Baptists, Baptists everywhere: 8-25-09
Lutherans move ahead: 8-27-09

The role of religious art: 8-26-09


I want to go back into history again today -- as I sometimes do, especially in the summer -- to give me an excuse to talk a bit about religious art.

It was on this date in 1498 that Pope Alexander VI commissioned Michelangelo to carve the Pieta, the marble sculpture that shows Mary mourning over the body of Jesus that she holds on her lap.

Pieta means pity, and I've long thought that Michelangelo captured a sense of resigned bereavement in Mary's face as well as the seeming finality of death in Jesus' body. This achievement is especially remarkable considering that when the pope commissioned the work, Michelangelo was only 22 years old. More proof that sometimes genius is no respecter of age or experience.

The Pieta says things to the viewer that words simply cannot convey. And in that way it represents the importance of art in general and religious art in particular.

Religious art is a reminder of the limits of language. Many people insist on particular wording of beliefs and on the literal truth of words in sacred writings, even though all words are metaphors, pointing to a reality beyond themselves. Art gives us a nudge to remind us of that because art shows that not everything can be contained within the ability of words to describe it.

In the Christian tradition, the sermon is a left-brained way of preaching the gospel, while the sacrament of Holy Communion is a right-brained way of preaching the same gospel. That's because the sacrament relies not just on words but also on the taste, touch and feel of the elements of bread and wine. And those become sacramental because they point to a truth beyond themselves.

So thanks today to that old pope and, mostly, to Michelangelo.

* * *


If Bernie Madoff really has cancer, is it God's punishment? Well, it's no suprise to me that my friend Rabbi Brad Hirschfield says no. At least probably not, given how little the human mind can understand about the divine.


Will Graham

Well, Igor did not post the address of the church until 6:44; at least according to the time displayed on the post last nite...however, when I did check at that time it was not on the board.

As you all know, posts often do not display at the stated time.


We clearly said in posts on August 24, 7:37 P.M. and on August 25 at 7:15 a.m. yesterday morning) that if he wanted us all to show we had to have more time...we can't have people on standby for something that may never show or may not show up on time.

WE told him we would not play the James Bond game, and offered a solution.

He chose to turn it down.

So he can whine about it if he wants, but he had his chance.

Will Graham

Bill, I assume you think God never punishes.

Thats a comforting thought to many, but also disturbing; it means that NO MATTER WHAT any human being does to others they will never be ultimiately accountable.

That is why I am convinced that atheism is an anti human death dealing philosophy that removes all restraint on human action...ant that is why atheism always sides with death dealing, whether it is abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, or other forms of murder.

Oh, it is always masked with some kind of exuse that death is really the "best thing" for the VICTIM, when the REALILTY...which atheism claim to worship but doesn' that it is usually the best thing for the PERPETRATOR.

It is one reason why we have a planet rigged with systems that can eliminate human life and poison the earth, to all intents and purposes, forever.

That is why a third of all mothers think CHOICE is a superior value to LIFE.

And yet those who protest this are ridiculed as nutcases.

Will Graham

Richard Dawkins wants criticism of evolution to be illegal.

He wants our kids.

Of course, in his Delusional Book, he has already called teaching religion to children child abuse; and you know what they can do in Kansas with child abusers...the can lock them up INDEFINITELY.

I hope atheists are fools enough to think that believers will submit to this without...

Will Graham

Amusing article on Atheist Trolls.

Now, remember, we are just joking around. You know, like Cole and Igor are just joking around.


Will Graham wrote>>>>>>Well, Igor did not post the address of the church until 6:44; at least according to the time displayed on the post last nite...however, when I did check at that time it was not on the board.

Did you check at as I said it will be posted there too? If you did not, it's your problem. Christian trolls need to get a better reading comprehension. Also, if you had sent an e-mail to you would have received an e-mail at 6:45 like jeremy7 and jdmahurin did.

JD showed up at the Bible study last night and we had a great conversation during the Bible study with the 3 Lutherans and after in the same room and then in the lobby of the church and outside - these are the most interesting conversations to me as they are not constrained by the format of the study. We left the church at 10:10-10:15 or so. So, was good times.

Below is what jeremy7 wrote who of course "never" showed up. It appears there is a pattern with our blog grown Christian trolls - they're all talk and no cattle. Only in the delusional mind of a person something like this can be concocted - he called the church, the answering machine came on - he concludes the building is closed. The building is closed? - how does he know it? - by calling the church? What a travesty of human mind and delusions abound in the mind of this Christian troll. He is now permanently "slaughtered" - I told him to crawl under a rock and die already - he is permantnetly blocked on my e-mail to never hear from him again.

