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Posts Tagged ‘morals’

A few days back, Andrew Brown at the Grauniad posted a little article under the unpromising heading, "Scepticism gets you only so far. Even nonbelievers need to have faith."

Yes, I can already hear the groans and mutterings of "Oh no, not that old saw again" from the back row. And yes, Gentle Reader, it is that old saw again.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't try to imply that Mr Brown is some kind of fundamentalist loon, convinced that the Bible is literally true in every jot and tittle, that The Evil Gay Illuminati™ are to blame for everything from a stubbed toe to an earthquake, and that Adam and Eve spent their evenings joyriding on Spiky, their pet triceratops. On the contrary, he's a warm, liberal, fair-minded, intelligent man, who can definitely sling a pleasingly well-formed sentence together; and what's more, usually—on any topic but the one in hand—manages to construct an argument free of fallacies or fuzzy thinking. On most topics, even if I disagree with him, I usually find that, as it were, we're travelling in the same direction and merely disagreeing over the route. But, like many religious people, straddling the whole spectrum from whacko fundy to whatever the complete absence of whacko-fundiness is called, he seems to struggle somewhat with the idea that atheists don't have a "god-shaped hole" in their minds, which just has to be filled with some sort of spirituality.

That atheists, to put it another way, are actually atheists.

So, anyway, the article in question…

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From Petrograd to Quito, from Yonkers to Siam,
The old man in his bath-chair, the baby in her pram,
I'll let the people know and make them understand
What a mercy-filled and loving, caring deity I am.

First I'll damn 'em all to Hell for things they never done,
Hold that rifle to their heads awhile, then uncock the gun.
When I'm sure they know that there's no place to hide or run;
I'll show 'em I'm a loving god, by torturing my son.

Through pain and gushing blood my divinity will shine;
A beacon to the people, to let 'em know they're mine
To do with as it pleases me, but that I'm of a mind
That should they pray to me alone, I'll forgive 'em for my crimes.

Daz

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Do You Want Fries With That?

I decided to keep count for a month. Of what? you ask. Of this, seen online in various fora:

Forty six instances of 'Do you want fries with that?'

Twenty five jibes about wait-staff. Not instances of particular wait-staff doing anything wrong; just intimations that such people as a class are unintelligent, relatively worthless, unimportant.

Seventeen references to retail workers as 'plebs' and suchlike. Ditto.

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[Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.]

Permit me, oh gentlest of readers, to emit a small yeehaw. If pushed, I might even manage a mini-hallelujah. And definitely a large and stentorian ramen!

I reached the end of that horrible book! This, below, is the final instalment of Bible Defense Of Slavery!

There's still work to be done. When Rustiguzzi, may his bike remain forever upright, catches up with my sudden burst of productivity, there'll be errata to, erm, un-errat. The formatting for the blog version was kind of rough-and-ready; I'll be spending some time tweaking that into something I'd be proud—or at least unashamed—to let the world see, before converting to e-book formats. There's some artwork to apply (a cover-image, and a cleaned up version of the frontispiece), which is currently in Fojap's capable hands.

But the hard slog is done and dusted, may FSM be thanked!

So, okay, the content below…

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The Heavenly Firewall

You ask me how I know my wrong from right,
Without a godly heaven-proffered moralistic guide?
What stops me robbing people, causing fights,
Why don't I murder, lacking God and Jesus at my side?

Well my friend I surely hope you keep your faith in God,
For if all that stops you pillaging is Biblical instruction,
I wouldn't want to be there if you lost your staff and rod,
If they are all that hold you back from violent eruption.

Your questions tell me much of you, more than they ask of me.
They tell me what you think you'd do, if you were only free
Of thoughts of hellish torture as punishment for crime.
That mote's in your eye, matey, not in mine.
Daz

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

And so we come, Gentle Reader, to the publisher's addition to the sixth edition of Bible Defense Of Slavery. It takes a more political stand than the main body of the work, presumably because by the time this edition went to press, the topic of slavery itself, and various grudges against the northern states, had become even more hot button issues. Topics range from (obviously) slavery itself, and the allegedly highly benevolent treatment of slaves, to a proposal to forcibly settle freed slaves in Liberia or elsewhere. (Liberia had been a voluntary destination for some freed slaves since eighteen-twenty, when the American Colonization Society set up a colony there.) (Because, well, blacks are okay when in slavery, and there's 'mutual respect' an' all, but free blacks are economy-draining scum no self respecting white person would want to share a society with. This, possibly, is one of the earliest iterations of 'Send 'em all back…,' a staple of racist and xenophobic rhetoric ever since. There's even a hint of 'I'm not racist but…' about it, for good measure.)

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

And so we come, Gentle Reader, to sections Thirteen, Fourteen And Fifteen of the 1851 edition of Josiah Priest's Bible Defence Of Slavery. And we also reach the end of Priest's contribution to the work, though not the end of the book, which contains 'additions' in the form of a piece by the publisher and pamphlets from several other contributors. But this does seem to be a convenient place to pause and take stock.

Firstly, the easy bit. Some advice (which I touched on in a related piece yesterday) for anyone thinking of taking on a similar project.

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