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Preview: BibleBending


Strange things people do with the Bible.

Updated: 2014-10-14T09:50:47.476-07:00


Obama talks about Jesus more than Bush


Politco says so.

Some theories:
1. To win over people who still think he's a Muslim,
2. connect with the majority of Americans who believe in God (83%),
3. Resurrect the Christian Left,
4. show up in the news.

Lego Jesus



I don't know if this Swedish church is trying to reach out to the next generation or making some statement (We assembled Jesus, Jesus can be assembled in many different ways) but I dig it.

John McCandlish Phillips: the journalist with a "Bible on his desk"


The Wall Street Journal posted a story last week about John McCandlish Phillips, who left The New York Times after working two decades on a promising career in journalism to pursue a career as a minister.

Peter Duffy explains how different Phillips was:
In the secular temple of the big-city newsroom, Mr. Phillips conspicuously placed a Bible on his desk, calling it "a statement I made of who I was and where I stood."

"Koogle": the kosher search engine


It'll be harder for Orthodox Jews who accidentally stumble upon porn or buy something on the Sabbath. There is a new search engine in town, and Koogle isn't going to be putting up with any biblically-prohibited behavior.

The site was developed in part at the encouragement of rabbis who sought a solution to the needs of ultra-Orthodox Jews to browse the Web particularly for vital services.

Via Reuters.

Crunching numbers, avoiding the Beast


Carl Bialik explores the limits of numbering, from Internet IPs to Social Security, while avoiding the sign of the Beast:
Social Security numbers should also last well into the later part of this century, according to Social Security Administration spokeswoman Cynthia W. Edwards. The agency has assigned about 450 million numbers, including 5.8 million last year, but nearly a billion are possible -- not quite a billion because some numbers, including those that start with 666, aren't allowed.

Tom Judd, the routing-number administrator for the American Bankers Association, isn't as accommodating when banks want to avoid that Number of the Beast from the Book of Revelation. "We had a bank call up, mad," because 666 was in its assigned routing number. Others have complained about numbers that included 1313, double bad luck if you're so inclined. But Mr. Judd stood firm. Customers who don't like seeing that number on their check "will have to go to another bank," he says.

Bible bending Netanyahu


Fareed Zakaria says that everything you know about Iran is wrong. Including the notion that Iran is "a messianic, apocalyptic cult"
One of Netanyahu's advisers said of Iran, "Think Amalek." The Bible says that the Amalekites were dedicated enemies of the Jewish people. In 1 Samuel 15, God says, "Go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." Now, were the president of Iran and his advisers to have cited a religious text that gave divine sanction for the annihilation of an entire race, they would be called, well, messianic.

Obama as Moses


Tony Auth, copyright 2009 Universal Press Syndicate

Kris Allen: Proof that the Christian vote is a game changer?


Kris Allen's American Idol win is a win for the Christian right, says the blogosphere in response to the upset Allen pulled on last night's big reveal.

"[T]he battle between an ambiguously sexual, theater-loving California glam rocker and a married-at-23, former church missionary Arkansas country rocker has all the makings of a Blue State/Red State culture war," says Randall Lane in the Daily Beast, posting a map of the voting that suggests a correlation between Allen and McCain supporters.

Michael Giltz, writing in the Huffington Post, notes that Allen represents a trend. "Look at seasons past," Giltz urges, "and where there's a clear Christian vs secular showdown, the Christians have been winning handily.

Burned Bibles


Unsolicited Bibles, sent to Afghanistan by an American church, were burned by the US Army to prevent their distribution.

Any perception that the US was trying to convert Afghans to Christianity would have endangered US troops and civilians. The military forbids troops from any religion from proselytizing. As for the method of disposal: "Troops at posts in war zones are required to burn their trash."

Hipster Jesus Debut


"We felt this design summed up the spirit and activity of Christ perfectly and I think it speaks for itself," says Father David Buckley, of Our Lady Immaculate and St Philip Neri Catholic church in Uckfield, UK.

Via the Telegraph.

Jesus Loves you, but I'm his favorite


The New York Times reports on the holier-than-thou syndrome: an inclination to believe that our individual morals are stronger than our peers. Such an inclination is most pronounced in the religious:
One practice that can potentially temper feelings of moral superiority is religion. All major faiths emphasize the value of being humble and the perils of hubris. “In humility count others as better than yourself,” St. Paul advises in his letter to the Philippians.

Yet for some people, religion appears to amplify the instinct to feel like a moral beacon. In a 2002 study, researchers at Baylor University in Texas and Simpson University in California evaluated the religious commitment of 249 students, 80 percent of whom were members of a church.