Jeremy whoever
dateTue, Aug 25, 2009 at 7:30 PM
subjectRe: from IGGY - new Bible Study Tuesday 7:30 p.m.

I didn't fall for your bulls.... I called the church, their answering machines are up. The building is closed.
Your attempt to get us to drive all the way across the metro has failed, fool.

Dolores Lear

"The Pieta says things to the viewer that words simply cannot convey. And in that way it represents the importance of art in general and religious art in particular. -
Art gives us a nudge to remind us of that because art shows that not everything can be contained within the ability of words to describe it."

Does the Pieta statue reveal that Mary is the Mother of God? Why is Mary not in the Godhead or at least Equal to Jesus? When Jesus was made God by Humans in 300, the Past Trinity Religions in Three Persons, was changed to a new Godhead.

All art work tells many different stories about something in the past. We do not know if Mary held Jesus' body after Death, but it makes an interesting statue. The Pieta statue was made 1500 years after Jesus went up into Space, Alive; and 1300 years after he was made God.

Bill has posted how many different paintings one church has of Jesus. Does art influence how believers see, and accept Jesus as God?

Since the Planet again has High Tech Science, it can explain the 'super'natural power of the Gods, Goddesses and Angels of Religions, that were in our Human Image, except Cherub Angels. God does not make Children. Cherubs are part of our past Human art.

High tech Can Prove to all Humans with supernatural Gods, or Atheist, that the Religious Supernatural Gods of Planet Earth, were our High Tech Peace Ancestors from Space, or the Killer Noah/Atlantis Society like our High Tech Society today.

At least a High Tech Translation of Religion and Myth should be used to Prove High Tech was on Planet Earth 'in the beginning' and during the Noah/Atlantis Society before the Planetary Flood, and a Changed Eartha Top Strata.

All this High Tech Past 'supernatural' information is in All Scripture and Myth.

Lynne -

Followed the link "Did God Give Bernie Madoff Cancer?" I like the last line "we should all take note of the fact that how we interpret these events tells us more about ourselves -- our need for vengeance, understanding of justice and the place of compassion in our lives, than it does about either Bernie Madoff or God."
Will, that link is NOT to something Dawkins said but an article about someone else's interpretation of what Dawkins said, which for all I know could be inaccurate. There is a link there but it's broken. I won't comment until I read what Dawkins actually wrote, not something someone else claimed that he wrote.


Bill, thanks for the reference to the blog about Madoff.

I found this from the blog interesting - Ultimately, we can choose to ascribe all things to God. But if we do, then we need to let go of the claim that God's logic makes sense to us.

What???????????????????????????????? God's logic makes no sense? Even if we "attribute" just "some" things to god? Surely, there is "free will" out there but the rest of it is either filled with "god's will" or "satan's will" or "no divine will at all" if the Creator is not there but is fishing in Canada with his buddies - other gods.

I understand that the author is conducting a mental experiment and not attempting to second guess god's will. But as a "rational individual" I hope his second installment will be on "what if the space alien is not there?" - he doesn't seem to include this as a possiblity.

Maybe you can e-mail him and let him know?


The Bible Study at Bethany Lutheran last night was different... They really did not discuss Joshua from a historical or Biblical perspective but from a "new" direction - they would "condense" the chapters to 1 phrase (10 words or less) as it it was "Cliff Notes." The moral of the story was supposed to be drawn from it and we all shared about what it meant to us personally.

Cole asked why this was the format and we were told they'd like to actually "simplify" the textual analysis to something more digestible and approachable.

When we were talking about "relating" our personal lives to the passages in Joshua (21 and 22) I was stuck a bit by "detachment" of the Lutherans from "emotional" aspect of "relationship" with god. When we visited other Bible studies - especially in Evangelical churches - you see "tension" of the religious folks, you see "fire and brim stone" in their eyes. These folks were much more analytical, concentrated on the text.

adam harrison

KCF, as was pointed out in posts dated August 24 at 7:37 p.m and August 25 7:15 p.m. we said we would not show up if you did not give us advance notice. 45 MINUTES is NOT advance notice.

And I checked the link you had cited at about 7:00 and all I got was "page can not be displayed".

Further, I received no e mail although I requested it.

And I don't care what "Jeremy" may have posted; in fact, I think you are making that e mail up.

Regardless, we offered you a choice as per the posts above.

