Dracil’s BlogJournal

May 1, 2009

WWJD about waterboarding?

Depressing really.

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December 16, 2008

Evangelicals force leader to step down

Top evangelical resigns after backing gay unions

Well, looks like there’s still some hope for the evangelicals after all.

December 14, 2008

The Dark Jesus

Because I’m feeling lazy. :P

December 4, 2008

Prop 8 The Musical

Prop 8 The Musical.  It’s about 3 min long.  Contains quite a few big names in the cast.

While we’re at it, let’s ban divorce.

May 28, 2008

Left Behind Insurance

Wow.  Just Wow.

The sad thing is that there are people who would probably fall for this.  There are three sites.

The first is You’ve Been Left Behind.  They state:

We all have family and friends who have failed to receive the Good News of the Gospel.
The unsaved will be ‘left behind’ on earth to go through the “tribulation period” after the “Rapture”. You remember how, for a short time, after (9/11/01) people were open to spiritual things and answers. (We are still singing “God Bless America” at baseballs’ seventh inning stretch.) Imagine how taken back they will be by the millions of missing Christians and devastation at the rapture. They will know it was true and that they have blown it. There will be a small window of time where they might be reached for the Kingdom of God. We have made it possible for you to send them a letter of love and a plea to receive Christ one last time. You will also be able to give them some help in living out their remaining time. In the encrypted portion of your account you can give them access to your banking, brokerage, hidden valuables, and powers of attorneys’ (you won’t be needing them any more, and the gift will drive home the message of love). There won’t be any bodies, so probate court will take 7 years to clear your assets to your next of Kin. 7 years of course is all the time that will be left. So, basically the Government of the AntiChrist gets your stuff, unless you make it available in another way. You can also send information based on scripture as to what will happen next. Each fulfilled prophecy will cause your letter and plea to be remembered and a decision to be made.

“WHY” is one last chance to bring them to Christ and snatch them from the flames!

All for the low low cost of $40/year for the rest of your life.  And all you get is 150MB of encrypted storage and 100MB of unencrypted storage, and only 62 email recipients?  Why such arbitrary limitations?  I feel tempted to call out Poe’s Law on these people.  The PayPal link is very real though, so I’m tempted to call scam instead.  Especially since they don’t go into any details of how their system will even work.  I mean, seriously, if these people are “Christians” who really believe in the Rapture, they won’t be around when the Rapture arrives.  It’s also extra fishy that they decided to register their domain via domainbyproxy.

Now, the Post-Rapture Post at least is honest.

Just write your letter and it will be hand-delivered immediately following the exodus of the pure from the Earth. But you must be thinking to yourself, “How can the letters be delivered after the Rapture?” The answer is simple. The creators of this site are Atheists. That’s right, we don’t believe in God. How else would we be able to deliver your correspondence after the Rapture?

The emphasis is in the original text.  See?  At least that would work.  Costs range from $5 for a handwritten letter to $10 for a typed letter on resume quality paper to $800 for a medieval parchment.

The best one though is probably Rapture Letters.  Unlike all the others, this one is completely free.  And it operates off a dead man’s switch so it’s guaranteed (theoretically) to send the letters out should the owner disappear (whether via the Rapture or through physical death).  Now that’s the correct way to do things on the Internet.

Still, Pre-Tribulation Rapture beliefs are pretty hokey to begin with and these websites are a glimpse to the kind of life such beliefs entail.

May 24, 2008

The Holy Land Experience and other religious theme parks

Yeah, that’s as weird as it sounds.  It’s in Florida.  Why am I not surprised?  :P

I first read about it in the article The Crucifixion and Ice Cream.  Some interesting stuff there, like how The Holy Land Experience was originally meant to be a tool to convert Jews.  But it’s part of the Trinity Broadcasting Network now.

Amid cell phones ringing, video cams rolling and ice cream melting under the Florida sun, a blood-spattered Jesus stumbles through the crowd on his way to Golgotha, where nasty Roman soldiers strip him, nail him to the cross and crucify him—while perspiring tourists look on in Bermuda shorts. After the resurrection sequence, visitors applaud and line up for a photo op, not with Mickey or Minnie, but a disciple or bloody-handed yet friendly centurion. Welcome to Orlando’s most unusual theme park, the Holy Land Experience.

At first, I was thinking, only in America.  But that seemed unlikely, so I decided to check out some other major world religions.  Sure enough, they all have their own theme parks.

In Vietnam, for Buddhism, there’s the Suoi Tien Theme Park.  There’s also a Haw Par Villa (Tiger Balm Gardens) in Singapore.

In India, of course there is a Hindu Theme Park.

Finally, you can’t leave out the Muslims, and there’s an Islamic Theme Park in Malaysia.

