Superstition and Other Silliness: October 2003 Archives

October 28, 2003

Le nettoyage ethnique de Hallowe'en

France: A French fast food chain (surely not a very French thing in itself) has put the Auld Alliance at risk by claiming Hallowe'en is Anglo-Saxon. Flunch has replaced the Scottish and Irish festival with their very own invented Celtic New Year.

Gilleron said the Gallic promotion, which features stores decorated with cardboard druids, was in the spirit of French ancestors. The eve of the Celtic New Year was a big event and would be followed by weeks of parties and banquets.

Customers have so far failed to notice. Asterix Spirit Stems Halloween Invasion - Yahoo! News, 28th October 2003.

October 26, 2003

New Age authors are from Uranus

Polly Vernon has a look at the massive market in self-help and mind, body and spirit books in today's Observer:

On reaching her flat, she disappeared into the kitchen to make drinks, and he started absentmindedly checking out the contents of her living room, at which point he discovered that her bookshelves were monopolised by upwards of 50 titles from the self-help genre. I'm OK - You're OK. Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. The Road Less Travelled. Women Who Love Too Much. Chicken Soup for the Soul. A Course in Miracles. Etcetera. He looked at the books for a millisecond and drew what he insists was the obvious conclusion. He was trapped in the home of a nutter.

Last year, sales of such books generated £38m in the UK alone, and that figure has been steadily increasing, though it includes kook diet books read by those who cannot accept that all they need to do is eat less and be more active. And what of the future - surely this is the best genre to know that?

Alongside the Goddess revival, Danuta Kean predicts a major move towards interest in psychic powers and mediums. Apparently, she says, anything that the Living Channel is endorsing heavily is a very good indicator of forthcoming trends in self-help. The ageing baby-boomers are investing heavily in books that prepare them for old age, to guard against failing mental faculties. And for the younger demographic of readers, teenagers and early twentysomethings, the trend in Wicca persists, fuelled, Kean suspects, by Philip Pullman, Harry Potter, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and Buffy.

Feel the fear... and read it anyway - The Observer, 26th October 2003.

October 25, 2003

The end which was postponed is nigh again

New Zealand: No-one told Walter Foott about Planet X failing to destroy the world last May (see Annual end-of-the-world post 2003Prattle, 1st January 2003; Planet X - the mundane truthPrattle, 14th May 2003) and so continues to prepare for impending doom.

Mr Foott claimed he and several other members of his group had built fibreglass cocoons and electricity systems on a mountain range in the Waikato province.

The structures were designed to withstand high winds, abrupt temperature changes and meteorite showers, and were sited above potential flood levels.

As evidence, he cites a webcam image taken at by New Zealand's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences which he says shows an unexplained light, which he explains is Planet X, but which an NZIGNS representative explained was caused by the moon.

Taranaki man ready for the apocalypseThe Daily News, 24th October 2003.

Go to hell: the survey

United States: The Barna Research Group in Oxnard, southern California, conducted a poll into American beliefs in the afterlife. Around 100 people were interviewed for the poll which asked opinions in every American state apart from Hawaii and Alaska. The results?

71% of Americans believe in hell, but only 0.5% think they're going to end up there.

Actually, only 5% of Americans don't hold some sort of superstitious belief in an afterlife, but let's not exaggerate the hell business: 39% of those surveyed see hell as a state of eternal separation from God's presence, and another 13% see hell as some kind of unwanted bad outcome after death, leaving only a 32% minority who believe in a hellfire-and-brimstone-is-literally-true place of suffering where Bad People go after they die.

Mind you, 76% of Americans believe in heaven; 30% see it as an actual place of rest and reward and 46% see it as an eternal place of existence in God's presence.

Oh, and 64% believe that they are on the way to heaven after death.

These guys have got nuclear weapons. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Everyone else can go to hell, Americans say - The Guardian, 25th October, 2003.

(Read LiveJournal commentry on this item)

October 19, 2003

The president's soul is missing

Thailand: Angry farmers have performed a traditional curse on George W. Bush.

A photograph of the US leader was sealed inside a pot amid black magic mantra chants, then tossed into the Ping River yesterday by demonstrators after they rallied at the US consulate in Chiang Mai, a farm group leader said.
This is a traditional northern Thai ceremony aimed at keeping his spirit down on the riverbed so he could not come and exploit our natural resources or suppress our (farming) brothers with his superior influence, Weerasak Wan-ubol, an executive of the Northern Farmers Alliance, said today.

Bush's 'spirit' cursed, tossed into Thai river - Sydney Morning Herald, 18th October 2003.

Slow news day

Tanzania: There mustn't be much going on at the moment, as the Sunday Observer has had to go out and ask a few people what they think of astrology to fill space. Having already dismissed those who think it superstious as extremists, Patrick Kisembo seeks out some more reasonable views:

Hashim Madege of Kunduchi-Mtongani doubted whether astrology was acceptable in religious circles. In his view, astrology was a form of devil worship.

He also noted that the problem is that the practice is much carried in towns and cities but not in the villages.

He said the practice was bad because it killed the creative spirit of the believers, who surrendered their whole lives to stars.

But what do the astrologers think?

A popular astrologer, Sheikh Yahya Hussein, was reluctant to comment much on the subject when contacted by this reporter, arguing that it was an old debate dating back to the 1960s.

On why predictions differed from one astrology to another, he said that Those (other astrologers) are small kids with whom it was beneath his integrity to enter into an argument.

Astrology is controversialSunday Observer, 19th October 2003.