You rejected it.

So you have nothing to whine about

You are just going to have to learn that you can not make up arbitrary rules that we have to follow. Get that through your head.

And who the heck is "JD"? Never heard of him.

adam harrison

By the way, Bill, since this is a moderated blog it is apparently your choice to put up posts where someone is told to die.

Some might see you as bearing some responsibility in that regard.

adam harrison

I checked with the Master himself. He did not receive an e mail either, and we all know Iggy has that, as well as the number of his office, his parents, his employees, and just about everyone else he knows! Hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Will, is fear of punishment seriously the only "inner control" you have to help you make the right choices?

I don't want to steal because it takes away from someone else, and even if it was something I desparately wanted but had no other way of obtaining, I wouldn't steal it because I couldn't enjoy it, knowing as I'd know that it wasn't really mine.

Of course, that's because I live in a culture where I've learned that respect for private property is essential for trust to flourish and for people to get along. There are some cultures that have no concept of private property -- i.e. I think some indigenous people see property as belonging to the group. Whoever needs the item is free to use it. It works well for them, but can be a bit of a shock to a newcomer, to suddenly find that their bags have been opened and all their stuff is being rifled through.:)

And the reason I don't want to harm or kill others is because of the suffering it causes. Since I've had the opportunity to learn how much fun happiness is, and how when you make others happy they want to make you happy, it just makes sense to strive to spread happiness not pain.

I guess you could say there are natural consequences for spreading pain -- natural consequences are not exactly the same as punishment from God, but maybe it feels the same. If someone's putting out meanness and hatefulness, that's what they're usually going to see/feel coming right back at them. Kind of like the poor Phelps kids, taking the brunt of society's backlash against their family.

But for me, it's not the fear of getting meanness back that makes me want to be nice. I just really enjoy being nice and spreading happiness where I can. It's fun.

So, Iggy, Jeremy says he didn't fall for your bulls -- but he says nothing about his feelings for your cows ... I'd lock up the farm if I were you. :)


"Bill, I assume you think God never punishes.Thats a comforting thought to many, but also disturbing; it means that NO MATTER WHAT any human being does to others they will never be ultimiately accountable."

It should be no comfort to anyone to believe that human beings will ultimately be held accountable for their actions. After all, every single person who has ever lived deserves nothing but death. All have sinned. All are unworthy to stand before God based on their own actions or "goodness." As Jesus taught us, there is no difference in God's eyes between a murderer and a person who hates his neighbor. Both are sinners. Both deserve nothing from God. No one is good enough. No one is good, not one.

In regard to Bernie Madoff's cancer, it most definitely is not a punishment from God. All bad things which happen to people are the result of the world's sinful, fallen state. Christians know that all good things come from God; all bad things are the result of sin in the world.

Dolores Lear

"It (belief that God does not punish) is one reason why we have a planet rigged with systems that can eliminate human life and poison the earth"

Misbred Defective Genetic and Physical Humans with Belief in God, and Atheists, Polluted our Home Planet and put Nuclear Bombs on land and sea.

Body Birth Humans with God Religions, does not make them Peace Keepers or Caretakers of Life. No One has any control over who their Parents are and the Environment where they were born.

Bring up a Child in the Way they should go and when they are grown they will not depart from it. All Humans are a result of their birth and environment, that was taught as a Child?

'God' in our Human Image, Reproduced Peace Humans in Purebred Bodies Supernaturally by High Tech Science, in their Male and Female Clone Image.

Ever since, Clone Humans Reproduced in Sin. Many Religions and Governments divided Humans on Planet Earth.
Psalm 51:5. KJV. "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

In Jesus' Male Celibate Movement, this was taught to the Males. 1John 3:9. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

The population of Earth went from 1 Billion to 7 Billion, in 100 years, because Males did not keep their seed in them. Even with many Males as Monks and Priests not reproducing.

Whatsoever a Male sows, that also shall they reap. Religious Humans or Atheists. The Snake/Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth.

Will, how can you blame our Dying Planet on the Atheists? Who does have the End Times Power Rule over Planet Earth today? God, Satan, Atheists, or Christian America?

JD, it was a pleasure to meet you last night at our Lutheran bible study.

He was a little late and apologized for this. He was polite and added intelligently to the conversation. Even though I feel he has been ‘mislead’ about his belief, I like him.

Joshua was the topic. Verses 20 and 21 I believe. All the dividing of a kingdom. God chooses violence instead of peace. Where will it ever stop?

