Friday, September 19, 2008

Sarah Palin & Evangelical Fundamentalism & The Kingdom of God

Todays Special: Another rant on Sarah Palin & Evangelical Fundamentalists with a bit on global warming on the side.

Anyway Sarah Palin is part of a growing & powerful Evangelical Fundamentalists who believe that their time has come for them to transform America and the world to create God's Kingdom on Earth. Chris Hedges discusses her role or place in the church in the article below. One can hope that Sarah Palin may prove herself if elected to be just another pragmatic cynical power hungry politician as one of the articles below suggest. But don't hold your breath.

For instance their attitude towards science for instance is based upon their religious views & values.They accept any scientific theories which fits into their prejudices of their ultimate belief system and their notions of justice & their ideology. Believing in the literal & inerrant truth of the Bible they reject that which calls into question any part or passage of the Bible.

This of course varies among the different Evangelical sects. But all believe for instance in a young earth that is an Earth created some 6,000 years ago ( 4004 BC ). Noah's Ark for instance in their view isn't merely a parable or a myth it is part of the factual history of humanity. The story in Genesis of the Creation is also seen as literaly true. Though variations in the text are glossed over or just ignored or explained away. Were Adam and Eve created out of the dirt or mud at the same time or was Adam created and then God takes a rib from Adam and created Eve. Did Adam really give names to all the animals . Many questions arise from the first senctence of Genesis to the last sentence of The Book of Revelation.

But these " True Believers " are able to decipher the exact meaning of every phrase in the Bible with absolute certainty. It is this certainty which is at the centre of what is most dangerous about these " True Believers ". They move through a world which is precisely defined where there is a war going on between " Good and Evil " between God & Satan ; there are no shades of grey or moral ambiguities. Having been Born Again they have been " regenerated " ; that is they have no just had a spiritual awakening but they are rather no longer as they were. Those who are awkened see the world so they believe as it it really is.Those who are not with them are therefore against them and against God .

Ergo those who are not with them or actively oppose them are working with Satan or possessed by Demonic forces. This would be merely interesting in an academic sense or from an anthropoligical point of view if these Holy Rollers kept themselves separate from society but this particular group who's numbers are growing believe that they must act and take political and economic control of society to bring about God's Kingdom here on Earth and as quickly as possible. As mentioned before they interpret historical and current events man-made or natural as being signs from God. From the rise of Hitler & the Holocaust to the founding of the state of Israel to the Six Day War in Israel to Roe v. Wade to 9/11 these are all signs that the time is now ripe and God is in their view calling upon them to destroy all of God's enemies on Earth.

Anyway a team of scientists claim that much of the permafrost in the Arctic may not be affected by Global Warming. This is what the headline suggest but we shouldn't be so quick to draw conclusions. It appears the permafrost may be affected but not as quickly as has been suggested. Will those who question the science behind theories about Global Warming use such a discovery to debunk the science on Global Warming or argue that once again there is a lot of debate and disagreement among the scientific community. Since these ultra-conservatives do not believe in modern science when it comes to Global Warming or the age of the earth or the Galaxy & believe Homo Sapiens and dinosaurs shared the earth at the same time. Did they get this idea from watching too many episodes of " The Flintstones ". Did the Bible specifically tell Evangelical Fundamentalists that Tyrannosaurus Rex etc. roamed the earth in the time of Noah. If they did why didn't Noah save the dinosaurs - was there not enough room on his Ark which was the size of several air-craft carriers . Were dinosaurs rather creatures belonging to Satan's Realm- or did God as some argue merely create the fossil record just to amuse or to test his human creation- What a strange creature their God is.

It is also odd how these ultra -Conservatives and Evangelical Fundamentalists are willing to use modern science to develop Nuclear Weapons , Napalm , Nerve Gases and fighter jets and rocket ships to the moon and back but when modern science appears to undermine their beliefs in some way they then call it " pseudo-science " or " junk science. "

When science backs up their beliefs or creates something which they find useful then science is a good thing . But if does not support their beliefs no matter how bizarre then the scientific conclusions are to be dismissed out of hand...

