Posts Tagged ‘fundamentalist christians’

"I just became the most controversial issue in twenty plus centuries of religion. Really, who knew?"

“I just became the most controversial issue in twenty plus centuries of religion. Really, who knew?”

In major news breaking now that will shake up both the Jewish and Christian religions – assuming their adherents are interested in facts rather than merely having a fundamentalist obsession with literal truth – evidence has emerged that the early chapters of the Old Testament were written long after they have sometimes been suggested to have been written. And they are historically inaccurate.

In short, the chapters were not eye-witness accounts, and even if they were brought down by oral tradition, they were later embellished by the actual writers, which contradicts long-held dogma that they were transmitted without a word being changed or added from the earliest story tellers.

Biblical scholars have long been aware many of the stories and accounts in the sacred book were not written by eyewitnesses, and according to new research, further evidence of that historical distance has appeared in the form of a hump-backed camel.

New research using radioactive-carbon dating techniques shows the animals weren’t domesticated until hundreds of years after the events documented in the Book of Genesis.

The research was published by Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, archaeologists from Tel Aviv University in Israel. They believe camels were not domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean until the 10th century B.C.

And yet, the hump-backed creatures are mentioned repeatedly alongside Abraham, Jacob and Isaac, indicating the Bible’s writers and editors were portraying what they saw in their present as how things looked in the past. These camel stories “do not encapsulate memories from the second millennium,” said Noam Mizrahi, an Israeli biblical scholar, “but should be viewed as back-projections from a much later period.”

While there are conflicting theories about when the Bible was composed, the recent research suggests it was written much later than the events it describes. This supports earlier studies that have challenged the Bible’s veracity as a historic document, for example, by pointing out that the destruction and plundering of Jericho actually occurred some centuries distant from the life of the long-asserted Hebrew general and leader Joshua.

The new biblical questioning wasn’t the focus of the recent research, though, just an after-the-fact observation.

The question over “phantom camels” is not new one, according to TIME magazine. Biblical scholar William Foxwell Albright “argued in the mid-1900s that camels were an anachronism.”

In an opinion piece for CNN, Joel Baden writes that there was no deliberate deception intended on the part of the Bible’s authors.

“Biblical authors,” Baden writes, “simply transplanted the nomadic standards of their time into the distant past. There is nothing deceptive about this. They weren’t trying to trick anyone. They imagined, quite reasonably, that the past was, fundamentally, like their present.”

A similar conclusion was reached by author Colin Schultz, who wrote, “these findings don’t necessarily disprove all the stories of the Bible. Rather, knowing that there are camels where there definitely shouldn’t be shows that the Bible’s authors, working thousands of years after the events they were describing were supposed to take place, took a modern lens to these ancient tales.”

At long last, can we focus on the eternal truths in the book that affect how we treat our fellow humans, rather than worrying about every dotted 'i' and crossed 't'?

At long last, can we focus on the eternal truths in the book that affect how we treat our fellow humans, rather than worrying about every dotted ‘i’ and crossed ‘t’?

Nevertheless, the findings confirm again that the Bible is not LITERALLY true.

This should not really come as a surprise to Jews and Christians. Authoritative figures in the Roman Catholic Church have already said it, in plain language. Like their acknowledgement that Adam and Eve never existed.

With this latest finding, it is simply scientifically impossible for us to see the Old Testament as entirely, immovably factual.

And we now also have categorical evidence that the Old Testament authors were operating based on their current world view, which would undoubtedly reflect predominant cultural mores, too.

Here’s the key point: if we can unarguably subtract one fact from the Bible, then it is logically consistent that we can subtract others, too.

For example: the few lines that are (incorrectly in my opinion) supposed to be about homosexuality, which have caused misery, persecution and death for millions of good people down through the centuries.

Or, most dramatically: creationism. Specifically “young Earth” creationism.

Today is a day for celebration. The moment we acknowledge that the Bible need not be literally true to be true, we free humankind from mindless, meaningless intellectual navel gazing, and set free our own critical faculties, to lead us closer to the Divine.

Now, to coin a phrase, that’s Good News for Modern Man.

burger urge ad

It’s silly. It’s not especially motivational – hardly what you would call appetite appeal – but offensive? Promoting bestiality? Really? Take a chill pill.

There is a growing trend amongst adherents of the largely right-wing evangelical forms of Christianty to leap all over any nonsense in the media to give a “Christian” perspective – by which they mean their own very literalistic, fundamentalist interpretation of what it means to “be a Christian”, and therefore by extrapolation, what our society should be like.

The Australian Christian lobby, long a friend to controversy – and most defnitely NOT speaking for all Christians in Australia despite their self-appropriated name – have now taken this trend to its logical conclusion. Which is: ridiculousness.

In all apparent seriousness, a Brisbane burger company’s advertising campaign has been accused of promoting bestiality.

The Burger Urge ad, which shows a woman licking a cow, was described in the complaint as loathsome, sick, wrong and perverted, according to News Limited and other outlets.

The Australian Christian Lobby group officially registered the complaint via company director Wendy Francis, who said people should be spared the image of “a woman making love to a cow”.

“It’s definitely a sexual sort of image. It says ‘get intimate’ so we’re not talking about a pet thing. The cow is dressed up as a man,” she said.

