Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Demon Barber of Fleet Enema

 Matt "Bam Bam" Barber was, as you probably recall, an obscure employee of Allstate Insurance, until he started writing anti-gay jeremiads on the internet, and the Good Hands dropped him like a hot rivet.  Naturally, he was scooped up by the loving arms of Professional Homophobia, and now spews his santorum  from a doubly secure double sinecure:  "Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action and...Associate Dean and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Liberty University School of law. In addition to his law degree, Matt holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Regent University."  (Matt obtained the MA when he went to collect his BS, and they asked him if he'd like to Super Size it.)

Since taking up residence at Jerry Falwell's diploma mill in Lynchburg, Virginia, Bam Bam's harangues have taken on a more bible-banging fervor, even when writing for the relatively secular (or at least non-sectarian) Townhall, and has now reached the point where his average column sounds like any random pull quote from Elmer Gantry.  But this week Bam Bam has pulled off a masterstroke, turning the atheists' love of unholy science against them, by enlisting Albert Einstein in his army of Christian soldiers.
The Folly of God-Denial
Every year secular-“progressives” and obnoxious atheist pressure groups exponentially ramp up demands that all traces of Christianity be purged from the public sphere; particularly at Christmas time. This is like demanding the abolition of penicillin during an outbreak of Typhoid Fever.
Unfortunately, the Constitution mandates a separation of church and antibiotic. But the next time you come down with typhus, Matt, by all means, feel free to take an intravenous creche.
Albert Einstein, who is often falsely characterized as having been an atheist, once said of non-believers: “The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who – in their grudge against traditional religion as the ‘opium of the masses’ – cannot hear the music of the spheres.”
Einstein also said (in the same interview from which Matt will shortly be quoting):

"My own career was undoubtedly determined, not by my own will but by various factors over which I have no control--primarily those mysterious glands in which Nature prepares the very essence of life, our internal secretions."

"It may interest you," [the interviewer] interjected, "that Henry Ford once told me that he, too, did not carve out his own life, but that all his actions were determined by an inner voice."

"Ford," Einstein replied, "may call it his inner voice.  Socrates referred to it as his daimon.  We moderns prefer to speak of our glands of internal secretion.  Each explains in his own way the undeniable fact that the human will is not free."

So Einstein didn't believe in free will (something he says several times in the interview), but he does believe that his destiny could be foretold, if not by an astrologer, then certainly by an endocrinologist.  The point being, given how often Einstein was interviewed from 1916 on, you could probably piece together quotes that would have him seemingly endorsing homeopathic medicine, the Church of Scientology, or Applebee's new Sizzling Skillet Fajitas.
Although there is no evidence that, in life, Albert Einstein accepted the lordship of Jesus Christ, when asked if he believed in Jesus the historical figure, he responded: “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
Well, not to get nit-picky, but seeing as Bam Bam's already gotten cherry-picky, I'll just point out that there's no exclamation point in the original interview.  And the quote continues, "How different, for instance, is the impression we receive from an account of legendary heroes of antiquity like Theseus.  Theseus and other heroes of his type lack the authentic vitality of Jesus."

So Einstein thought Jesus was livelier than that guy who sneaked around labyrinths with a ball of yarn and sucker-punched Minotaurs.  Still, it's only one man's opinion that Christ had more "authentic vitality," not settled fact, so in the spirit of fundamentalist demands that science courses treat creationism and evolution as equally plausible, I think Sunday Schools should "teach the controversy," and let the kids decide if they want to worship the pacifist hippie, or the dude who decapitated a giant bull-man and killed Mickey Rourke in 3D.

As we mentioned, Bam Bam is quoting from interview that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post (October 16, 1929), which Einstein granted to George Sylvester Viereck, a German-American poet who also interviewed (and defended) Hitler, and who was later convicted of being a Nazi agent.  Viereck does bring up Jesus quite a bit in the piece, but he also asks Einstein if he thinks of himself as a German or a Jew, and whether he believes in assimilation.
"We Jews," Einstein replied, "have been too adaptable.  We have been too eager to sacrifice our idiosyncrasies for the sake of social conformity."

"Perhaps assimilation makes for greater happiness."

