeology museum in turkey in exchange for the siloam tunnel inscription, a purported piece of noah’s ark, an artifact to be named later, and cash considerations.


these recent acquisitions of archeological objects by universities all go to show that a lack of status in theological education within the academy can quickly be overcome with a few dollars and the purchase of sensational archaeological objects. while most top schools waste their time educating their students with literary critical techniques and objective assessments of history, bible-based colleges can circumvent the scientific method while maintaining their sectarian doctrinal stances by simply purchasing objects that the public revere but do not understand. in this rough economy, why hire more faculty to educate students when a school can use that same money to purchase antiquities and sell tickets to its museum? thus, it makes great business sense for bible colleges to buy publicity by purchasing artifacts rather than producing scholars who truly understand them.

(n.b. check the ‘filed under’ category below)

why men shouldn’t write advice columns

Why Men Shouldn't Write Advice Columns

Why Men Shouldn't Write Advice Columns

i usually post items like this on my fb account, but this one made me laugh out loud. obviously, men don’t get certain things. had i been the one giving out the advice, i would have told elin (here using the alias ‘sheila’) to tell her husband tiger to knock it off.

the single greatest argument against junk science i have ever seen

intelligent_aliensthis is absolutely the best argument against ‘intelligent design,’ ancient aliens, and all other forms of junk science, pseudoscience, and sensationalism i’ve seen. in this short clip, the narrator provides a satirical argument eviscerating the popular tendency of junk scientists to bypass critical method, peer-review, and all forms of scientific evidence to make an otherwise unfounded claim. the portion of the video that compares claims of alien involvement in the development of humanity’s various technologies to the present ‘intelligent design’ movement, which uses the court system and claims of academic freedom to advance non-scientific theories under threats of violation of the equal protection clause.

why produce evidence when you can claim that your ‘belief’ is free speech, and that it should be considered just as ‘possible’ as theories that have veritable support of actual scientific data?

you see, doing science is hard work. conducting original research, writing technical papers with lots of footnotes and publishing them in reputable journals where they’ll be critically examined by other highly trained scientists isn’t exactly easy. even if you are lucky enough to make it through the peer-review process unscathed, you still have to present your work at professional conferences, where the world’s experts will pick apart your assumptions and methods to find anything that you might have overlooked in your research. why would anybody voluntarily subject themselves to this madness? i can understand doing it to get some honest feedback, but if your mind is already made up, what’s the point of exposing yourself to criticism?

this is where i believe the intelligent alien intervention institute can learn a thing or two from the discovery institute, the driving force behind the ‘intelligent design’ movement. the ‘intelligent design’ movement has discovered how to effectively bypass the protocols traditionally used to weed out junk science. just think how useful such a loophole could be.

absolutely classic!

circular reasoning, public appeal, demonizing science and scientists, the use of the court system, the assistance of politicians and fundraising, and claims of freedom of expression are all tactics used by amateurs, hacks, pseudoscientists, and sensationalists to advance their claims when they possess no data to support them.

this video makes this point succinctly and in a most entertaining fashion. with thanx to michael heiser for the tip and creator gordon j. glover, give it a look.

if it’s good for the goose… 2010 california protection of marriage act seeks to ban divorce

2010 California Protection of Marriage Act

2010 California Protection of Marriage Act

in the fall of 2008, california voters were asked to choose whether or not to overturn a california law that allowed same-sex couples to marry. a ballot initiative named the ‘california marriage protection act‘, but better known simply as ‘proposition 8’ sought to amend article 1 of the california state constitution, adding a single sentence that reads:

Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

despite the large number of catholics, mormons, and evangelical christians that voted heavily in favor of it, the ‘yes on 8’ campaign never explicitly mentioned the bible. rather, the ‘yes on 8’ campaign argued that the purpose of their campaign to ban same-sex marriage was to ‘protect traditional marriage.’ according to the prop 8 website, the measure would prevent against undermining,

the value of marriage altogether at a time when we should be restoring marriage, not undermining it.

‘yes on 8’ supporters regularly called for a ban on same-sex marriage to help ‘protect marriage.’ the ‘yes on 8’ website argues:

Proposition 8 protects marriage as an essential institution of society. While death, divorce, or other circumstances may prevent the ideal, the best situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother and father.

john marcotte of sacramento, california has taken this desire to protect the institution of marriage and to ensure that children are married by a mother and a father to the next level. marcotte has filed a petition to add another ballot measure on the 2010 california state ballot entitled the ‘2010 california marriage protection act.’ his petition seeks to ban divorce in california.

according to marcotte:

I am trying to extend the good work done with Proposition 8 last year. It could really happen. The United States has not always had divorce as an institution the way we do now. As a ballot initiative it bypasses the legislature and the governor. It’s the will of the people made law.

this is brilliant. it is nothing more than the natural extension of the ban on gay marriage. the bible clearly prohibits divorce except in the case of marital infidelity. matthew 5:32 reads:

But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

however, the penalty in the jewish tradition for marital infidelity was death by stoning. leviticus 20:10 reads:

If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.

thus, a man can divorce his wife if she cheats on him, but she cannot remarry because presumably, she’d be dead. interestingly, however, the divorced man also cannot remarry. the second part of matthew 5:32 says:

matthew 5:32 reads:

and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

thus, marrying a divorced individual is also prohibited. likewise, paul prohibits the remarriage of christians. after encouraging all xns not to get married (1 corinthians 7:7, 8, 27), paul states in 7:10-11:

To the married I give this command-not I but the Lord-that the wife should not separate from her husband. (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

thus, the bible clearly states that christians are not to divorce (except for the infidelity exception in matthew 5), and that divorced individuals should not remarry. note that no exception is provided for remarriage in 1 corinthians 7. thus, if one reads the bible in a fundamentalist fashion, according to the apostle paul, divorced individuals cannot remarry under any circumstance.

therefore, it is fair to say that in order to properly protect marriage and ensure that children are raised by both a mother and a father, not only should same-sex marriage be banned, but so too should divorce, as well as the remarriage of any divorced individual. this is precisely what john marcotte is seeking to do by banning divorce: protect traditional marriage. and marcotte is absolutely sure that those that supported and contributed to the ‘yes on 8’ campaign will contribute to and campaign vigorously for his 2010 california marriage protection act. why wouldn’t they? if the supporters of the ‘yes on 8’ campaign truly believe in protecting marriage, and do not want to appear hypocritical, they will eagerly support a ban on divorce.

the bible says homosexuality is unauthorized. the bible also says divorce is unauthorized (with one exception). the bible says the remarriage of divorced individuals is unauthorized. if we’re going to ban gay marriage, we should ban divorce too. if we really want to ‘defend marriage,’ and use state laws to do so, let’s do it all the way!

otherwise, let’s end this hypocritical nonsense and let divorced individuals and same sex couples marry. what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

robert cargill

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