May 20, 2008

Jesus vs. Satan or Flag Lapel Pins

Note who’s sporting a flag lapel pin.  :P

Seriously, the whole flag lapel pin thing is stupid.  The fact that so many Americans were whining about such empty symbolism says a lot.

May 17, 2008

Transformation Seminar with Ed Silvoso

The Transformation Seminar

I was one of the first one there since I’d arrived 30 minutes early (I would’ve gone later but the next Muni would’ve been 25 minutes later had I not gone on the one I did, and that was catching it close). It was really warm when I first arrived, but over the course of the seminar, it got cooler as there was a pretty nice breeze, which surprised me.

I like the fact that I recognized the opening song, We Are Hungry, which was a staple back when I went to IVCF. Joyce arrived sometime during the song. I didn’t recognize the second song though.

The two main speakers today were Ed Silvoso and Bishop Mclaughlin. While there was a video by Ed Silvoso at the beginning, I’ll begin with Bishop Mclaughlin since he was up for the majority of the morning segment.

Bishop Mclaughlin talked about the stuff he did in Jacksonville, Florida. Specifically, they bought this mall for $4 million and then put a lot of work renovating it and it’s now a $30 million mall called Kingdom Plaza. The main thing here is the huge church inside, but it also has a lot of mall staples like bowling alleys, gyms, restaurants, offices, etc. I think he mentioned how they employed some of the formerly homeless/drug addict types in the area too so it helped make the area better, not just financially, but from a social justice point of view. The theme here is that we need to build churches that the community would miss. By becoming part of the marketplace, you are able to actually outreach to other people.

This lead into Ed Silvoso’s talk for the second half of the seminar. It was material from his books, and was mainly about prayer evangelism, doing prayer walks, and basically transforming the marketplace. He has slides and videos on the Harvest Evangelical website if you want to look at them as they’re pretty much the same. But to summarize, simply being religious and preaching from the pulpit (clergy) will lead to failure. Instead, you need to actually go into the marketplace, but there can be nothing without religion either. You must have both. During Jesus’s time, this actually meant going to people’s homes, since a lot of homes back then were also shops. In modern times, it doesn’t necessarily require going out and being obnoxious at work. Simply praying and giving blessings to the people around you is incredibly helpful. One of the things they did was get everyone at a church to do prayer walks in their neighborhood. Basically go around blessing 5 houses to the left and 5 houses to the right of your own house every day. It’s very easy to do so anyone can do it. He shared a lot of stories about this, either in his talk, or from the videos he showed. Most of these were miracles-to-conversion stories (or coincidences if you’re a skeptic). One of the stories was how they prayed for a waitress at a restaurant which completely moved her because nobody had ever prayed for her before. She told the other waiters and they had like 8 conversions that night. Another story was how there was this gay parade in Argentina and at first they were discouraged, but they realized that they did ask for God for sinners. They basically asked the people at the parade for stuff Christians had done to them, which surprised people. They were tested and asked if the parade could go through them, and they said yes, and they used the opportunity to bless everyone that went through. One of the things he mentioned around this time is that Jesus never told sinners to repent in the Bible. The difference is that while Jesus did not approve of sin, he was reconciled with the sinners. Anyway, it was generally stuff like that.

After the event, Joyce met up with some people from her church and she got her book autographed by Ed. After we left, we went around blessing everything around us while in the car. Prayer driving. It was actually kinda fun. :)

My thoughts

To be honest, I was actually kinda critical for most of it. Both Ed and Bishop hold standard conservative Christian views. i.e. their example of Hawaii being a liberal state was that it had the first abortion clinic, and they referenced the recent same-sex marriage ruling in California as bad, along with the obvious asking for sinners and being caught in the gay parade. He was also a McCain supporter as he talked about how it was great that Pawlenty would probably be his VP. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’d know I generally have a more liberal view on these issues. :P

But I really liked his point about about being reconciled with sinners. It showed a different mindset than the standard fire-and-brimstone “Repent or you are going to hell” type stuff I would’ve expected from people who held those views. The thing about Jesus never asking sinners to repent was useful info too.

I also noticed a contradiction about what he said. He divided the chapters in Luke into a hostile spiritual climate phase, and a favorable spiritual climate phase, with chapter 10 telling us to go out to the field and harvest people. One of his points was that Jesus was casting out demons in the first half, but no longer needed to do so in the second half. But one of the lines he did not quote from the second half mentioned that Jesus was actually still casting out demons. Not a big deal, just something I noticed.