"I do not think so," Einstein replied.  "Even in modern civilization, the Jew is most happy if he remains a Jew."
So there we go.  In the same interview in which Einstein affirms a belief that Jesus was a historical figure, he also rejects assimilation into Christian society, let alone conversion.  But Bam Bam draws a different conclusion:
I write this with complete confidence: Albert Einstein presently acknowledges the deity of Jesus Christ. 
I write this with even greater confidence: Albert Einstein is dead (as is Jesus, so admittedly they have that in common), and is therefore not presently endorsing anybody's claim to godhood.  Unless what Bam Bam means is that Einstein, because he didn't "accept the lordship of Jesus Christ," realizes that he screwed up by being a Jew, because he's presently roasting in hell (but still has the graciousness to admit it was a fair cop).
Still, the mere belief in a creator God, or an admission that Jesus walked the earth, is altogether insufficient to recompense the debt owed for the fruits of wickedness, sown and harvested throughout our lives. As James 2:19 declares: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”
Yep.  Einstein is roastin' in hell.  Even worse, he's still getting calls from collection agencies.
So there is a question of principal importance to every human, and it is this: Is Jesus who He claimed to be: God, Creator of the heavens and earth; the singular path to salvation? Or was He something else? As with any yes-or-no question, there is a yes-or-no answer. There must be.
This seems like it ought to be a multiple choice, rather than a True or False quiz.
As author and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis observed...
 Sigh.  Here we go again...
...Christ could have been only one of three things: A lunatic, a liar, or – as He often claimed and as billions have believed – the sovereign Lord and Creator of the universe.
Or he could have been -- misquoted.  So four things.  Or exploited after his death by a group of men who may themselves have been either sincere lunatics or cynical opportunists, but who clearly had their own agenda.  So five, he could only have been one of five things.  Or maybe he was a wholly fictitious mascot for a New and Improved brand of religious doctrine, like Betty Crocker or the Quaker Oats guy.  So six.  Six tops.
The Bible is one of two things: it’s either simply an ancient text chock-full of creative tales and loose philosophies no more relevant to our daily lives than a Tony Robbins self-help book, or it is what it says it is: the inerrant, inspired Word of God. It can be nothing else.
Now replace the word "Bible" with "Koran" and run the test through the Scantron machine again.  Then try it with "Book of Mormon," "the Veda," "the Avesta," and, just so we have a control group, Jim Bouton's Ball Four.

34 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Then try it with "Book of Mormon," "the Veda," "the Avesta," and, just so we have a control group, Jim Bouton's Ball Four.

Do not taunt the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Scott.
~

Cole said...

It may be more effective for him to take his creche as a suppository.

Just saying.

Cole said...

Is Harvey who He claimed to be?

That's a simple Yes or No question, folks.

He could have ONLY been three things: A lunatic, a liar, or a púca crushing on James Stewart.

(The option that Harvey was merely a character in a film script about an alcoholic trust-fund kid is not in play here. The Vitality of Harvey comes through much stronger than any Power Ranger or Meg Ryan character, so, ipso facto, Harvey must be considered a historical figure.)

Thorlac said...

That is true, Cole, and it is also why I wear a set of bunny ears wherever I go. Praise Harvey!

Chris Vosburg said...

Matt Barber writes of: Albert Einstein, who is often falsely characterized as having been an atheist

Much of Matt's dilemma has to do with the fact that "jew" is an ethnographic designation, as well as one of religion. You can be a jewish atheist, but you cannot be a christian atheist or a catholic atheist.

Like Einstein says, there's a ring of truth in historical record of the existence of a fella called Jesus of Nazareth, who traveled long and far to the east, and came back with a brand new concept: treat each man as your brother; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Unless I'm very much mistaken, that's buddhism talking. The son of god and loaves and fishes stories sound like hokum, and I note are not attributed to jesus himself.

I'm absolutely in love with Einstein's evocative eloquence in discussing this, and if anyone could link me to the interview Matt discusses, I'd be grateful. Einstein on fanatical atheists, and I think he's talking more about fanaticism than atheism: "They are creatures who – in their grudge against traditional religion as the ‘opium of the masses’ – cannot hear the music of the spheres.”

Awesome. Absolutely awesome. A philosophical concept that has to do with (among many other things!) hearing a root, third and fifth of a chord struck on a piano and saying, yes, that it pleasing, it makes sense, and at the same time realizing it is the mathematical relationship and an internal desire for logic in the human character that makes it so, has just been applied to religion. Einstein, you such an Einstein!

Incidentally, stripped of "glandular secretions", which sounds ickily like lines out of Sterling Hayden's monolog in Dr Strangelove, Einstein is simply discussing the nature/nurture question, in 1920's terminology. Long story short, it's the question of to what extent character is determined by genes as opposed to upbringing, or environment. The argument rages on-- of course.

And lastly, laugh if you want, but for me, the best thing Albert Einstein bequeathed to us is not the many unravelings of physics or mathematics, but the simple reminder that it is so good, so very very good, to wonder.

Again: to wonder. He did it every second of every day he lived, and I wonder (yes, ha ha) sometimes if this is not atrophying in the human character.

In Matt Barber, I know it has disappeared entirely.

Jim Donahue said...

Chris--There's a PDF of the original interview here: http://bit.ly/xOh9O9

Anonymous said...

