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Even the Westboro Baptist Church wants the new iPhone, despite picketing Steve Jobs funeral
09.11.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Belief
Science/Tech

Tags:
Westboro Baptist Church
Apple


 
I tend to avoid writing anything about the Westboro Baptist Church, simply because they’re just not that funny anymore. The futile comedy of right-wing fringe always eventually wears thin, as hateful (yet largely impotent) antics eventually become repetitive and predictable. Sarah Palin said something vicious, yet totally ignorant? Of course she did. Glenn Beck deluded himself into another xenophobic conspiracy theory? Wow. Really?

Since the ole’ WBC has protested the funerals of everyone from dead marines to Matthew Shepard to Ronnie James Dio, it’s hard to imagine a context where they won’t rally, brandishing their trademark “God Hates Fags” signage in a grotesque, redundant performance. It’s ugly, but it’s a cliché, and an increasingly dull one.

However, recently the Westboro Baptist Church took a visit to New York City, and I’ll-be-damned-to-gay-hell if the kooks didn’t surprise me! The lovely folks at Animal New York reached out to them as they picketed…I dunno, cronuts or something, only to learn that the parishioners are avid Apple fans! (Perhaps they sensed the disinterest of famously unflappable New Yorkers—we often see weirder shit than the WBC in the freaking Financial District.) Cult leader Steve Drain, emailed Animal this ringing endorsement:
 

The iPhone 6 will allow us to preach to this sinful nation more effectively than the 5s! Bigger screen to see our signs more clearly—like ‘Repent or Perish’ or ‘Fag Marriage Dooms Nations’! More people will mock our using of the phone, citing (incorrectly) a hypocrisy in using a device designed and marketed by a man whose funeral we picketed for his idolatry, then atheism, and adultery (Steve Jobs). Which device do you think our ‘Why Did God Destroy Sodom?’ will display best on? iPhone6, Galaxy 5, or HTC? I bet the preaching will be effective, by God’s hand, as viewed in all of them—don’t you think?

 
Yeah, you read that right, but Grindr looks better on the new iPhone, too. Instead of picketing the Chelsea Apple Store with signs that say “iPhone 666,” or “Fag iPhone Enabler,” the Westboro Baptist Church has decided their use of this chic new tech will spread their unholy message—and they’ve come to this conclusion despite having protested Steve Jobs’ funeral in 2011. Incidentally, they announced their plans to do so over Twitter… on their iPhones. I know very few of us can presently escape the clutches of global capitalism and all, but isn’t there some biblical reference to a bad tree being unable to bear good fruit?

Then again, the Westboro Baptist Church has never been very big on fruits…
 

 ;
Via Animal New York

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Family Affair: Listen to nine-year-old Sly Stone sing gospel with his family & future bandmates
09.02.2014
09:14 am

Topics:
Belief
Music

Tags:
gospel
Sly Stone


 
Rarely does the phrase “children’s Christian rock” evoke anything more positive than a shudder, but Pentecostals often eschew the corniness pervasive to most modern religious music. Pentecostal gospel is the very stuff of rock ‘n’ roll, (hell, one of the churches my grandparents took me to had a Hammond B3 with a Leslie). It’s the sort of musical heritage that you can hear in the very bones of an artist like Sly Stone, whose religious family was encouraged by the church to worship in song.

In 1952, a family gospel group called The Stewart Four did a small, local release of their own 78, featuring “Walking in Jesus’ Name” (below), and “On the Battlefield,” which you can hear on Spotify. The group was made up of siblings Freddie Stewart (age 5), Rose Stewart (age 7), Vaetta (later “Vet”) Stewart (age 2) with little Sylvester Stewart, as always, leading them. (If you’re wondering how a two-year old could contribute to a band, I’ll mention that it’s not uncommon during Pentecostal services to just throw a baby onstage to dance or clap, especially during family performances.) Anyway, this is the family of the Family Stone, performing gospel—beautifully, I might add—as very young children. Sly is nine years old here, and it’s absolutely sublime.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Texas woman sees Jesus on moth’s wings; others see THE DEVIL
09.02.2014
08:42 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief

Tags:
Jesus
moths


 
Texas-based mother Yvonne Esquilin swears God was trying to send her message through the yellow and brown patterns on the wings of a large yellow and brown Imperial Moth that came to stay in her home for a few days.

