SHOCKING Implications of the God : Man :: Man : Dog Analogy

IF: God is to Mankind as Mankind is to our pets, THEN:

1.  We can love a dog that is vicious to other dogs as long as it has other good qualities, such as being nice to people, or good at hunting, etc.

ERGO: God can love murderers.

2.  Most of the immediate concerns of dogs–barking at rivals, sniffing their pee spots, chasing squirrels–are of no concern to us at all.

ERGO: Most of our pressing worries and concerns are of no interest to God.

3.  A little bit of mischievousness and playful naughtiness is usually tolerated and even appreciated by pet owners. Too much bad behavior, however, can get a dog abandoned or euthenized.

ERGO: God is not a stickler for the rules but the rules are still important.

4.  No one wants their dog to suffer needlessly but neither does anyone spend all their time entertaining their dog and trying to make it happy.

ERGO: Human suffering has meaning; human happiness perhaps a little less so. And God certainly doesn’t have the inclination to keep you happy and entertained all the time!

5.  Everyone wants their dog’s rapt attention some of the time, but not all of the time.

ERGO: Don’t pray too much.

6,  Different dogs have different jobs. Some have no job other than looking cute. Technological advancements and lifestyle changes have eliminated many of the old jobs dogs used to do; nowadays most of them just look cute.

ERGO: If you’re not going to be a working stiff then you’d better be damned good-looking or charming about it. But, like it or not, the course of modern history is away from working stiffs and towards charming rakes.

7.  If your dog is vicious to your newborn baby then the dog has to go, no matter how good a dog it is. But if the dog is just jealous and avoids the baby, then it can stay, even if its not that great a dog.

ERGO: You don’t have to be a Christian or even like Jesus; you don’t even have to be a good person; but if you’re a persecutor you’re gonna get zonked.

MORE ECUMENICALLY: The main thing is not to mess with God’s “babies,” whatever those babies might be. But remember, we are not the babies in this analogy, we’re just the pets.

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Precepts of Moderate Religiosity

Praying too little means you’re probably only praying when you need something.

Praying too much is disrespectful. You should pray more than you need to but less than you “have to.”

Make it special for Godsake!

Religion and edifying spirituality is the salt of the earth, not the dirt; it should not be everywhere all the time.

Turn the other cheek so the second punch misses.

It’s better to shop for churches than to go to just one.

All of the world’s Holy Books have many edifying qualities, and many, many stupid parts as well. See, ya gotta keep shopping.

It’s possible Jesus and others have been apotheosized into someone super-supernatural. But it’s a certainty that none of the Advanced Aliens believe in him. They might have their own. Point is, if any earthly entity has become godlike, its only in these parts. Not Andromeda. Those Crab Nebulans aren’t preaching our gospels, and why should they? ‘You gonna send a whole nebula to Hell?

The concept of hell need not be abandoned, just radically downsized. Hell is surgery not needless suffering. It makes things better or else God wouldn’t have made it. But its probably surgery without anaesthesia, so watch out.

The parts where Jesus sounds like a hippie are the best parts. But that still doesn’t make being a hippie the right way to go.

“This church is the only true one” is virus code.

Be fruitful and multiply has become virus code. It used to be good and therefore holy. But that was then.

The fruit by which ye shall know them is when they forbid you to look at the rest of the garden and they talk shit about it. That’s when you know your fruit has gone bad. And all fruit go bad.

That’s why you gotta keep shopping.

The World’s First Literary Review of the Bible

The Bible has been in print for over 1600 years and no one’s ever reviewed it. It’s been analyzed and expounded upon, criticized and interpreted, cut-and-pasted by Thomas Jefferson, but never reviewed.

Mark Twain can be said to have reviewed the Book of Mormon when he succinctly joked that it was “chloroform in print.” That is, his comment was not about the truth or falsehood or capacity for edification of the book, but rather–

How good a read is it?

The Bible is certainly not chloroform in print. Most of it is much better than that. But that’s a very low bar to set. One would think that a book purportedly written by God would be the most absorbing read in the world, a real page-turner.

And yet people have to force themselves to read it. Reading the Bible is more often done out of duty than desire. No one ever has to admonish their kids to “Stop reading what God says and get some sleep!” as they have to do with sci-fi books and random internet trash.

Which is not to say that it’s not interesting at all, or that kids are even smart enough to know what’s truly interesting. But it does illustrate the point that the Bible is not as good a read as a book actually written by God.

So while it far surpasses the lowest standard of judgment–it’s not chloroform in print–it does not pass the highest possible standard of judgment–is this as good as something that the Creator of this most interesting Universe would have authored?

Of course, this is an impossibly high standard that we never apply to any other books. No one ever opines that “Yeah, Huck Finn is a great book, but God would have written it much better.” That would be unfair criticism, and not very informative either.

Then again, neither Twain nor his classic nor his fans ever claimed it was written by God, as do many devotees of the Bible. It is proper to judge a book by what it purports to be. A fictional autobiography of Genghis Khan should sound and feel like something GK might have written or dictated to someone who was literate.