The same scientific principles and methodology used to create the Atomic Bomb and to fly humans to the moon and back are the same as those used to determine the age of Fossils and of the earth itself. We have to remind these religious believers that once it was a heresy and could lead to execution if someone dared to claim that the Sun did not circle around about the earth or that the sun was not pulled by the horses of Apollo or some other God or Supernatural Being.
Once upon a time it was thought heretical to dare question the dubious science of Aristotle. And once it was believed that a person's intelligence and thinking took place in the heart or some other organ. Maybe the religious sort like Sarah Palin & other believers in a literal interpretation of the Bible ( inerrancy) believe that one can still be considered alive and thinking even though one's brain has been completely removed from the skull. Would they claim that a body without a brain is still mentally active. Of course there may come a time when medical science is able to keep alive a brain which may have been removed from a body as in Frankenstein and a thousand other science-fiction stories. At one time the idea of transplanting a heart or lung or other organ was thought to be an impossibility. But Vaccines against various diseases have been successful against various diseases. You would think that given their belief in faith healing and the power of prayer that these ultra-Christians or Uber-Christians would reject all modern medicine in favor of putting their faith as it were in the hands of their all loving all powerful and just God. Those who would then live would do so at the grace of God and those who died would die because they were unworthy of their all-mighty God.

Not long ago in our civilization it was thought a grave mortal sin to perform a vivisection or an autopsy on a human corpse. This belief had various sources or beliefs. One was that if the body was mutilated in such a fashion how could it arise whole in the time of the Last Judgement or the belief that the corpse might still be conscious and therefore feel pain or humiliation.

Ancient ice survived hotter Earth than today

ANNE MCILROY,Globe and Mail,September 18, 2008
A team of Canadian researchers has discovered the oldest ice in North America, 700,000-year-old wedges unearthed near Dawson City in the Yukon that stayed solid when the Earth was much hotter than it is today.

The discovery suggests that one of the most catastrophic global warming scenarios, in which melting permafrost releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, may not occur as quickly as some scientists fear.

"There is a certain stubbornness to permafrost, " says Duane Froese, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science at the University of Alberta and lead author of a paper that will appear in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

But the scientific team urges caution:

...Dr. Froese and his colleagues say their discovery is not an invitation to ignore the potentially serious impact of global warming, especially in the North, where temperatures are rising faster than anywhere on Earth and the sea ice is vanishing at a rate that has stunned the scientists who study it.

By some estimates, permafrost holds twice as much carbon as is in the atmosphere. So its fate in a warmer north is a critical question to scientists trying to predict the course and potential impact of climate change.

Several climate models predict significant melting of permafrost in the coming decades, or by the end of the century.

Dr. Froese says the pace of the thaw could be slower.
"It isn't that it isn't going to happen, but it may happen at time scales slower than
those models are predicting."

And here's an article by Chris Hedges on the Assemblies of God & Sarah Palin & the Male domination of such churches.
Chris Hedges- For Palin, it's a (Christian ) man's World Sept. 14, 2008 at TruthDig

Sarah Palin may be a governor and a vice presidential candidate, but in the hyper-masculine world of the Christian right, she is subservient to a male
hierarchy that claims to speak for God.

A cult of masculinity defines the Wasilla Assembly of God church and the Juneau Christian Centre where she worshipped. This cult propagates a vision of the world where believers are warriors. They are taught to ready themselves to engage in a final cataclysmic clash with the forces of Satan. This cosmic struggle, infused with the language of war, death and violence, leads inevitably to the slaughter by the righteous of all non-Christians. The photos of Palin hunched over dead animals she has shot are not simply images of a woman who is a member of the National Rifle
Association. They are images of a woman who believes violence against
nonbelievers is ultimately part of her religious life.

The cult of masculinity is used to banish ambiguity, especially sexual ambiguity. It fosters a world of binary opposites: God and man, the saved and the unsaved, the church and the world, Christianity and secular humanism, and male and female. All in
life is rigidly defined. Disorder and chaos are banished. Reality, when it is
defined in these absolutes, is predictable and understandable, something deeply
comforting to believers who have often had trouble coping with the messiness of
human existence.

All configurations of human life that do not conform to the rigid Christian model, such as homosexuality, are forms of disorder, tools of Satan, and must be abolished. This is why Palin opposes gay marriage and calls for gays to be cured. A world that can be predicted and understood, a world that has clear markers, can be made rational. It can be managed and controlled. The petrified, binary world of fixed, immutable and established roles is a world where people, many of them damaged by bouts with failure and despair, can bury their chaotic and fragmented personalities. They can live with the illusion that they are strong, whole and protected. Those who do not fit into these narrow definitions must be proselytized and converted.