“At first it looked like Jesus,” she said, “and I still think it looks like Jesus.”

Esquilin had been praying for a way to continue her daughter’s education, and believes that the timing of the moth’s appearance is significant. The family also discovered that the color yellow symbolises hope, and brown represents important news.

“I believe this was a sign,” she explained. “God is letting me know good news is coming and to keep the hope.”

Okay sure, whatever you say, lady. Keep the faith! Still other observers of the moth, which does appear to be emblazoned with an image of a man with long hair and a beard if you squint a bit, aren’t sure if it’s the Son o’ God or maybe it’s like an evil sorcerer or sumpthin’.

“People also saw an image of the Devil which is kind of creepy but after staring at it for so long it almost looks like it,” Ms. Esquilin said.

Hard to say what this mixed moth message means, isn’t it?


 
via Christian Nightmares and Christian Today

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Christianity is Stupid’: Negativland takes on religion in ‘It’s All In Your Head’
08.20.2014
02:20 pm

Topics:
Belief
Music

Tags:
Negativland


 
The other day I was pondering how I would explain the whole “Why are we here?” / “Is there a God?” concept to my (hypothetical at this point) child and discussing this with my wife who is about as religious as I am (i.e: not at all). When I was a kid, raised in a very Christian home in West Virginia, it was a pretty straight line between reading Thor comics, then Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes before I was already having my doubts about “church.” If the Norse gods, like the Greek gods, were all just myths, wasn’t the whole Judeo-Christian thang on a similarly shaky epistemological foundation? What’s the difference? I couldn’t see one. From a very young age, religion had no credibility with me, but I was lucky. Christianity ultimately had very little effect on me.

How to discourage an irrational belief in the bearded sky god without being too heavy-handed about it and causing the hypothetical kid to go in the other direction to rebel will be an interesting road to navigate. Then again maybe not. As everyone knows millennials have left their parents’ religion in droves. Nearly two-thirds of under 30s subscribe to no organized religion. At the current rate of attrition, by mid-century Christians may no longer even constitute the majority in America.

For all kinds of reasons, the movement away from religion has picked up some serious speed in the past few decades, with this in mind, I laughed out loud reading the press release for Negativland’s new album, It’s All In Your Head which describes the double CD set (packaged in an actual Holy Bible repurposed into a “found” art object, modified by hand) as being “millennia-in-development.”

It’s true if you think about it. They wouldn’t have been able to get away with something this cheeky in previous decades. In 2014, it’ll be a sought after collectible, of course. They wouldn’t have had the source material to work with, either. It’s All In Your Head provokes and entertains listeners with Negativland’s signature mix of found music, sounds, radio dialogue and original electronic noises, bleeps and boops fashioned into a musical essay that looks at “monotheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, neuroscience, suicide bombers, 9/11, colas, war, shaved chimps, and the all-important role played by the human brain in our beliefs.”

It’s monotheism, but it’s in stereo, putting me in mind of the Firesign Theatre crossed with Richard Dawkins crossed with Madlib. If that sentence is even halfway intelligible to you, the “trailer” for It’s All in Your Head, below, is required viewing, freak.

It’s All In Your Head comes out on October 28th, but if you preorder it, you’ll get it two weeks before that (I have one already and highly recommend it).
 

 
Bonus: “The Mashin’ of The Christ” music video:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Behold the miraculous Aphex Twin jerk sauce stain (available on eBay)
08.18.2014
06:34 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Music

Tags:
Aphex Twin
barbecue chicken
miracles


 
I’m an avowed atheist, but I have to admit, the recent discovery of a nearly perfect Aphex Twin logo in Jamaican jerk sauce on a plate in a London restaurant has me reconsidering my entire belief system.

The holy plate has popped up on eBay.uk and is available for £2.20 (as of this writing; about $3.67) from user “2014ukhines” (100% positive feedback in the last 12 months). There are five bids on the plate already.

Here is the description:
 

Mysterious and miraculous jerk sauce apparition.

I have no explanation.

