28 April 2012

Dietary Disasters

Two new stories about diets going bad.

From the NY Daily News, an unnamed Swiss woman starved to death after watching a documentary about Prahlad Jani in January 2011 (and the news just got released?). The woman watched a documentary called "In The Beginning There Was Light" (the trailer BEGINS with the words "I'm not saying stop eating and drinking"!) about breatharianism, the practice of living off of sunlight instead of food. I have not watched the film but a copy is being tracked down as we speak, but right from the trailer I can see that no one advocated that this woman starve herself to death. Transitioning to living without food, if it's possible at all, is very lengthy and difficult just like transitioning from being a couch potato to an Olympic athelete is very lengthy and difficult. Similarly, most people won't ever become Olympic atheletes just as most people won't ever be able to live without food.

Here is the trailer of the film:

From The Blaze, a North Carolina man Steve Cooksey faces jail time for writing a diet journal online. The gestapo of NC says you need a state-approved license to dispense nutritional advice to anyone or you can spend 120 days in jail. Mr. Cooksey wrote about his experiment with a 30-day "paleo" diet (no dairy, no grain, no eggs, etc.) and some stuff he found online about the diet and the government says that he can't do that. If he wants to write about his diet he can't show it to anyone or tell anyone about it, even his closest friends and family, or that counts as dispensing nutritional advice and must be punished.

One day he went to a seminar at church and the state approved dietary police were feeding the people there propaganda so Cooksey spoke up and forever gained the ire of the state. They investigated him like government does to people it doesn't like and are now making threats. This is big government fascism if ever such a thing existed.

27 April 2012

House Passes CISPA

According to Politico, the US House of Representatives just passed CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act). If you recall, SOPA and PIPA  are like boyscouts compared to the elite SAS that is CISPA. The bill passed 248 to 168 with 42 Dems voting for it and 28 Pubs voting against it, across party lines.

The New World Order is using fictitious "cyber terrorism" from North Korea to justify taking all of our rights away.

John Boner. Look at him. That smug son of a bitch. He disgusts me as much as a man can be disgusted by another man.

Speaker John Boner (and it is Boner, I don't care if he pronounces it Bayner, that's not how it's spelled) says "Slave, you will learn to submit!" While an unnamed person in the White House replied "CISPA would trample the privacy and consumer rights of our citizens while leaving our critical infrastructure vulnerable. We need Congress to address this critical national and economic security challenge [sic.] while respecting the values of freedom, privacy, openness and innovation so fundamental to our nation."

With proper activism we can kill this in the Senate. Don't give up just because you're tired. Don't give up just because defeating SOPA and PIPA have left you complacent. Keep fighting to protect our freedom.

12 April 2012

Tennessee Teaches The Controversy

From UD:
The state famous for the Scopes "Monkey" Trial has passed a law that protects teacher's speech. Teachers can now answer student's questions regarding controversial issues such as Global Change (Global Warming + Climate Change) and Neo-Darwinism*. Remember, the Earth has been cooling since 1998, the climate in the past has changed faster and to a greater degree both up and down in the past before humans had anything more advanced than cook fires, NASA revealed that the atmosphere has a huge heat pump that is sending heat into space faster than we can put it out, and that the best example of evolution - the whale - was hoaxed.

"Senators voted 24-8 to pass a bill that says schoolteachers cannot be punished for “helping students to understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories” taught in public schools."

Statist groups like the AAAS and ACLU strongly oppose the new law. The Washington Post reports derisively: "The law encourages teachers to “present the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” But, as noted by the nonprofit National Center for Science Education, the only examples given in the bill of “controversial” theories are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”"

This is a step in the right direction from a state that Urban Mystic reporters in the field assert is full of government corruption.

*Teachers can engage students in discussing controversial topics but they must bring the discussion back to the approved curriculum.

07 April 2012

Brain Eating Vaccines

From Infowars.com: new vaccines designed to fight addiction or depression contain viruses that destroy brain tissue. A virus to make people servile - the ultimate behavioural modification of humanity. Tell everyone you know. Runs 16 minutes.

06 April 2012

The Conspiracy to Kill Jesus

Friday, 3 April AD 33. Jesus is tried by the Sanhedrin and sent to Pontius Pilate who asks him some questions and has Jesus beaten. The Sanhedrin does not relent. They demand Pilate execute Jesus. Pilate points to the Passover tradition of pardoning a criminal and lets the mob decide Jesus' fate and they choose to let Barabbas go free instead. Pilate washes his hands of the decision and the mob cries out that Jesus' blood will be on their hands and the hands of their descendants.

That's the story from the Gospels, but is it true? Is there really a conspiracy to kill Jesus and blame it on the Jews? The Gospel story has been used to justify antisemitism for over a thousand years, but is there a problem with the story?