October 18, 2003

Happy Birthday Charlie

Charlie is prone to saying things like this:

It's a good thing I'm an atheist. If I believed in the same God as -- say -- Pat Robertson, I'd have to donate my soul to Satan with no strings attached. [rec.arts.sf.written, 29th June 1999]

But what if he already has? According to Believer's Web, escapism through thrill- seeking ,science fiction, soap operas, or some other addicting hobby/activity is an open door to demon oppression. Alas, they go into no further detail than this. Looking elsewhere, Millennium Madness by E. L. Bynum, a Baptist perspective on Heaven's Gate, warns us Science Fiction Is Dangerous:

I have read some science fiction, and I have watched a little of the science fiction movies that have been on television. I believe that the Lord impressed upon me that this is Satanic. I refuse to read it, or watch it. I heard a conservative movie critic on radio, telling about the movie, Return of the Jedi. He thought the Star Wars movies were great, along with some of the other science fiction movies. He thought they were fine for children. He is an interesting man, but he is an unsaved Jew. I would warn parents to keep this stuff out of your home, and out of the minds of your children. Many, if not all, of the "Heaven's Gate" cult were believers in UFO's, flying saucers, etc. According to Newsweek, they loved the Star Trek movies. On March 3, just a few days before the mass suicide, the cult members went to see "Star Wars." Later they watched the sequels.

But it's still short on the details. Then Great God Ministries came to the rescue with an article Will Aliens Invade the Earth? In it we learn that Satan is trying to convince people that extraterrestrial life exists and is conspiring to destroy mankind and takeover the earth:

Our children are also being subjected to mind-conditioning from an early age. Cartoons, which used to emphasize merely competition and violence in a "friendly" way, have now given way to an almost constant barrage of space invaders. Computer and video games are filled with the same violent extraterrestrials, as are comic books. Children, fascinated with science fiction and futurism, are a ready and willing audience and a high-profit target for purveyors of such satanic mind-conditioning. Parents beware!

And why would Satan do this?

Jesus Christ, the Messiah, with His armies (Revelation 19:11-16) will be seen as an alien force come to destroy the earth and its inhabitants. The nations of the earth, having planned to fight each other, will unite to oppose Christ and His heavenly host, the true inhabitants and possessors of the heavens and the earth.

So there we have it. The Fundies have spoken—Charlie, you're doomed, unless you join their protection racket.

October 15, 2003

More on Jomanda

The Netherlands: Jomanda, the Dutch witch mentioned by Dick Advocaat has her own website, including a biography in English.

At home and abroad Jomanda has meanwhile successfully familiarized people with her method of working during the Healing Service sessions. The cause of disease or ailment may be traced through the medium of Jomanda. Her deceased father is her guide and the intermediary as well for so-called spiritual doctors who can use her as a channel/medium to cure diseases of the body and the mind. Everyone can and may receive the help from the Divine world that is possible for him or her at that moment. But there is always help for everyone who sincerely asks for it and exacts nothing. This can be done by means of Jomanda's hands, voice or entire physical radiation. Healing also take place by means of so-called spiritual operations; directly during the sessions or indirectly e.g. at home and her radio and/or TV programs.

She also publishes a full-colour, 36-page magazine Vrijheid (Freedom) which promises From the medical to alternatives, regular columns from familiar names and the less well-known (my translation -YMMV). Four issues will cost you a mere €22, but she hasn't got online ordering sussed yet, and you need to print out a form and send it to her!

It's only a game.

Ghana: Witchcraft has a strong presence in Ghanain football, according to a former head coach of Okwawu United, who provides lots of in-depth information about local beliefs:

Their powers range from washing the Football Jerseys in spiritual waters and offering prayers to the gods. They produce special concoctions for the players to sprinkle on themselves and to be used on the field of play. They produce powders that on the blast of the first whistle from the Referee are ceremoniously thrown into the air by a player or one of the coaches or official of the club. Objects are provided for the Goalkeeper to place within his defending goal and more noticeable the players are given handkerchiefs which are normally placed around the wrist of every player.

As an example, he described the various superstitions observed by the teams in the recent LG Top Four tournament, involving Ghana's top teams.

Accra Hearts of Oak in their home game against Kumasi Asante Kotoko spent no less than one hour prior to the kick-off in full view of waiting spectators performing a variety of rituals. Concoctions and powder along with other items were disposed of on the field of play. Incessant chanting by the players at the half-way line and every corner flag of the field as well as within the goal post were all designed to ensure victory. The game after 90 minutes actually ended goal less!

As a coach, he's rather fed up with this complete lack of faith in his abilities. Is there football after Juju? The Ghanaian experience. - GhanaWeb, 15th October 2003.

October 14, 2003

The Gospel according to Homer

A Scottish minister is so desperate for congregants that he is basing a series of sermons on episodes of The Simpsons:

Religious leaders believe the adventures of balding family man Homer, whose catchphrase is doh, are a great way to explore moral and religious dilemmas.
A Church of Scotland spokesman said: This seems like a wonderful idea.

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS DOH! - Daily Record, 14th October 2003.

October 2, 2003

Quote of the Day

This is from a Christian review of a single (probably New Age) book, at the far fringes of the Green movement:

Greens hate progress if it means a better life for everyone on Earth. The Greens worship Gaia, the pagan Earth goddess, not the universal God of mankind.

On the basis of this, it's presumably okay to assert that all Christians are barking mad lunatics, and not just the barking mad lunatic ones. The Green Enemies of Progress - CNS News, 2nd October 2003.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Superstition and Other Silliness category from October 2003.

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