God Knows

God Knows, by Joseph Heller, is written in the voice of King David at the end of his life, as a kind of memoir. Entirely fictional, obviously, Heller’s book has the kind of humor you find in his well-known Catch-22, although it is most funny if you’re familiar with the Biblical account of David’s life.

Adding to the farcical effect, Heller’s David knows historical figures and events far after his lifetime and, in a particularly nice touch, cites the King James version of the Bible rather than any Hebrew translation. This is put to particular comic effect in an exchange between David and Jonathan as they puzzle over what a phrase as rendered by the King James Bible translators. I think this challenges assumptions about the Bible in the same way that Heller challenged assumptions about war and humanity in Catch-22. As a Jew, I think Heller has more license to challenge Jewish history with humor such as when he has Solomon telling David that he got a particularly good deal because he “Jewed them down.”

It isn’t all farce and humor, though. King David also considers the consequences of his decisions, from Bathsheba to the death of his son Absalom to the feeling that God had abandoned him later in life.
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God and baseball

Over at Defeating the Dragons, Samantha wrote a post in which she settles on God as a football coach to explain her faith.
With God as football coach, she writes, humanity is the team which carries out His divine directions but He is not an active participant in the game of life.
This works pretty well insofar as God doesn’t intervene to solve all our problems because humans, Christians in particular, are supposed to be representing God and following his ‘playbook.’

Here’s why it doesn’t work for me, although I want to be clear that this isn’t meant to recruit her or anyone else over to ‘my side.’ This is merely semi-coherent thoughts from my perspective. Continue reading

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Female Teachers Who Seduce Students

I keep track of The Thinking Housewife as a reminder that racism, sexism and religious intolerance still exist – pretty much the exact opposite of Libby Anne and Samantha.

One of the posts there was titled Female Teachers Who Seduce Students, wherein a reader asked

what explains the recent phenomenon of female schoolteachers who engage in sexual intercourse with their teenaged students?  This phenomenon started, as best I can remember, with Mary Kay Letourneau in the late 1990’s.  But in the past four or five years the trend appears to have really picked up steam, and each day seems to bring a new scandal involving a female teacher and a male student.  Why do these women do It? What are they thinking?  What is motivating them?

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Assorted tidbits about marriage

What do you know, Matt Walsh is wrong about marriage. I think listing subjects about which he is right might make for a less cumbersome list.

Anyway, so Libby Anne responded to Walsh’s post exhorting people to get married young. As is usual, my attempted comment started running into multiple volumes and so I decided to throw things here. The following is a collection of historical bits from various books I have read over the years and the sum paints a picture of marriage that doesn’t…quite…jive…with Walsh’s assumptions. I’ll add more as the spirit so moves me and I find new tidbits. Continue reading

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The nightmare of childhood

The perfect is the enemy of the very good. And while I doubt this post could be construed as ‘very good’, I’m finally realizing I’ll never get the ‘perfect post’ with the information that I found during my research following Adrian Peterson’s child abuse indictment.

Beware: this is really long.

I’ll begin by addressing Matt Walsh’s post on the whole affair because it is a pretty good example of the arguments made by spanking advocates.  Continue reading

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The role of women in Christianity and Rome

Having finished Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff, I have revised my ideas on early Christian misogyny and sexual mores. According to what I learned growing up in the church, Romans were notoriously immoral people. Sexually immoral, of course, but they were violent and pretty barbaric when it came to treatment of their own people. Continue reading

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Have you REALLY thought about it?

It’s a funny thing, about the internet. I couldn’t tell you how I stumbled onto the vast majority of what I find. In trying to figure out how and when exactly I started following Defeating the Dragons, it’s a bit hazy. I’m pretty sure I followed a link from LoveJoyFeminism at some point. And I found my way there via Pharyngula. No idea what first drew me to PZ’s blog, though.

In addition to following her blog, I follow Samantha on Twitter and she has complained of, on at least a couple occasions I’m aware of, internet atheists being total assholes (roughly paraphrased…)

It’s the latest of these that prompts a resurrecting, as it were, of this blog. Continue reading

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