Friday, January 27, 2006

So Did Jesus Exist Or What?

Judge to Rule on Merit of Christ Case
By MARTA FALCONI, Associated Press Writer

VITERBO, Italy - An Italian judge heard arguments Friday on whether a small-town parish priest should stand trial for asserting that Jesus Christ existed.

The priest's atheist accuser, Luigi Cascioli, says the Roman Catholic Church has been deceiving people for 2,000 years with a fable that Christ existed, and that the Rev. Enrico Righi violated two Italian laws by reasserting the claim.

Lawyers for Righi and Cascioli, old schoolmates, made their arguments in a brief, closed-door hearing before Judge Gaetano Mautone in Viterbo, north of Rome. They said they expected the judge to decide quickly.

Cascioli filed a criminal complaint in 2002 after Righi wrote in a parish bulletin that Jesus did indeed exist, and that he was born of a couple named Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth.

Cascioli claims that Righi's assertion constituted two crimes under Italian law: so-called "abuse of popular belief," in which someone fraudulently deceives people; and "impersonation," in which someone gains by attributing a false name to a person.

"The point is not to establish whether Jesus existed or not, but if there is a question of possible fraud," Cascioli's attorney, Mauro Fonzo, told reporters before the hearing.

Cascioli says the church has been gaining financially by "impersonating" as Christ someone by the name of John of Gamala, the son of Judas from Gamala.

He has said he has little hope of the case succeeding in overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Italy, but that he is merely going through the necessary legal steps to reach the European Court of Human Rights, where he intends to accuse the church of what he calls "religious racism."

Righi, 76, has stressed substantial historical evidence — both Christian and non-Christian — of Jesus' existence.

"Don Righi is innocent because he said and wrote what he has the duty to say and write," Righi's attorney, Severo Bruno, told reporters.

He said he told Mautone during the hearing that Righi was not asserting a historical fact when he wrote of Jesus' existence, but rather "an expression of theological principles."

"When Don Righi spoke about Christ's humanity ... he was affirming that he needs to be considered as a man. What his name is, where he comes from or who his parents are is secondary," he said.

Fonza said he countered that there have long been questions of Christ's existence and that the matter warranted discussion in the court.

"When somebody states a wrong fact, abusing the ignorance of people, and gains from that, that is one of the gravest crimes," Cascioli told reporters.

Righi's brother, Luigi Righi, attended the hearing and said his brother was "serene but bitter."


On the Net:
Cascioli's site:

Sunday, January 22, 2006

God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us?

Swiped from Simply Left Behind with the author's permission.

God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us?
December 25th, 2005
By Actor 212

No quotes, no headlines from articles. This post is from the heart.

Today we celebrate the birth of arguably the greatest Teacher in the history of this measly little rock in space (which brings up most of this article). Be he God, or God-like, or merely an unusually gifted man is irrelevant to that point: He has been more influential than any other inhabitant of this planet, ever.

And yet, we learned so little from Him.

If you believe, as I do, that Jesus was sent here by His Father to save us from our sins, then you have a lot of questions:

1) First and foremost, why? There are an awful lot of subqueries to ask here. A couple that spring to mind:

a) Why aren't we perfect in the first place? God made us in His image. Is He not perfect, then?

b) Why didn't God just wipe us all out like He did during Noah's time? After all, murder didn't go away when He flooded the planet, neither did theft, or lying or adultery, all of which are mortal sins according to Moses. Did God admit He failed the first time He created us? Then for heaven's sake, couldn't He have chosen a less sinful family than Noah's to repopulate the planet? I mean, you know, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent...why a sinner like Noah? Did God run out of the clay He made us from in Genesis? And so quickly?

2) When is God going to get tired of these numbnuts who hijack His name for earthly purposes? The "War On Christmas," indeed! Can we expect another massive flood to level the planet?

3) If Revelation is accurate (a book written 300 years after Christ, by a stoned monk), then heaven only holds 144,000 souls. There are 6 billion people on the planet now, and since "souls" could mean anyone who's ever lived, we're talking about something on the order of ten billion souls. Heaven sounds harder to get into than a WASP country club for a minority.