The decline of America is ascribed to the decline of male prowess. This decline has led to weakness and moral decay. It has resulted in a bewildering human and social complexity that,often seen as feminine, is the work of Satan. This is why Palin consistently celebrates "male" values.

and further:

The religious leaders that Palin admires, such as Dobson, are petty despots. They travel on private jets, have huge personal fortunes and descend on the faithful surrounded by a retinue of burly bodyguards. These little kingdoms, awash in the male leadership cult,mirror the America they seek to create. In this America, there is no questioning. In this America, followers surrender their personal and political power. The divinely anointed male leader rules a flock of obedient and
submissive sheep. All must hand over their freedom. All must cease to think

and Chis Hedges concludes that :

Palin enjoys the enthusiastic backing of the Christian right because she is blindly obedient to the male hierarchy. She does not question. She submits and obeys. Her views on abortion and marriage, on the Middle East, on gays and the war against Islam are precooked. They are handed to her by men who claim to speak for God. And in power she would be the perfect conduit for an ideology that seeks, in the end,to eradicate individual moral choice and replace it with subservience to a
terrifying Christian fascism.

Palin Keeps Lying, and Truthdig by Eugene Robinson Sept. 15, 2008

What kind of person tells a self-aggrandizing lie, gets called on it, admits
publicly that the truth is not at all what she originally claimed—and then goes
out and starts telling the original lie again without changing a word?

Sarah Palin is beginning to seem like quite an unusual woman, and I’m not talking
about her love of guns and "snow machines," her faith, her family or any of the
presumably non-elite attributes that we in the "elite media" are accused of
savaging. Wrongly accused, I should add; reporters are doing nothing more
sinister than trying to find out who she is, how she thinks and what she has
done in office.

One deeply troubling thing we’re learning about Palin is that, as far as she’s concerned, unambiguous fact doesn’t appear to rise even to the level of inconvenience.
I’m sorry, but to explain my point I have to make another visit—my last, I hope—to the never-built, $398-million "Bridge to Nowhere" that was to join the town of Ketchikan, Alaska, with its airport on the other side of the Tongass Narrows.
You’ll recall that in her Republican convention speech, Palin burnished her budget-hawk credentials by claiming she had said "thanks but no thanks" to a congressional earmark that would have paid most of the cost. A quick check of the public record showed that Palin supported the bridge when she was running for governor, continued to support it once she took office and dropped her backing only after the project—by then widely ridiculed as an example of pork-barrel spending—was effectively dead on Capitol Hill.

At first glance, it seems like a harmless waste of time to devote political
analysis to the question of whether Barack Obama might be "too thin" to be
president, implying he's a bit too faggy for the job, or to joke about Palin as
a dominatrix, spanking McCain. It feels safe, and comfortable, to bring these
candidates out of the stratosphere and onto the couch. But if we waste the next
60 days on questions of "personality," with the word standing in for gender and
racial conformity, rather than intellectual heft, the conservatives could win.
And if we keep on with the fiction that racial and gender stereotypes are held
by a few remaining bad eggs, we will severely underestimate the challenge that
this election poses to ourselves as individuals, and to our nation.

The excitement generated in the first months of the Obama campaign was at least in >part a result of the legacy of movement politics, the language of which
saturated most of Obama's early speeches. It was the civil rights movement, the
anti-war movement, the feminist movement, the gay rights movement, that spoke of making fundamental, liberating change. It's that kind of change that roused the
people who had never voted and never cared about voting to think that this time
might be different. It's why Sarah Palin saved her deepest scorn for movement
organizers, to put us on notice that that kind of change is dead. But there's
this thing about movements and change: They don't need heroes; they don't need
magical leaders. All they need, all they ever need, is time.

and concludes with:

But a different picture of Sarah Palin is beginning to emerge. The
McCain campaign would like us to see a straight-talking, gun-toting,
moose-eviscerating, lipstick-wearing frontierswoman. Instead, we’re beginning to
discern an ambitious, opportunistic politician who makes no bones about
rewarding friends and punishing those who stand in her way—and who believes that
truth is nothing more, and nothing less, than what she says it is.

and so it goes,

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