Archive for April 1st, 2012

An April Fool

April 1, 2012

Last Saturday, March 24, there was a “Reason Rally” in Washington DC. One of the featured speakers was Richard Dawkins. It might have been more appropriate to have this event today.

1 The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.” (Psalms 14:1)

I hope any atheist reader will forgive my little joke and I’m sure they have heard some variant before. Yet, Dawkins is a fool. Consider his remarks at the rally.

But even the laughs turned into malaise as the event drew to a close. Famed atheist headliner Richard Dawkins labored through a speech that quickly grew bitter.

“Do you really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer, it turns into the body of Christ?” he said, ridiculing Catholics. “Are you seriously telling me you believe that?  Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?”

Hawkins challenged his fellow atheists to expose people who still cling to their faith in spite of their doubts.

“Mock them, ridicule them in public, don’t fall for the convention that we’re far to polite to talk about religion,” a frustrated Dawkins continued, “Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off limits. Religion makes specific claims about the universe, which need to be substantiated.  They should be challenged and ridiculed with contempt.”

Does he really believe that he will get people to come around to his ideas by mocking their deeply held beliefs? Does he really imagine that treating people with contempt will improve their perceptions of atheists? This is, after all, the man who coined the term “bright” to describe non believers and couldn’t understand why believers might find the term offensive. Because it implies that they are “dim” perhaps?

He wasn’t the only obnoxious person at that rally.

But as gloomy rain clouds hung low over the Washington Monument, the rally quickly degenerated into open mockery of religion and people of faith.

“F— the motherf—-, f— the mother—- pope,” sang Musician Tim Minchin as he played profane songs on the piano for a laughing and cheering crowd.

Few religions remained unscathed while cruel spokesmen of reason roundly ridiculed Mormons, Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims.

As the event continued, it became clear that the leaders of the movement were not clamoring for equality, but rather superiority.

“When it comes to religion, we’re not two sides of the same coin and you don’t get to put your unreason on the same shelf as my reason,”  HBO’s Liberal comedian Bill Maher said to the crowd via a video monitor. “Your stuff has to go over there on the shelf with Zeus and Thor and the Kracken.”

I can tell they are on the side of reason by their calm and rational discussion. Actually, they sound like intolerant bigots. I suppose if their kind ever got into power, they would start building the coliseums to feed the Christians to the lions again.

I don’t believe that the attendants at this “Rally for Reason” really represent the majority of people who happen not to believe in the Deity. Rather, this is a subset of people who relish controversy for its own sake and who enjoy offending as many of their fellows as possible, rather like the Atheist equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church.

 

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Palm Sunday

April 1, 2012

 

Today is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem and the beginning of the climax of his earthly ministry.

 

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]

“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matt 21:1-11)

As Ann Coulter pointed out in her book Demonic, many of these same people were calling for Jesus to be crucified less than a week later, such is the fickleness of mobs.

 

Palm Sunday is often celebrated by palm leaves to worshippers in churches. If palm leaves are not available locally, than other tree branches may be substituted. In many churches the priest or other clergy blesses the palms and they are saved to be burned at Ash Wednesday the following year.

 

The actual date of Palm Sunday, like Easter varies from year to year because the date is based on a lunisolar cycle like the Hebrew calendar. The date differs between Western and Eastern Christianity because most Eastern churches still use the Julian calendar for their liturgical year, even though the Gregorian calendar is universally used for civil purposes.

 

Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, or the last week of Lent.

 

Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 


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