4) Doesn't this behavior sound odd to you? A God who destroys (Noah) and humiliates His subjects (Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, Job...I could go on) in one book turns around and gives them a beautiful gift in the next? Was not an omniscient God in charge? Could He not see the failures of man ahead of time and prevent them? Didn't He get bored of running around behind us like a kindergarten teacher?

5) In fact, does not Jesus sound more like a Father than His Father does? I'm reminded often of the Star Trek (first gen) episode, The Squire Of Gothos, and that the Father is Trelane, and Jesus one of the beings that scolds him in the end. One can begin to imagine the conversation they must have had ahead of time.

6) And yet, even Jesus' teachings have failed where they count the most: the human heart. Who amongst us can claim to never have had a sinful thought?

7) Which leads me to the place Jesus' teachings should have succeeded wildly: the human mind. After all, the logic is impeccable. If you don't want to be screwed around with, don't screw around with someone else. You get what you put in. Every major religion and belief system has this at its core, this magic bank account where you deposit good will and you withdraw good will, but if you deposit ill will, you withdraw ill will (and in some systems, you even earn usurious interest rates on the order of three-fold!). Why have His teachings failed to impress the one place humans CAN control, their own minds?

Now, I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and His Son, Jesus Christ, who was born unto men, died for our sins, arose to Heaven where he will sit in judgement of the quick and the dead, and the Holy Spirits, the last leg of the Triune God.

I just don't believe in religion. I don't believe that man, any man, can tell me how to follow my God. Either God is so involved in the day to day affairs of each man, as He was in the Old Testament, that a priest or minister becomes superficial, that we each have a direct line to Him in our hearts, or God is so uninvolved in our lives that, through Jesus, he gave us blanket immunity from prosecution by just believing that Jesus died for our sins, in which case, priests and ministers become irrelevant (again) as we each must find our own path to salvation, that the most a priest can do for us is to point out what needs forgiving in God's eye.

A tale is told of the man who dies. He enters a large chamber, a vestibule of a sort, high vaulted ceilings bathed in white marble and white plaster ornamentation.

Across the marble floor from him are two doors.

The first door, grand white oak, with brass handles and two sentries posted in the finest guard uniforms, braided gold epaulets , which has a lonnnnnnnnnnnng line of people snaking forth from it, has an huge gilded sign over it: "Lecture On How To Get To Heaven."

The second door, perpetually open with many cobwebs across the entrance, musty, old pine, with a simple knob, is marked with a simple hand carved (by a Carpenter?) wooden sign: "To Heaven".

That doorway is empty.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

If I were god...

I were god, I'd smite a lot of those people who speak in My name. They make God out to be a mean, vindictive, jealous, spiteful SOB who most thinking people wouldn't want to be stuck-with in the afterlife... not to mention that the afterlife would be one dull, dreary place filled with penitent people in hair shirts.

"heaven, heaven is a place where nothing, nothing ever happens." -The Talking Heads.

Lately you have boobs who claim to speak on behalf of some god. And they even dare to say that the mining disaster was an act of god: "God rebuked nations who only turned to Him in their most extreme moments of need." Jesus H. Christ, do you think an all-loving God would bury people alive and slowly asphyxiate them with poisonous fumes?

There is another boob, a tv host of one of the Christian Comedy Hours whose show title indicates that only 700 people will be eligible for harps and wings in this invitation-only Rapture, who claims that Hurricane Katrina was revenge against sinners by this same, exclusivist, perpetually angry Creator and that Ariel Sharon's stroke was a punishment from God himself because God has nothing better to do than medically bitch-slap Jewish politicians. Oh, and let's not forget that 9/11 happened because of the existence of liberals, homosexuals and abortionists.

We have the biggest boob of them all living in the White House who was told by this vengeful, black-tie-and-white-Protestants-only god to be the president anointed to wipe out followers of the extremist Muslim persuasion. Yet the Muslims claim that a similar type of crabby, constipated, Allah-god told them to wipe out the American Christian capitalist pigs . And let's not forget that in this religio-wrestling card Christians are pitted against Christians and Muslims against Muslims. How many different factions of Protestantism are there now? Which one is right? When is God going to pull back curtain #1 and finally tell people which religion is the one true religion and stop getting His jollies with plagues, floods, nonresponsive governments and shifty claims' adjusters?