Bishop Mclaughlin was the standard charismatic preacher type. Kinda like Jeremiah Wright, but more sane. :P That means they speak faster and faster and louder and louder until they reached a climax. This also means that it tended to get a little long-winded. Much of the audience really got into it, with lots of approving shouts and mutters, people raising their hands up spontaneously and shaking their hands or head, and some crying. Yeah… that kinda stuff just doesn’t work for me. :P I did participate most of the time when asked to raise my hand or say something, but if it took too long, I started to feel a little silly. But sometimes it worked, like when we blessed the people around us, which I saw as a friendly, communal thing to do. I think it’s because my approach to faith is mainly intellectual rather than emotional, though I’ve certainly had a few emotional experiences.

There were a few things that the speakers said that I found rather odd. In one example, Ed talked about bringing a Mormon to the kingdom of God, essentially implying that Mormons aren’t Christians, which is certainly debatable. Bishop had an eyebrow-raising moment when he talked about genocide. By that, he meant the high incarceration rates of black men which leads to children being raised without their fathers which causes problems for them. I’m not convinced genocide is the proper word to use there. I can believe that racism has a lot to do with it, but I think it’s more of a self-perpetuating cycle now. Also, the video they showed with people going on prayer walks to help transform a crime-ridden neighborhood was done pretty much entirely by men. Where were the women? In one of their examples of success, they talked about how a small town was getting, among other things, national chains. Err… having lived in the liberal centers of the Bay Area for so long, I’ve generally seen people regard national chains as a bad thing. :P

Other happenings

For lunch, Joyce and I went to ZUNI Cafe as it had been recommended by the pastor of the church where the seminar was held, and Joyce had heard about it too. We got lucky and didn’t have to wait for a table. The group of 4 that came after us was told they’d need to wait 45 minutes. However, we did have to quite a while for our food, and they even came out to apologize to us twice, which we thought was a nice touch. It certainly contributed to their tip. :P The complimentary bread wasn’t that special. The rabbit salad was good, but I think Joyce didn’t like the onions on it. The pizza special was very good, probably because of the thin crust. The only bad thing was part of it was kinda burnt on one side. Finally, the shoestring potatoes I really enjoyed. Kinda expensive at $6 though. Our total including tip was $44, which wasn’t too bad. We ended up taking half an hour longer than we were supposed to, but I don’t think we really missed anything.

After the event, we went to Japantown to catch the last of the Asian Heritage Street Celebration. It’s too bad that a lot of the people were already packing up, but we did catch quite a few interesting things. The first thing we noticed were all the cars there, a few of which looked kinda cool (and expensive. We also got a free taste of Starbuck’s new Mint Moca Chip Frappuccino, as well as a sample of an incredibly expensive fruit blend health drink ($45 for non-members, $23 for members?! I’d rather get Jamba Juice). There were a couple live bands, including Random Ninjas, who I saw at my first real anime convention. :P I think I’d be more willing to get their CD if they just put more tracks on one CD. 4 song albums feel kinda meh to me. We had some bbq chicken and pork skewers for dinner from one of the stalls there. There was a registration drive by some Obama supporters.  When I told the girl I couldn’t vote when she asked if I could register, she just gave me a blank stare.  I guess that’s not a common answer.  :P  Though I did tell her that I’d vote for him if I could, and she thanked me for the support.  After that we explored the inside of Japantown. So Manga Cafe Mika is finally open. I think they reduced the price a little but the drinks aren’t free after all. Joyce was able to get one of her missing Detective Conan books from Kinokuniya. :)

May 13, 2008

CARM’s guide to Internet Apologetics

When this was posted, a lot of us thought this couldn’t be real, this must be Poe’s Law.  But nope.  They really do encourage this.

  1. Using the mouse to copy and paste
    1. It is easy to select the text with a mouse.   After selection the text by clicking and dragging, then right mouse click on the text.  A small window will open.  Click on “copy.”  Then go to your destination window, right mouse click and select “paste.”  The copied text will then be pasted where you need it.
  2. Using the keyboard to select, copy, and paste.
    1. You can select text by putting the cursor where you want it, holding down the shift key and pressing the arrow key.  Your text will become selected as the cursor moves through the text.
    2. Copy the text by hitting CTRL C.
    3. Once in the window you desire, CTRL V will paste the material into the window.
      1. Note:  By having your left hand on the keyboard, and with your thumb and forefinger (thumb on the “alt” key and the finger on the “tab” key, you can move between windows.

They truly have no shame.

May 12, 2008

Fundies: Obama is the 11th plague

This is so stupid it’s hilarious.

Some U.S. Christians are not reconciled to McCain’s candidacy but instead regard the prospective presidency of Barack Obama in the nature of a biblical plague visited upon a sinful people.

Now obviously, the interpretation they want is that the Obama Plague is God’s retribution on America for not picking Huckabee.

Well, he’s a plague all right.  He’s a plague on Republicans and conservatives for the sin of electing Bush twice.  :P

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