Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dave and Blarney Discuss Jesus

Blarney: I know why the Christians hate the Jews.
Dave: What are you talking about?
Blarney: Well, you know how Mel Gibson let out that anti-Jewish tirade? He's the one who made that movie about Jesus. The Jews killed Jesus and so Christians hate them.
Dave: Blarney, you are so confused. Jesus was a Jew and it was the Romans who killed him. If Christians should hate anybody, it would be the Italians, not the Jews. But Christians cannot hate either of them.
Blarney: Why not?
Dave: Because it was all part of a plan to redeem mankind from Satan. You see, my sins and your sins are what put Jesus on the cross.
Blarney: Sin is such an outmoded term. And who are you to call me a sinner? That's pretty intolerant, if you ask me.
Dave: I included myself in the sinner group and, in fact, listed myself first. We have all sinned and fallen short of God's standard. That's the whole point of redemption.
Blarney: What's so special about Jesus, anyway?
Dave: Well, Blarney, that is one of the central issues for Christianity. Is or was Jesus God?
Blarney: I'm not sure how to answer that. I wouldn't want to offend you.
Dave: It's really a simple question with only two possible answers. Is Jesus God?
Blarney: Well, I know that a lot of Christians think he was. I'm sure his followers at the time were really impressed.
Dave: Yes, Blarney, but the question is really about what you think. Is Jesus God?
Blarney: Well, aren't we all gods in some sense?
Dave: Answer the question. Is Jesus in the same class as the one true God? Is He the same as God?
Blarney: Well, the Jews and the Muslims don't think so. He was a great moral teacher, though.
Dave: Again, it isn't about what others think. It is about what you think. And Jesus could not have been a great moral Teacher if He were not God. Is Jesus God?
Blarney: Well, in the sense that you mean, I would have to say no. I'm sorry if that offends you.
Dave: I'm not offended, OK, so now let me ask you, did this Jesus, who is not God, think that He was God? Did He believe that?
Blarney: Well, how can you ever know what someone believes unless they tell you.
Dave: Work with me, Blarney. Do you think He believed He was God?
Blarney: Well, I can't really be sure, but I guess He did. I mean, yes.
Dave: OK, so this Jesus, who was not God, believed He was God. That makes Him insane, doesn't it?
Blarney: Well, maybe I was wrong. Maybe He really knew better, but just wanted to reinforce His teachings by letting people think so.
Dave: Sort of like Ward Churchill pretending to be an Indian so he could be an authority on Indian affairs?
Blarney: Yes, that's it.
Dave: Doesn't that make Him a fraud?
Blarney: You're being awfully judgmental.
Dave: See, Blarney, that's the point. Either Jesus was God, or He was insane, or He was a fraud. There is no other choice. "Great Moral Teacher" only applies if He were not insane and not a fraud.
Blarney: Ah, there's the flaw in your argument.
Dave: Excuse me?
Blarney: You assume that someone can't be a teacher if they are insane or a fraud. That's not true. Those are not things that disqualify an individual from teaching, or even being a college professor.
Dave: You can't be serious. And besides, the issue is not "teacher" but "moral teacher", even "great moral teacher."
Blarney: That's the trouble with you right wing types. You are so judgmental. We liberals would never stop someone from teaching just because they are insane or frauds.
Dave: {sigh}

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Things to Ponder

I was going to do a Dave and Blarney, but right now I am just in a random musing kind of mood. This post was triggered by something I heard on the radio. The weather forecaster said something about the "normal" rainfall for this time of year. Followed by a remark about the temperature being "higher than average" for this time of year. For some reason, I actually thought about what he said, instead of just filing it away in the recesses of my mind.
What exactly, is "normal" and "average"? Well, if you followed the links you see that one definition of "normal" is "average". And of course, you know that to determine an average, you add all the values and divide by the number of values (that, strictly speaking is the mean as opposed to the median). Anyway, the whole concept of mean and median is that some values are above and some values are below. That is, on any given day, the high temperature is either higher than, equal to, or less than the "average" high for that day. And this is somehow "news"?
That set me off on another silly phrase: "trade deficit". Or "balance of trade". The whole concept of "trade" as opposed to "theft" is that I give you something I value less than the item you have if (and only if) you value my item more than the one you already have. In any other instance, one or the other of us would have to resort to force, the threat of force, or deception. The whole concept of trade is that both parties are satisfied with the outcome. So then, how can you have a "trade deficit"?
Of course, what is usually meant is that we are buying more things than we are selling. In that regard, I have a deficit of trade with Wal-Mart. They have yet to buy anything from me (with the possible exceptions of items I returned because I already had one or wanted something else). And yet, I am not deprived. My stuff has increased. Stuff has value. I traded my money for it.
OK, that's all for now.