Jerk chicken was from Yum Yum in Clapton, London.

 
Here is a picture of Yum Yum, the restaurant from which the sanctified jerk sauce emanated:
 

 
The infamous “Windowlicker” video, directed by Chris Cunningham:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Get your luxurious goth on with the skeleton sculptures of Rome
08.07.2014
06:34 am

Topics:
Art
Belief

Tags:
sculpture
Catholicism
Rome
skeleton
skulls


Sant’Agostino, memorial to Cardinal Giuseppe Ranato Imperiali, by Paolo Posi (design) and Pietro Bracci (statuary), 1741
 
There’s a romance to Catholicism that I envied growing up—services attended with Protestant grandparents provided none of the splashy aesthetics Catholicism is so famous for. We certainly weren’t graced with sculptures of super-vigorous skeletons—specifically, skeletons that aren’t letting their lack of skin and organs prevent them from leading active, productive afterlives. Skeletons with joie de décès, if you will.

These Roman skeleton sculptures (documented by Catholic death ritual hobbyist, Elizabeth Harper) exhibit an expressiveness not expected from bones of stone. Harper’s subjects hoist the doors to their own tombs, brandish banners and portraits, and even genuflect before the dead. Congregants are reminded of their own mortality, but the morbid stigma of the skeleton is eclipsed by the dynamic, lush beauty of the sculptures.
 

Gesù e Maria, memorial to Camillo del Corno by Domenico Guidi, 1682
 

San Francesco d’Assisi a Ripa Grande, memorial to Maria Camilla and Giovanni Battista Rospigliosi, skeleton by Michele Garofolino, 1713
 

San Pietro in Montorio: Detail of the relief carved on the tomb of Girolamo Raimondi by Niccolo Sale, chapel designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1640
 

San Pietro in Vincoli, memorial to Cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini by Carlo Bizzaccheri, died 1610
 

San Pietro in Vincoli, memorial to Cardinal Mariano Pietro Vecchiarelli, died 1639
 

Sant’Eustachio, memorial to Silvio Cavallieri, 1717
 

Santa Maria del Popolo, tomb of Giovanni Battista Gisleni, made for himself prior to his death in 1672
 

Santa Maria del Popolo, tomb of Princess Maria Eleonora Boncompagni Ludovisi, died 1745
 

Detail of the façade of Santa Maria dell’Orazione e Morte, designed by Ferdinando Fuga, 1738. The inscription on the scroll reads, “Today me, tomorrow you.”
 

Façade of Santa Maria dell’Orazione e Morte, designed by Ferdinando Fuga, 1738
 

Santa Maria sopra Minerva, memorial to Carlo Emanuele Vizzani, by Domenico Guidi, 1661
 
Via Atlas Obscura

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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The Outsider: Colin Wilson’s Glass Cage
08.06.2014
02:01 pm

Topics:
Belief
Books
Thinkers

Tags:
Colin Wilson

colinwpospic.jpg
 
Colin Wilson, who died last December, produced a phenomenal number books during his lifetime. He wrote on such diverse subjects as criminality, the occult, philosophy, religion, the supernatural, biography and psychology. He also produced an impressive array of fiction ranging from the “Metaphysical Murder Mystery” to works of science fiction. In total over 150 books over almost sixty years of writing.

Yet, throughout all of this prolific output, Wilson developed his own unifying system of beliefs where (as understood by the central character in The Glass Cage):

...everything that happens is connected with everything else, so you have to try to get to the root of things to understand them, not just concentrate on minute particulars…

Colin Wilson was born in Leicester, England, in 1931. He left school at sixteen, taking up a variety of jobs, before marrying his first wife, becoming a father, separating, and then traveling around Europe. On return he developed the tentative idea for his first book The Outsider:

It struck me that I was in the position of so many of my favourite characters in fiction: Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, Rilke’s Malte Laurids Brigge, the young writer in Hamsun’s Hunger: alone in my room, feeling totally cut off from the rest of society. It was not a position I relished… Yet an inner compulsion had forced me into this position of isolation. I began writing about it in my journal, trying to pin it down. And then, quite suddenly, I saw that I had the makings of a book. I turned to the back of my journal and wrote at the head of the page: ‘Notes for a book The Outsider in Literature’...