Frankly, I'd rather worship a nice God...a happy God...a sympathetic God. Not some creep who likes to play the cosmic version of the game of Chicken. Hey, I'll send you an earthquake and let's see how many of you can survive, heh. Then I think I'll smite a bunch of stupid poor people with a tsunami while I'm at it.

I was told that when we die, we will get the answer sheet to all the questions in the universe. Yawn. It would be nice to have the answer immediately as to what happens after we die, and I imagine we would get that information readily... but it's much more heavenly for me to connect the dots once I get some facts. Will I have a full-frontal lobotomy after I die? Because that would be a necessity if god really is planning on having a cosmos full of tee-totaling, weepy puppets that wear too much eye make-up.

After all, who wants to spend all eternity worshipping some perpetually pissed-off god? That's what I was told would happen in heaven. We would do nothing but praise the lord, with no bathroom breaks. The screwballs at the pulpits of Mega Churches all over Amerika have made their god out to be a total ego maniac. I can think of better things to do in heaven... being weightless and all... outside the constraints of time and space... I was hoping that I'd be able to dance and create music... maybe help figure out how to cure some of the diseases back on earth in my spare time outside time and space, of course. "Heaven" would be an active place, where we "make things"--like music, love, and art. A joyful eternally--in my unevangelical mind--is like a Demerol high where we spend the days doing good, making love, reconcilling with friends; not putting on a hospital gown and strummin' "What a Friend we have in Jesus" on a small lyre.

Some say that heaven is what you make it. Now that is more like it. I'll agree to spend some time in thanks and praise of the Lord if that is so... but not if I'm looking at spending eternity "in the basement," waist deep in boiling feces for running out of things to say "thank you" for. I'm not that much of an ego maniac. I would have to think pretty darn highly of myself to spend eternity thanking someone else for me, especially when there are so many other people who deserve help and intervention right now. Besides, just like EVERYONE else on Earth, there are parts of me that I am less than thankful that I hope are still under warranty when I get "up there."

If this god needs so much praise, why didn't he just cut to the chase and create us on our knees bowing down to him in the first place? Does god get a kick out of scaring the shit out of his creatures on earth with all sorts of disasters, diseases, and evil people like the Bush family who spend the majority of their waking hours making other people's lives hell while demanding their undying loyalty in heaven simply for not putting them through more hell? Quite frankly, I am not at all amused by these so-called "acts of God." What good is love and praise if they are really only fear masking itself? Surely an omnipotent god can tell the difference?

Why did god give some people brains and some not? Why do some people have the curse of critical thinking while others have the gift of ignorant bliss? Is this some sort of cruel versions of chicken? Does the lord in heaven get a burst of adrenalin when he sees perfectly sane people go bonkers when his faithful ignorami in bliss try to pass off some inane idea as sound doctrine?

If god is indeed a sovereign, then why do we even need world leaders? Why do we need clergy? Why doesn't He just come clean, come forward, come down here and rule the earth so that there are no questions as to how we are supposed to act? He could do individual smites with an explanation. That would make sense.

Here's another question: If God is all-knowing, then why did She/He create science and at the same time also create people who are too dense to learn it and comprehend it? He left it out of the bible. You would think that God would have at least given early humanoids some grasp of it.

Silly me. I am applying human qualities to god. God isn't human. It's just ridiculous to claim to think that god and I share the same type of logic and ideas about justice. It's God we're talking about. Not some mere mortal. He has his reasons for being so so playful with the emotions that he installed in his fragile creatures. Who the hell am I to even question his motives. Silly silly me. God can do whatever the hell he wants and bless us or fuck us over as much as he desires. He's God. He can just go on and keeping us guessing what sins that last hurricane were for.

Maybe one day when people stop sinning so much, god will cease to "act" upon us and we won't have to worry about the insurance company telling us that they won't pay for punishments issued by god. Then we humans can destroy the earth in his holy name based on some closeted guy's interpretation of the scriptures and then everything will be ok and the good people will be whisked away to heaven, naked and unashamed, willing to worship god for all eternity and not have to deal with that pesky 'free will' crap that was a bane to them when they were on earth.