The leader said they were synopsizing the verses to make it simpler for their students. One sentence for many sentences. His, their, two other Lutherana, interpretation of the verses. Condensing seems the way Xianity is moving. Leave out all the gory images and show how loving and fair god is-

Iggy was right to say people are getting smarter so you have to have more proof. This is why the nonreligious is growing and the religious in America is shrinking.

It was fun to see how much we had in common with JD. He means well, I think.

JD, Iggy and I agreed on abortions. Conversation skipped around the topic of Joshua. (This was more like an atheist meetup. People were talking. And laughing. This was a different kind of bible study}. If we are to have less abortions, what do we do? I think education and spend more time with science.

I am not a scientist, nor am I very smart about sciences. I am learning more everyday about it. I know enough to want to promote this philosophy. I want children to spend more time with this.

I asked if it is better if Xs studied the bible more or less. The leader said more, I believe, his expression indicated this. Now, would it be better if we spend more time on science or less - to live longer?

We can wait a little longer to get to Heaven I said. Mixed conversation after that. I’m getting older so I don’t remember as much of busy conversation as I use to. Perhaps Iggy and JD can comment on this. Continued:

Bottom line, (with all the polite debate, and it was polite), the Xs believed, because they believed. It was faith. I said I have faith in humans, so what does that mean?

So am I as guilty with faith as Xs? I believe because I believe?

I suppose. Yet I can’t help being egotistical to say I believe in the real, natural world, not the supernatural. Then here, we go back around the circle. A doggie chasing his tale.

Am I as guilty – chasing my tail? Even though most of my family is X and I know a lot of Xs, and like many, I have to be arrogant and say I am hardwired differently. I have to live in the natural world.

For me it all comes down to: What are you going to do with your belief?

To be a fair society, we must be fair to all. No matter race, gender, beliefs, gay or not, religious or not. That is what secular is all about. If you are teaching your children, that others are wrong, sinners, because of your so-called loving god, then there is something really wrong in our society.

Bill is trying for peace with his blog. I want peace. Think what you want but don’t inflict your thoughts upon some one else.

Accusing me of inflicting my thoughts upon others is like what Lynne said a long time ago. “Reverse racism.” I’m racist because I am against bigotry? Get real.

Anyway, thanks Iggy and JD, and the others who probably are not reading this blog, for a fun night.

There is always something to learn if we get out of our own little box. Amen

PS There was a lot more said at the bible study and afterwards than I mentioned. Perhaps Iggy and JD can give their views. Perhaps it will jog my memory and I’ll join in later with some more enlightening input…

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole

adam harrison

Susan, you say you enjoy being nice. "Its fun."

And what about those like your buddies you enjoy insulting and ridiculing?

Are they having fun, too?


I am JD. I posted for a while back a couple of months ago but was discouraged by the lack of discourse and the amount of disrespect on the board - from both sides. I continued to follow along though and did attend last night. It was an interesting evening and Iggy and I actually spoke again this morning on the phone. JeremyNYC did receive and email - the same one I received - but I have no idea who he is. Susan, wish you could have been there. You likely would have enjoyed it as well.

JD, I would like to talk with you again. Is it okay to call you? You can email me your response if like:

Adam said, ? Susan, you say you enjoy being nice. "Its fun."
And what about those like your buddies you enjoy insulting and ridiculing?
Are they having fun, too?”

Yes I am, Adam. I like watching how people react and think. You can only be insulted and ridiculed if you allow yourself to be-

You appear to be insecure. Research shows, the more people are offended, the more likely they are insecure in their thinking.

Will said, “Richard Dawkins wants criticism of evolution to be illegal.”

Lets teach Mythra to be real. How about Zeus? Xs can’t prove these don’t exist. The proof is on those who say their believe is real.

It all comes down to: you simply want to believe because you need it. I wonder if people will ever be able to entirely get over superstition and stand on their own. Then again, what would be blogging about…?

This is interesting on rational thinking. How we think. How much do you really know about your belief?

"People get deeply attached to their beliefs," Hoffman said. "We form emotional attachments that get wrapped up in our personal identity and sense of morality, irrespective of the facts of the matter."

The links at the bottom of this article are fun, too.
0. Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind
0. Why Aren't People Smarter?
0. Majority of Americans Believe Health Care Reform 'Myths'

Full article below:

Health Care Debate Based on Lack of Logic

Peace For the sake of Goodness Cole

adam harrison

JD, your statement that "I am JD" is certainly solid proof of what you claim! LOL! Sure tells us a lot! (chuckle)

And you spoke to Iggy again this morning? For all I know you are another of his sockpuppets.