Fortunately for the Bible, it does not actually claim to be written by God. His by-line appears nowhere. According to the Bible, Isaiah was written by Isaiah, Mark was written by Mark, and the Torah was written by Moses. None of them were stenographers.

Thus, the Bible is best appreciated for its literary qualities when it is treated as a literary work and not a dictation from the Divine. A “realistic” view of the Bible affords a deeper appreciation of its poetry and prose than does an idealistic view of its authorship.

Appreciation deepens further when we also realistically acknowledge that the Bible is not really a book and neither are its components. It is a compendium of folios or pamphlets. And like all compendiums, it’s very uneven. Some of the folios achieve greatness, others fail, and knowing which is which (and that it’s OK even for believers to dislike certain folios) helps us better appreciate those portions that achieve greatness.

And here they are:

1)  Ecclesiastes.

By far the best pamphlet in the compendium. Certainly the best for reaching the minds of non-believers and existentialists. The Byrds made it into a number one pop hit and Strunk & White quoted it as perfect writing in their highly influential Elements of Style. It’s that good.

And even where the logic of the discourse sometimes fails to cohere, its poetic prowess usually overrides its logical deficiencies.

2)  Mark 2.0

(Meaning the Pamphlet of Mark as revised and added onto during the late Roman Empire, not the original Mark which ended abruptly at Chapter 16 verse 8, as proven by the Codex Sinaiticus from c. 350 AD as well as the Codex Vaticanus.)

The shortest of the four Unpurged Gospels and by far the best. Mark’s narrative moves; it doesn’t dawdle. Geneologies? No time for that! In fact, the reason Mark 2.0 is better than the original is that the original was too short. Great writers need great editors and Mark 2.0 has both. The Romans were right to produce an extended remix.

For it stands to reason that if writers and artists can sometimes be inspired by the Divine or by some Transcendental Mentality, then editors too can also be inspired sometimes. This is even more clearly illustrated in–

3).  The Longer Letters of Paul (Romans, Corinthians, etc.).

Paul’s letters often achieve and sometimes surpass the poetic greatness of Ecclesiastes. Paul was “on a roll” here and he knew it–that’s why these letters are so long. The problem is that Paul didn’t have an inspired editor. Or any editor at all. No one was presumptuous enough to cut down his text or add coherence to its logic.

Worst Pamphlets in the Bible:

1).  Revelations

2).  Genesis

‘Strange that the alpha and omega of the Good Book should suck so badly, each for different reasons. Normally you want to lead off and finish with your best, not your worst. How much better the Bible would have been without these literary clunkers ruining the beginning and the end!

Having Said That

I checked the Bible, the Bhagavad-Gita and the Koran, and God never uses the expression “Having said that.”

Why everyone else seems to be saying it is one of the mysteries of existence.

Cima_da_Conegliano,_God_the_Father_JokeIt’s hard to think of any great statements from history that would be improved by adding on a “Having said that,”:

MLK-having-said-that-jokeIf “having said that” does not improve any statement, why is everyone having said it?

And if “Not having said that,” makes no sense, what are we really saying by its opposite?

If it means anything, it’s a backtrack phrase, really–a slight retreat on one front so as to consolidate the overall import of the statement.

On the other hand, there’s a guido TV weatherman in Orlando who uses “having said that” as a verbal segue bridging tonight’s lows and tomorrow’s highs with the seven day forecast. No semantic content at all: “Having said that, I now say this.”

I suspect that the phrase in question makes people feel important or authoritative when they say it, and that’s part of its recent popularity. As if: I’m so important and informative even the modulations of my opinions are worth discussion.Nathan.Hale-Having_said-that_joke

The Gospel of Your Pet

I think my cat is gorging and vomiting up food for the neighbors and the strays so as to “win friends and influence [peers].”

Nobody can eat FIVE cans of Fancy Feast ® a day, plus some assorted low-grade cat food for good measure. That’s $100 a month or more!

And what am I getting for it?  Cuteness?!

I stopped leaving food outside for him at night a long time ago, although I can tell that he wants me to keep doing that.  But why should I feed the ‘possums and the strays or even his own ill-conceived so-called “families”?

So what if he might have sired kittens with some “lynxy-looking” pussy?  ‘Not my problem! Those ill-conceived kittens are on their own, Buddy boy! I can barely afford you!

Even if he doesn’t have any offspring that he’s secretly trying to feed, he shouldn’t be distributing my largess to Un-Worthies—i.e., cats I don’t want to adopt, which is all of them except him. The problem really is a distributional one—the stupid cat doesn’t know how to share!

Perhaps it was the booze, but tonight I let him have a bowl of wet food outside and said: “Ok Buddy, tonight you’re the ‘rich guy’—tonight you’re the one who hosts the party and shows off and everyone ‘loves’. Enjoy it.”

Because you know damn well I ain’t doin’ this every night! Forget that!

And then I suddenly realized that this is exactly how God could feel about me or any of us if he wanted to be a hard-ass about it.

And maybe that’s why He is such a hard-ass sometimes.

Oops–I mean, “amen”–those are sort of opposites, and yet synonymous too in a strange way.