Wilson famously slept outside on Hampstead Heath while writing this book during the day at the British Library. When The Outsider was published in 1956, it launched the 24-year-old Wilson to international fame. However, his follow-up books were less well-recieved, and Wilson began to disseminate his ideas through a series of fictional crime novels starting with Ritual in the Dark in 1960.

In this mind-trip of interview with Jeffrey Mishlove for the program Thinking Allowed, Wilson explains how he has written on the same theme throughout his career. He cites an essay by Isaiah Berlin that explained how writers can be divided into two groups—foxes and hedgehogs:

The fox knows many things; the hedgehog knows just one thing. So, Shakespeare is a typical fox; Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are typical hedgehogs. I am a typical hedgehog—I know just one thing, and I repeat it over and over again. I’ve tried to approach it from different angles to make it look different but it is the same thing.

The “same thing” Wilson alludes to here is his world view of our inter-connectedness, which he expounded in his favorite novel The Glass Cage, which told the story of a William Blake-quoting serial killer to explain “the abuse of human potential.” This is part of the theme Wilson develops in this interview, where he suggests humans are 51% robot, and 49% essence, and it is only in moments of extremity that the essence takes over, allowing individuals to experience their potential.

Wilson’s books offer a greater understanding of the positive human existence. He was averse to the “negative” view of life promoted by such writers as Samuel Beckett or Jean-Paul Sartre and believed in a philosophy that would actively promote a positive engagement with life.

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Shut Up, Devil!’ smartphone app: The power to silence Satan ... in your pocket!
08.04.2014
02:21 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Belief

Tags:
SATAN


 
Inspired by his own book Silence Satan, ministry leader Kyle Winkler of Kyle Winkler Ministries (catchy name) developed an app to help get those damned demons out of yer pretty little head. The app is called “Shut Up, Devil!” As Winkler explains, it’s a “weapon for spiritual warfare.”

He even touts that, “Soon, you realize that you’re no longer under attack, but you’re on the attack. And over time, issues you once dealt with will no longer plague you. And the lies the Devil launches at you, will no longer influence you.”

Seriously, just buy this man’s app and all will be right in your world! Get thee behind me, Satan!

Below, Winkler gives a handy tutorial on how to use his app. I think that Satan is already onto him and causing mischief. See how Kyle is about a half second out of sync? It’s the debbil!

 
via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Christian televangelists listen to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ *forwards* hilarity ensues!
07.30.2014
10:14 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Hysteria
Kooks
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
SATAN


 
Oh, this is too funny. Evil genius YouTuber Clemtinite took old footage from the Trinity Broadcasting Network with televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch—the Christian duo are trying to find satanic messages by playing the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway to Heaven” in reverse—and then reversed the whole video. “Turn me on dead, man!”

The longer it goes on, the funnier it gets.

 
via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Stanley Kubrick faked the Apollo 11 Moon landing?

smoonkub.jpg
 
So, did Stanley Kubrick fake the Moon landing?

Well, that’s the proposition of William Kare’s documentary (mockumentary?) Dark Side of the Moon, which originally aired on French TV channel Arte in 2002 as Opération Lune.

According to Karel’s (fictional?) film, Kubrick was hired to fake the Apollo 11 mission by the U.S. government. The evidence? Well, secret documents alluding to Kubrick’s involvement in the “fraud” were discovered among the director’s papers after his death in March 1999.

Moreover, Kubrick apparently left clues to his involvement into the scam: firstly, his being loaned lenses by NASA to recreate the candle-lit scenes in his film Barry Lyndon—how else could have got hold of these unless NASA owed him a BIG favor?; secondly, Kubrick allegedly made a confession of his involvement in the conspiracy that is contained in his film version of Stephen King’s The Shining.

Adding substance to these alleged facts, Karel wheels out a highly convincing array of contributors: Henry Kissinger, Buzz Aldrin, Jan Harlan, Richard Helms, Vernon Walters (who is claimed to have mysteriously died after filming) and Christiane Kubrick.

It’s a great romp, and for those who are tempted to believe, watch the bloopers reel at the end.
 

 
Via Open Culture

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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