The researchers, led by Wade C. Rowatt of Baylor, found that the students in this highly religious group considered themselves, on average, almost twice as likely as their peers to adhere to such biblical commandments as “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The study also found that the most strictly fundamentalist of the students were at the highest end of the scale.

'Joe the Plumber' on the Christian Right, Gerson on why it needs to back off


The Everyman of the 2008 presidential campaign talks with Christianity Today about same sex marriage, the appeal of the Republican Party, his love of James Dobson, and his future in politics.
'Joe the Plumber' (aka Samuel Wurzelbacher), hopes "our leaders actually check with God before he does stuff" and feels that the Republican party needs to work with God more:
Does the Republican Party reach out to evangelicals enough?

No. None of them stand up for anything. They use God as a punch line. They use God to invoke sympathy or invoke righteousness, but they don't stay the course. That's why I think that all needs to be taken out of the federal level and give it back to the states. We've lost our American history. Every state has "In God we trust" or "With God's help" in their constitution. God is recognized as, if you will, America's religion.

In related news, Michael Gerson writes that a large segment of the non-religiously affiliated twenty-somethings would join a community if the religious right hadn't turned them off. Gerson quotes Robert Putnam (of "Bowling Alone" fame), who together with David Campbell, is working on a new book on the subject:
"They are not in church, but they might be if a church weren't like the religious right. . . . There are almost certain to be religious entrepreneurs to fill that niche with a moderate evangelical religion, without political overtones."

What would Jesus say about torture (and why aren't Christians saying it)?


Christians are out of step with the gospel that they preach, writes Cynthia Tucker.
Many evangelical Christians, black, white and brown, are Biblical literalists, insisting that homosexuality is a sin and evolution is heresy because the Bible says so. That same Bible introduces a simple teacher who instructed his followers to turn the other cheek, to repay cruelty with kindness, to disregard their personal safety. Yes, we may be forgiven for being afraid, but fear cannot justify inhumanity to others. How does that jibe with support for barbaric treatment of detainees?

Florida's new Jesus plate



Florida's congress has approved of allowing Jesus vanity license plates. The Times/Herald questioned Gov. Crist, who said that he would not veto the bill.
So you don't have a problem with Jesus on a license plate?

Crist: "I don’t. No."

What about separation of church and state?

Crist: “If they don’t want one they don’t have to buy one.”

Is that state endorsement of religion?

"I think it ... What's it say? 'In God We Trust' on every single piece of monetary, coins and paper we have? I think it’s fine."

Via Tampa Bay's The Buzz

"Soldiers in Afghanistan Given Bibles, told to 'Hunt People for Jesus'"


Al Jezeera has uncovered a year-old video of soldiers given instruction on how to avoid converting Afghanis while giving them the gift of the Bible in Pashtu and Dari.

"The Special Forces guys, they hunt men. Basically, we do the same things as Christians. We hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the Kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business," says one military preacher.

A defense official has responded to the report by clarifying that the preacher was speaking in general terms and the Bibles were confiscated before they could be distributed.

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Via Huffington Post.

Why Jessica Simpson's father hated her wedding


Rich Cohen, author of the much discussed Vanity Fair feature on Jessica Simpson, explains the pained look on Jessica father's face as he watched his daughter walk down the aisle to give up her purity ring to a member of a boy band:
As it says in the Bible in [sic] re marriage and parents: leave and cleave.

Cohen also suggests that Joe Simpson was pained to see his daughter's value as an object of sexual fantasy diminish. But that's not biblical...

Bible bending Firefox logo


Daniel Burka reveals the origins of the Firefox logo:
Little-known fact: the Firefox logo was partially inspired by this illustration in my childhood bible (Judges 15:4)

Kristof: Koran entering a period of critical scholarship


Nicholas Kristof, writing an Op-ed in the New York Times, notes that the Koran is now undergoing a period of critical scholarship challenging the consistency and accuracy of the text akin to biblical scholarship of the 1800s:
For some literal-minded Christians, it was traumatic to discover that the ending of the Gospel of Mark, describing encounters with the resurrected Jesus, is stylistically different from the rest of Mark and is widely regarded by scholars as a later addition.

Likewise, Biblical scholars distressed the faithful by focusing on inconsistencies among the gospels. The Gospel of Matthew says that Judas hanged himself, while Acts describes him falling down in a field and dying; the Gospel of John disagrees with other gospels about whether the crucifixion occurred on Passover or the day before. For those who considered every word of the Bible literally God’s word, this kind of scholarship felt sacrilegious.

Now those same discomfiting analytical tools are being applied to the Koran.
Read the whole article here.