And how do you know what e mail Jeremy recieved if you don't know who he is?


We offered to show but made it clear we were not willing to play the "45 minutes notice" game.

It was Iggys choice to reject our offer and so be it.


Christian troll wrote>>>>>>>I checked with the Master himself. He did not receive an e mail either, and we all know Iggy has that, as well as the number of his office, his parents, his employees, and just about everyone else he knows!Hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did the Master Debater and Glorious Leader James Christensen request information on the Bible study by e-mail? - like and jdmahurin did? - no, he did not. Did adamh/Will Graham request information "under" their names? - no they did not. If they claim they did, which e-mail address did they use- can they produce an e-mail to requesting the info? On the contrary Will Graham/Adamh have touted the e-mail address of as the contact e-mail address for them - and Jeremy7 requested it - they got it there. Not my problem the "trolls" could not figure out a ride. Apparently, the Master Debater did not help them either and neither did anyone else.

The page at was up at 6:45 p.m. - I saved it and checked at that time and left for the church - the page was up - what happened later - only god knows.

It seems the Christian trolls "always" want special treatment - the rules are the same - even for the Master Debater and Glorious leader to say nothing of pinions like adamh/Will Graham.

HYPOTHESIS - THE CHRISTIAN TROLLS WILL NOT SHOW UP FOR ANY BIBLE STUDIES WITH ATHEISTS EVER. If they do or one of them does, it will be a "pleasant" suprise.

They walk like chicken, they talk like chicken, they taste like chicken and Hannibal Lector assures us their brains taste like chicken...

Oh, well, there is always another Bible Study next week. We are thinking about adding these Bible Studies to our freethinking calendar so any atheist/agnostic can come out to the Study and participate. There will be "continuity" of rational and freethinking presense at the Study regardless of who comes - can be 1 person can be 3-4 like at some studies we go to already. The Christians at the Bible study will have a few of us there all the time and some good discussions will come up. We'll keep the calendar uptodate every week - 2-3 bible studies a week in different parts of town would just do.


Cole -
You can call me if you want...I certainly ejoyed speaking with Iggy this morning and really appreciated the exchange last night. I was glad I met the two of you and got to hear some of your though processes. My mobile number is 816 529-5154.
As for one thing you mentioned in an earlier post - I think you are correct in saying we should not be so easily offended. That is a thought I share often with what I call "religious" people. I identify as a Christian and define that as being a follower of the example I believe Christ gave. That being said, however, you can feel insulted (I think offended might be a stretch) without being insecure in your faith. For example - the Bible often refers to our relationship with God as a parent/child analogy. So if someone were to say crude or derogatory things about one of your parents (assuming you have/had a good relationship with them) you would likely take offense. My stand is no different. I would no more expect to be insulted than I would dare insult another's beliefs.

Adam - you can call the same number to verify who I am. I know that Jeremy received the same email simply because his address was in the same recipients line as mine. I don't know how to "prove" I exist to you but you are welcome to call.

adam harrison

Like I said, Iggy, we would be glad to come to your bible studies but we have to have a location a day ahead of time, considering transportation issues and all.

If you won't give us fair notice, but insist on a "45 minute warning" then you are right, we never will show up.

And since you persist in refusing to give us reasonable notice, it is clear you don't want us to show.

And the Master Debater did in fact request the info.

You are lying again, sport.


JD, it's great to hear from you again! I hope you give posting here another chance. I'm sorry I missed the Bible Study -- I don't get out so much to activities that aren't kid-friendly.

But I will say that my family found the kcfreethinkers movie-night we attended a couple of weeks ago pretty kid-friendly. Our 4yo kept busy on a quilt on the floor with toys and playdough, while our 9yo enjoyed watching the movie (the new "Day the Earth Stood Still") and joined in with the discussion a bit, too. So we will probably be going to the next movie-night, too.

adamh, it looks like Cole already answered the question you wanted me to answer for him. I think I'll leave it up to everyone else to answer for themselves, too. Also, when I said it's fun to be nice, I didn't mean to give the impression that I never enjoy debate -- and sometimes too much focus on "niceness" in debates gets in the way of honesty. Honesty is also very important to me, which I'm sure is obvious to any thinking individual who reads this blog.

I've been thinking more about Will's assertion that we need fear of punishment to be motivated to lead moral lives. This seems tied to some thoughts I've been having lately about the evolution of human sexual standards. (Continued)

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