Odd Thomas Movie

They’re making a movie of DeanKoontz’s Odd Thomas. Dean Koontz seems to be excited about it, even though he has generally not had very good luck with movie adaptations of his novels. I wonder who will be playing the title role.

I generally like to read Koontz’s books. He features good, likeable characters who often face monstrous evils. They are heroes, but quiet sort of heroes who do what they have to do without seeking glory. The lessons of his novels emphasize the simple but important things in life, love and family, decent behavior, etc.

I looked it up on that invaluable resource wikipedia and Anton Yelchin will be playing Odd Thomas. I’ve never heard of him but judging from the picture in the article, he looks the part.

Tolkien

Another of my favorite things is The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Tolkien has often been copied by other fantasy writers but never equaled. I think that 500 years from now, The Lord of the Rings will be the only book, besides Atlas Shrugged, from the twentieth century that will still be widely read.

The Hidden Reality

I’ve been reading, or really listening to  “The Hidden Reality” by Brian Greene. Greene is one of the  scientists who can make advanced science accessible to the general public. There are too few of them left since the passing of Carl Sagan and Stephen J Gould. Anyway, The Hidden Reality is all about the concept of parallel universes or the multiverse. Greene describes all the various kinds of universes that might exist.

It is an interesting book and an intriguing subject. I’m skeptical about the multiverse concept though. The problem is that there is no evidence that any of the various multiverses actually exist. And, given that each universe in a multiverse is self-contained with no means of communicating with one another, it is not likely that we will ever have such evidence. As I said, it is an interesting concept, but unless they can come up with a testable hypothesis about the matter, I don’t think that it can be, strictly speaking, science. You might as well argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

By the way, the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin is infinite. Angels are not composed of matter/energy and do not take up physical space, you see.

The Irrational Atheist 2

Speaking of irrational atheists, I wonder why they all have to go through the trouble writing books making fun of believers. I don’t  go around making fun of people who have other religions. I may think their beliefs are wrong, but unless that belief includes trying to kill me because Allah commands it, then it really doesn’t affect me.

Of course, they say that religion poisons everything, starts wars, persecutions, etc. I grant that  a lot of evils have been done in the name of religion, but blaming religion is really addressing the symptom and not the cause, which is our sinful nature. I really don’t think that the last five thousand years of recorded history would have been greatly different if everyone had been an atheist.

I suspect that if it were a simple matter of unbelief, what others believe would be a matter of indifference to them. I wonder if, subconsciously, they do believe in God, or some divine power, and hate Him.

The Irrational Atheist

I have been reading the Irrational Atheist by Vox Day lately. It’s nice to see the New Atheists get a taste of their own medicine as the author demolishes their arguments with facts and logic. Judging by the number of one starred reviews at Amazon.com, atheists are a remarkably thin-skinned group.

God’s Battalions by Rodney Stark

    The premise of God’s Battalions is that everything you think you know about the Crusades is simply wrong. No, the Crusades were not an act of Christian aggression against the Muslims. The Crusades were, in fact, a belated response to centuries of Muslim aggression against Christendom. No, the Crusaders were not ignorant barbarians attacking a far more civilized enemy. The supposed golden age of Islam was not as much a high point of learning, as is generally supposed, especially since most of the learning was the work of non-Muslims. On the other hand, Europe, even during the so-called Dark Ages, was already beginning to pull ahead in practical technology. Anyway, as Stark points out, the concept of the Dark Ages is not particularly accurate and historians have largely abandoned it.

     Yes, the Crusaders did sack Jerusalem. This was standard practice against cities that resisted a siege. In any case, Muslim atrocities exceeded Christian. No, the Crusaders did not slaughter Jews on the way to the Holy Land. German peasants did that. The Crusaders were forbidden by the Pope to harm Jews and many times bishops protected the Jews from the mobs.

    Stark makes a strong case for the Crusades. They were, as I have said, a reaction to aggression. The Crusaders acted, for the most part, from the highest of motives. They did not expect to get rich from their endeavors. Many Crusaders went bankrupt. They truly believed they were God’s battalions.

     We, their descendants, have nothing to apologize for. Indeed, we should be proud of the men who marched across half the world, and won stunning victories against a foe who vastly outnumbered them. Their deeds were glorious.

     I did take issue with his description of the Byzantines as treacherous. The Byzantines had no reason to trust these armies who were marching across their territory, especially since their leaders included some of Byzantium’s deadliest enemies. The sack of Constantinople cannot be as easily defended as Stark does. It may have been standard practice and the Angeli emperors bore most of the responsibility for the events, nevertheless, it was a crime, it that Byzantium was permanently weakened and it tended to discredit future crusades.

    Overall, God’s Battalions is a noble work and well worth reading.