Burger Urge owner Sean Carthew says it is an over-reaction, and believes an overwhelming majority of people saw what Burger Urge was trying to do and did not have a problem with the campaign.

Ironically, Mr Carthew’s mum received an email from Ms Francis, attacking the advertisement.

“Mum’s quite religious and she doesn’t have any problem with the image of the cow and the girl,” he said.

“We do think quite carefully about our promotions. We don’t want to cause any damage or do any harm, we just want to have a bit of fun.”

Dumb and unnecessarily obnoxious, but that's the point, and the ACL complaintshave simply played into their hands.

Silly, (because it is simply designed to garner attention by being “shocking” whereas in fact it just appears infantile), but that’s the point, isn’t it? They are TRYING to shock, and the ACL complaints have simply played into their hands. I bet Burger Urge are delighted. Look, I’m talking about them, too.

Ms Francis, who also railed against Burger Urge’s condom mail promotion said it had the potential of catching out children who like to check the letterbox.

“I’m not asking for a nanny state. I’m just asking would somebody please make it so that our children are allowed to have their childhood,” she said.

However Mr Carthew said the arrival of a condom in the mail would have no impact on the future behaviour of children.

Bleeding hell. Let me make some things clear to the Australian Christian Lobby.

Burger Urge ran this campaign because they knew some wowsers would complain. It’s a tried and tested tactic, pioneered by other fast food outlets like Nandos, for example.

Now you have achieved giving them country-wide and international notoriety. Simply by complaining, and in such stupidly hyperbolic fashion, you have given this business the oxygen of publicity they so obviously desired. You will make them lots and lots of money, with which to run other ads, presumably.

As specifically stated below, they have obviously decided that they can afford to offend a few wowsers in order to appear “cool” and “alternative” to their core target market, which we can suppose is overwhelmingly teenagers and younger adults.

And this will be a shock to the ACL, but that target market doesn’t find condoms shocking.

Oh, and by the way? Condoms aren’t “dirty” or “wrong” either. They are a valuble tool in preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases. They are legal. They are not controversial for the vast majority of Australians.

Should they be delivered door to door? Why not? If you’re worried about children opening the mail then (a) open your own mail, (b) use it as an opportunity to have a conversation with your kids about condoms, (c) tell them it’s a free gift from their local balloon shop. In short, grow up.

But what really annoys me about your very public chasing after your own oxygenated publicity, ACL, is that in doing so you tar every normal, moderate, adult, socialised, liberal, live-and-let-live Christian with your very particular brush.

No-one – NO-ONE – with half a brain would seriously think this company is promoting bestiality. Everyone – EVERYONE – with half a brain will understand immediately that it’s a poor and clumsy attempt to garner attention in a crowded market, and move on, instantly.

So stop painting the rest of us as being as ridiculous as you. It makes explaining why we are Christians to non-Christians much more difficult than it needs to be.

That’s it. Period.

It’s also very instructive to listen to the owner of this business on the controversy created:

Sean Carthew of Burger Urge with the promotional condoms. He checked with his Mum and Dad - isn't that enough? Picture: Ric Frearson Source: Quest Newspapers

Sean Carthew of Burger Urge with the promotional condoms. He checked with his Mum and Dad – isn’t that enough? Picture: Ric Frearson Source: Quest Newspapers

Mr Carthew said his business couldn’t afford multi-million dollar fit outs or big promotions.

”To be honest, it’s hard enough the retail market the way it is at the moment just staying in business. We’ve got 70 employees who pay their rent and rely on us to be solvent,” he said.

”I feel like us staying in business is our primary objective and if that means that one or two percent of the population might be offended and might boycott our store well then I can still sleep at night.”

The business has also done ”wobble board” promotions targetting Lance Armstrong and Alan Jones, but Mr Carthew said he never wanted his promotions to be grotesque.

”I showed my mum and dad before we put them out and mum went `oh Sean, you can’t do that’ and dad laughed. They both concluded it was a bit cheeky but not anything that was going to change the world. If anything it’s promoting a good cause which is safe sex,” he said.

”People jump up and down like it’s an outrage but there are wars going on.”

And that’s the other point, isn’t it, ACL? If you spent half the energy you expend on social/cultural nonsense like this campaigning against the obscenity of war, then we might have more respect for you. And people might have more respect for Christians, generally.

But pacificism? Peace on earth? Love thy neighbour? Turn the other cheek?

Well, that’s just not quite as easy to grab a headline on, now is it?


THE advertising watchdog has thrown out a complaint against a Brisbane burger joint after they used an image of a woman licking a cow’s face to promote their premium beef.

The Advertising Standards Board dismissed the complaint which described the Burger Urge image as loathsome, sick, wrong and perverted.

But the Board ruled most people would realise the image had been photoshopped, and while it would be considered distasteful by most people, it was not overly sexualised or provocative.

The Board also found that while the slogan is open to many interpretations, the most likely is suggestive of eating a burger made from premium beef.

Advertising Standards also received a complaint about media reports that Burger Urge delivered condoms to letterboxes across Brisbane, but that did not constitute a formal complaint.

”They hadn’t actually received the advertising material themselves so we confine our cases to things that people have actually received or seen,” Advertising Standards chief Fiona Jolly said.