Mother uses Bible to defend daughter's fashion choices


A Texan woman says her daughter, a 7-year-old second-grader, has the right to wear her shirt untucked because of a Bible verse, 1 Timothy 2:9, which dictates that "women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing."

"I don't want her behind showing," the mother said. "I don't want her body being exposed."

The school board agreed, 6-1, and overturned the principal and district administers' order that all shirts must be tucked in.

The article in the Dallas Morning News notes that board members discussed their interpretations of Scripture before voting.

"I'm a Christian," said trustee Valerie Jones. "There could be a Christian who believes it might be more modest for their child's shirt to be tucked in than not to be tucked in. ... There is room for interpretation even amongst Christians."

Backmasking Obama


Looking for new ways to link President Obama with the Anti-Christ? Enjoy hearing phrases played backward to reveal satanic messages? Wondering how Obama fits into Nostradamus's predictions? Browsing for new ways to apply the Bible to current events?

The Internet has heard you. Now those on the look out for Beelzebub's handmaiden can gather together on one YouTube channel where we can all keep an eye out for the strange things you do with your Bibles.

More on backmasking here. And a textbook example here:
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Obama hides Jesus


"Jesus Missing from Obama's Georgetown Speech"
This is the headline on Fox Nation, NBC Washington and the Drudge Report as of 4:19 p.m. ET.

Cybercast News Service (CNS) broke the story that the White House allegedly requested that Georgetown "hide Jesus" and "all signs and symbols" during President Obama's speech.

Media Matters reports that "several commenters on The Fox Nation--as of this posting--have used this opportunity to question Obama's faith, calling the president 'ANTI-CHRIST' and a 'Muslim.'"

Heed Paul, forego denim


Our Nation, says George Will, "would be much more [lovely] if supposed grown-ups would heed St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, and St. Barack's inaugural sermon to the Americans, by putting away childish things, starting with denim."

Secular Values, not guns, create criminals: Morality in Media


Morality in Media President, Bob Peters, reacts to the wave of gun-related murders this past week (reproduced in full):

"Having lived in New York City for more than 30 years, I am all too aware of the harm that firearms in the hands of criminals can cause. Having grown up in a small town in Illinois, where citizens owned guns without misusing them, I am also aware that guns aren't the underlying problem. I am not an opponent of gun regulation; I am an opponent of making guns the scapegoat for mass murder.

"The underlying problem is that increasingly we live in a 'post-Christian' society, where Judeo-Christian faith and values have less and less influence. Among other things, Judaism and Christianity taught that murder was wrong and that included murder motivated by anger, hatred and revenge. Both religions also taught that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves and to forgive others.

"For many citizens, what has replaced Judeo-Christian faith and values is the secular value system that is reflected in films, rap/music lyrics, and videogames and on TV and now the Internet, where the taking of human life for just about any reason is commonplace and is often portrayed in an appealing manner and in realistic detail. Murder motivated by hatred and revenge is also justified.

"This secular value system is also reflected in the 'sexual revolution,' which is the driving force behind the push for 'gay marriage;' and the Iowa Supreme Court decision is another indication that despite all the damage this revolution has caused to children, adults, family life and society (think abortion, divorce, pornography, rape, sexual abuse of children, sexually transmitted diseases, trafficking in women and children, unwed teen mothers and more), it continues to advance relentlessly.

"It most certainly is not my intention to blame the epidemic of mass murders on the gay rights movement! It is my intention to point out that the success of the sexual revolution is inversely proportional to the decline in morality; and it is the decline of morality (and the faith that so often under girds it) that is the underlying cause of our modern day epidemic of mass murders.

"I would add that if conservative media's irresponsible talk of revolution can 'poison weak minds,' the liberal entertainment media's irresponsible portrayal of mayhem can also poison weak minds."

An Ark of true biblical proportions


The world's first Ark replica that is made to precise biblical specifications is near-completion in Hong Kong, thanks to three brothers and their billions.

The Wall Street Journal explains:
The instructions in the King James version of the Bible call for a gopher wood and pitch vessel that is 300 cubits long, 50 wide and 30 high, with a window, a door and three stories. (By the reckoning of modern scholars, [who?] that comes out to about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.)

Mr. Lu, the project's director, says the park isn't promoting religion. "We're promoting meaning."

Colbert: "I have been waiting my whole life to witness an event of biblical proportions"


"How many times do you have to bring your son to the sacrificial alter before God makes his move?"

Following in the spirit of Passover and Purim, Stephen Colbert frees his Jews:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Birkat Hachama - Stephen Frees His Jews
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