To be sure the Sanhedrin wants Jesus dead. Jesus is challenging their claim to authority. The Sanhedrin wants people to believe that they are the only source of God's authority, the only mouthpiece for the Lord. They also want the vast sums of money worshipers spend at the Temple performing sacrifices and they like the cushy life they have in Rome's favour. However, as previously stated, just because the Sanhedrin wants Jesus dead does not mean the Jews want him dead. The people who benefited most from Jesus were the Jews, who had their hopes pinned to the coming Messiah. The Jews didn't like the status quo with Rome and the Sanhedrin, Rome's lapdog, keeping them under thumb.

What of Pilate? He cannot find fault in Jesus, right? Well, Pilate was a ruthless man who would find an excuse to kill Jesus if he wanted to. Pilate had no compunction killing Jews and Jesus was a Jew among many for Pilate. Worse still Jesus was a religious agitator. It didn't matter to Pilate if he was Messiah or not, as long as people believed he was that could lead to a rebellion and a rebellion would give Pilate a hard time. Pilate worked really hard rising the ranks to become prefect and he did everything he could to keep his job. Is it any wonder so many Messiah claimants ended up dead?

Didn't Pilate wash his hands of Jesus' death? Actually, no. That was a Jewish practice, not a pagan Roman practice. Pilate would not have washed his hands just like he would not have been circumcised just like he would not abstain from eating oysters (which Romans loved).

And the Passover pardon? Actually, there is no history of such a tradition outside the Gospels. Yes, a prefect did have the authority to pardon prisoners and there are sporadic examples of prefects who had pardoned prisoners, during Passover and other times throughout the year, but we have no evidence of a Passover tradition of pardoning someone. It appears nowhere in the Old Testament (so it wasn't a Jewish tradition), and it appears nowhere in Roman records, so it wasn't a Roman tradition. It's not in Josephus, or the Talmud, or in Philo. The idea of the pardon appears first in the Gospels associated with Pilate, and if we take into consideration Pilate's character we can doubt that a bloodthirsty man such as him would even consider pardoning a Jew at Passover. Remember, Pilate's job as prefect was to keep order, and part of keeping order is not to give in to the will of the mob. When there's a mob the prefect puts it down, he does not aquiesce to their demands. Pilate was recalled to Rome because of his brutality, not because he caved to the will of his subjects too often.

So Pontius Pilate does not free Barabbas and he does not wash his hands of the blood guilt, and it's not the Jews who hate Jesus but just the Sanhedrin. What in the world is going on?

We have to take two things into account, namely the time the Gospels were being written and the mindset of the Gospel writers. Mark, the first written canonical Gospel, was written in around AD 70, around the time of the Jewish revolt and the destruction of the Second Temple. Up until that time there was little difference between Jewish Christians and Christian Jews. The Gospel writers wanted to distance themselves from the Jews because the Jews were being systematically destroyed by the Romans at the time. There were far more Jews than Christians, so, as a matter of survival, the Gospel writers had to make the Jews look like the enemy and the good Roman Pontius Pilate look like he was reluctant to kill the Messiah. Jewish guilt was not created out of malice, but fear. Jesus' disciples hid and Peter in particular denied him three times out of fear of the Romans, and it was only witnessing the Resurrection that made them become fearless evangelists. The Gospel writers, living more than a generation after the Resurrection, had no such miracles to boost their confidence. Out of sheer pragmatism they tweeked the story of the trial of Jesus to try to keep Rome from lumping them in with the Jews.

Saying Pontius Pilate had much more to do with the death of Jesus and exhonorating the Jews does not mean what many people think it might mean. Saying the Gospel writers altered the true events of Jesus' life go without saying. Gospel means "good news" not "raw fact". There's no way the Gospel writers could have known what was said between Jesus and Pilate, the Sermon on the Mount is way too densely packed to have been delivered as a single sermon, and John even says at the end that he had to condense the material because Jesus did so much he couldn't fit it all. Saying that the Gospel writers were human and acted out of human motivation does not mean Jesus was fake and the Resurrection never happened - there is enough to say that the Gospels do point toward the truth, but a finger pointing toward the moon is not the moon. It also does not mean that the Gospel writers were acting sinisterly. They were making the story of the life of Jesus more accessible to a wider audience, and part of that includes maintaining the survival of the nascent movement that was Christianity in the First Century.

It is a double-edged sword. We can use the Gospels as a launching pad to grow in a relationship with Christ or we can use them to justify antisemitism. The choice, ultimately is up to us, and with the knowledge of history there is hope we can unravel the story of Jewish blood guilt and fix a wound that has festered for close to two thousand years. Then, at last, we can put this conspiracy to kill Jesus to rest.

05 April 2012

States, Stages, and Shadow

Ken Wilber in his best video since I Am Bigmind discusses the Three S's that his Integral approach tries to get you in touch with: States (gross, subtle, causal, nondual, altered states, etc.), Stages (Red, Amber, Orange, Green, Teal, Turquoise, etc.), and the Shadow (the unconscious crap you haul around with you). Up until now no single tradition, no single practice, no single methodology dealt with all three. For as crappy a time as we are in right now we are truly blessed to be living when integration of the three major aspects of the mind has begun. Runs 14:41.