defaithed's blog

It's not a rock problem either

20 Jun 2013

Here's a guns + scripture billboard from somewhere in the U.S. of A.:

 Gun control billboard

It says:

Cain killed Abel with a rock

It's a HEART problem, not a gun problem.

Jeremiah 17:9

Okay. So Cain killed Abel with a rock.

But in December 2012, Adam Lanza killed 26 people at a school, including 20 kids, with an assault rifle.

Over 4,000 more people in the US have been killed with guns in the 6 months since then.

Over 32,000 people in the US were killed with guns in 2011 alone. Subtracting over 19,000 suicides by gun, over 1,000 accidental or undetermined gun-related deaths, and a scant 600+ "justifiable" homicides by gun, around 11,000 gun deaths in the US in 2011 remain classified as murder.

Every year about 30,000 people, 10 times the death toll from 9/11, are killed with guns in the US. Counting only murders as the problem addressed by the billboard, that's still 11,000 people, or about 3 times the death toll from 9/11, murdered by gun every year in the US.

You're wrong, billboard. It's a gun problem.

(The false equivalency on the billboard is the same as that in this cartoon: pretending that the gun problem in the US is one of "a guy killed a guy." At 11,000 murders a year, the problem in the US is not "a guy killed a guy.")

Readeth thou more

God by the numbers: What's in the 613 Commandments?

19 Jun 2013

The Ten Commandments! They're so famous they got their own movie. And they're justly famous, because they're the most awesome laws ever – so awesome that Georgia Representative Lynn Westmoreland, who wants to mandate the public display of the Commandments in the US, can name as many as three of the Ten

Hmm... you'd think Rep "The 10C 4eva!" Westmoreland could have done a little better with the commandment shout-outs, especially when the Bible conveniently offers multiple versions of the Ten Commandments to choose from. But let's crank the stone tablets up to Eleven (just kidding, Yahweh!) with an all-new law: Thou shalt not go getting all smug just because thou canst nameth most or all of the rules. Ten is a piffle. How well do you think you'd fare against the 613 Commandments?

Oh, I saw that double take you just did! Meet the Mitzvot, the full 613 commandments that make up the "Law of Moses". If the Ten Commandments are the basic rules from God, think of the Mitzvot as the fine print. Among the 613 are all the laws you've heard of that failed to make the Big 10 ("Circumcise the male offspring"), and laws that may be new to you ("Break the neck of a calf by the river valley following an unsolved murder"? Huh. Who knew.). They span the eminently sensible ("Anybody who knows evidence must testify in court") and the... well, less obvious, shall we say ("Not to put frankincense on the meal offerings of wrongdoers"? Great, now you tell me.).

You'll find a list of the Mitzvot at website Judaism 101 and a list with nice overview on Wikipedia. It's a lot to take in, though; even a cursory look at the significance, interpretation, and categorization of the 613 Commandments would – and does – fill books. Given limited time (and no doubt limited reader interest), all I'm going to do here is draw a little inspiration from that great big numeral – the Ten Commandments times 61, plus change! – and point out a few numbers of interest in the Mitzvot. Readeth thou more

Uh, if you really want him, he's all yours...

6 Jun 2013

Quiet, everyone!

Some Christians out there would like to make two announcements about atheists:

"Stalin was an atheist!"

Stalin the atheist

All righty. I think we've heard that before. What was the other thing you wanted to say?

"There are no atheists! 'Atheists' believe in God!"

There are no atheists

Uh, I've heard that one too. But now I'm confused:

So you're insisting that Stalin was a believer??

Stalin the believer

Readeth thou more

It's a resurrection!

5 Jun 2013

It's feeling like Easter around here, with the site rising from its antiquated software like a rocket-powered Jesus phoenix. Expect better things from the upgrade. Although... the new software is leaving little chocolate rabbit eggs (ahem) all over. Not everything is working right; in particular, the system wants to leave "Readeth thou more" links after every post excerpt, even when the "excerpt" is the entire short post and there's no more to read. Please turn the other cheek and what not, while I get all Angry Yahweh on the bugs. Readeth thou more

Fix that cartoon

25 Feb 2013


gun cartoon


Something about this cartoon doesn't seem right.

It's something in that last panel. The one that points out the arbitrariness and hypocrisy of the reactionaries crying "we've got to do something about guns". See how the man on the right – i.e., the hand-wringing, inconsistent public – reverses his reaction, from outcry against the killer to outcry against guns, when nothing really has changed. The dead guy and the small hand weapon are both the same; all that's changed is that the latter happens to be a handgun instead of a club...

But as a depiction of the ongoing gun debate, something about the cartoon seems oddly... off. What could it be...

Readeth thou more

Thanks for your patience (a comment on comments)

4 Feb 2013

I apologize to the kind readers of this site for slowness in responding to comments of late, and for possible glitches with the site itself. Some weeks ago, the site was hit with a long-running bout of crippling performance issues that I'm sure created commenting troubles or unavailable pages for many visitors. (Sorry, believers, the cause was a simple database screw-up on the part of my ISP. Not divine retribution because I blasphemed. Unless... Yahweh lashed out against my ISP because a gay couple got married somewhere?) Readeth thou more

Guns don't kill people...

15 Dec 2012

True, guns don't kill people.

But bullets sure as hell do.

It's time for the US to try something other than obeying every whim of gun fetishists. It's time for laws that do a far better job of restricting gun ownership to the trained and responsible.

There's no harm in experimenting; if restriction doesn't stem the violence, the country can always revert to letting the National Rifle Association have its way. Readeth thou more

Jesus takes believer's leg (and God won't grow it back)

31 Oct 2012

David Jimenez stopped daily at a 600-lb. (270-kg) crucifix outside a church in Newburgh, New York, US, praying for a cure for his wife's cancer. When her condition improved, he was so thankful he asked the church for permission to clean the neglected cross.

Jesus may have wanted more than just hosannas and a scrub, though. The poorly-attached sculpture fell over and crushed the devotee's leg, necessitating amputation. Readeth thou more