Whatever: July 2003 Archives

July 15, 2003

The Goddess Diana

David Aaronovitch has a go at the Reverend Angela Tilby in today's Grauniad who, he feels, abused her spot on Thought For The Day to launch an unprovoked attack on paganism:

You can say what you like about pagans, but just try bad-mouthing one of the monotheisms in this way, and see what happens. This is partly because most of us unthinkingly subscribe to the Whig Theory of Religious Development, in which (to quote the Catholic Encyclopaedia) religions developed upwards from totemism, animism, solar or astral myth, and nature worship, via zoolatry and polytheism, eventually to reach the enlightened and civilised state of monotheism. So we begin with millions of spirits, sprites and demons and advance, inexorably, whittling as we go, until we have just one omnipotent deity. Then along comes Richard Dawkins and tries to reduce that figure still further.
But actually the informal beatification of Diana is no more pagan than, say, the beatification of Padre Pio (the stigmata'ed priest made St Pio of Pietralcina just last year), or any of the other canonisations of the Catholic church. Catholics try, rather unconvincingly, to show how conferring sainthood is different in principle to the pagan apotheosis (the process that made Claudius, for instance, into a God), but the distinction doesn't quite wash. Yet Tilby did not use Catholicism as her point of criticism.

After noting that monotheism is anti-pluralistic, and contributes to intolerance, he concludes:

Actually, it is all about sex. Pagan religions tend to be about a respect for, and a connection with, nature. So, as the Catholic Encyclopaedia notes, it was in the pagan fertility cults associated with the dying and rising god that the worst perversions existed. Old Ishtar, Cybele (later Artemis, later Diana) and Astarte all had their temple whores, and their lewd rites.
Lewd rites: that's exactly what I'd like more of on Thought For The Day. And less Angela Tilby.

Why Diana is as good a god as any - The Guardian, 15th July 2003.

July 8, 2003

Urban legend causing hassle for neighbours

United States: A house in California, mistakenly believed to be the site of four murders is attracting some strange trespassers:

Cross has seen everything from people holding candles and circling the house in black robes, to a man shooting heroin in the front yard, to gang violence. Her 10-year-old son was physically threatened once after asking visitors to leave.
In the past year they've gotten more destructive. Lately they're more intent on breaking things up, Cross said. They have total disregard for anybody else's privacy.
Cross said 90 percent of the trespassers are just kids that are curious, but said there is no way for her family to know which 90 percent that is.
The tone has changed. The new writing on the walls is more evil, said Tyra Stevens, practice manager of the Equine Hospital.

Urban legend turns vacant house into teen party palace - San Bernadino County Sun, 6th July 2003.

July 5, 2003

Well-known unbelievers

The Celebrity Atheist List is an offbeat collection of notable individuals who have been public about their lack of belief in deities, and makes interesting reading. The site's Message Board is much more entertaining though, as various superstitious types have moved in to take pot-shots. For example, Joe feels that it is an appropriate forum to announce Christians parents beware. The problem, it seems, is his friend's daughter:

My friend's 16 year old daughter has turned to atheism after this school year. She said that this year in high school her daughter started questioning God after she learned alot about science. And now she's an atheist. Christian parents need to be concerned with this. Satan is now in our schools. I have already been sending my 5 kids to a private Christian school and I advise all saved parents to do the same.

All of which led me to this amusing little site.

God hates fags? No, god hates christians. Jesus was the biggest fag of them all! Jesus was gay. Also, Jesus was black.

July 4, 2003

Be careful what you ask for

United States: A preacher in Forest, Ohio, got exactly what he asked for when he asked God for a sign during a service. Damage estimated at $20,000 was caused when the church was hit by lightning:

[Ronnie] Cheney said the lightning traveled through the microphone, blew out the sound system and enveloped the preacher, who wasn't hurt.
Afterward, services resumed for about 20 minutes until the congregation realized the church was on fire. The building was evacuated.

Lightning Strikes Preacher Who Asked For Sign - Associated Press (via local6.com), 3rd July 2003.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Whatever category from July 2003.

Whatever: June 2003 is the previous archive.

Whatever: August 2003 is the next archive.

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