Hmmm....since Einstein was a Jew (and proud of it, apparently), it's a stretch to think he accepted "the divinity of Jesus." After all, they Jews didn't think too much of Jerusalem Slim back in the day....and they still don't think he was the Messiah...

But I guess things like that don't bother our Xristian...y'know, things like facts or larnin'....

Aaron said...

Well, I've long believed that Jim Bouton's Ball Four is the inerrant, inspired Word of God, so it's not really a fair comparison. For example, the scene where Mickey Mantle staggers up to the plate, utterly hungover and probably seeing the pitcher throw three balls, hits a home run, and (now happily back in the dugout) tells Jim "Nobody knows how hard that was." - well, if you don't see the hand of the Almighty in that, then I don't know what.

Chris Vosburg said...

Thanks, Jim.

Your link opens a Google encased pdf, and I'll add a link to one not so encumbered: here. Highly recommended reading.

There is, in The Saturday Evening Post writer's style, a current of-- I don't know, intimidated by the interviewee, condescension, xenophobia, contempt--

He's all over the map, and I guess you hadda be there: global relations in the twenties.

Anonymous said...

While certainly praise¬worthy, killing Mickey Rourke (even in 3D) doesn’t really warrant worship!

Chris Vosburg said...

Last add:

I would give anything to have been there. Einstein was a affable physicist who liked to talk about his work.

You have no idea how rare that is. An old friend who worked at CalTech in the seventies once explained to me that among the various realms of science, well, biologists are the easiest to get on with on, and she worked her way up through anthropologists, etc, and to mathematicians and then to physicists, which she said were simply psychotics, though usefull and functioning psychotics.

Spearhafoc said...

George Sylvester Viereck also wrote a short vampire novel called House of the Vampire(although I use the word vampire loosely, as this one leached away people's ideas and artistic ability).

My drawing of the vampire in question: https://twitter.com/#!/Spearhafoc_/status/147738828143214592/photo/1

Carl said...

Scott, how much do those advanced degrees cost?

Cuz I purchased a "Philosopher King" title from the Universal Life Church, but I'm thinking I need a dignified degree to vet my bona fides.

Scott said...

It depends, Carl. A Masters is 10% off if you order before 11 AM (the "MA in the AM Deal"), while a Doctorate degree is a dollar more, but you can add small fries and a medium beverage for only 99¢.

Rebuscado said...

So Einstein says that God exist. And that proves...? Nothing.

"The Bible is one of two things (...) an ancient text chock-full of creative tales (or) the inerrant, inspired Word of God". Reading a few chapters of the bible will give you the right answer. And that is NOT the second option.

Chris Vosburg said...

Rebuscado says: So Einstein says that God exists.

No, Rebus, he doesn't, and you will never find an incident of him explicitly saying so. His most famous statement "God does not play dice with the universe" is a perfect example: He was criticizing the holes in quantum physics theory at the time, which left so much to apparently random behavior.

In this, he invokes god as I often do: a placeholder for unseen and imaginary forces which seem to work for or against us.

You don't need to be a deist to use the common phrases "thank god", "god help me", "as god is my witness", "god looks after fools", etc, or a christian to say "jesus fucking christ, what a maroon", or for that matter "goodbye", which is simply a diminutive of the phrase "god be with you".

And of course "he tampered in God's domain", which means he simply shouldn'ta oughta go there and do that.

Oh, this is too good not to share: the "verify word" required to post this comment is "agodst". See, there it is: god, are you talking to me?

Chris Vosburg said...

STOP TALKING, CHRISV!

Chris Vosburg said...

Scott writes: It depends, Carl. A Masters is 10% off if you order before 11 AM

You must act now, not sold in stores!

Yeah, you nailed it. Liberty and Regent Universities might as well award "Master of the Universe" degrees, for all they're worth.

ChrisV, MU. Pretty impressive, huh?

Scott said...

I think from now on, protocol should demand that we address Chris -- at least on formal occasions -- as Engineer Vosburg, MU.

Keith said...

Would you buy auto, home or life insurance from this poor Bam Bam thing? What is the point to his rant? That a Jew reads the New Testament for culture points? I've read most of it. Big frackin' deal.

I'm going to Applebee's tonite for their new Sizzling Skillet Fajitas. I hope Bam Bam isn't there.

Chris Vosburg said...

Scott suggests: Engineer Vosburg, MU.

Oh man, I'm getting the new business cards made up immediately. The whole deal of honorifics reminds me that I have an attorney friend who appends "esq" to his name on the card, which he does for the same reason I would: it's a silly anachronism which he can't resist poking a little fun at.

Jay B. said...

The Bible is one of two things: it’s either simply an ancient text chock-full of creative tales and loose philosophies no more relevant to our daily lives than a Tony Robbins self-help book, or it is what it says it is: the inerrant, inspired Word of God. It can be nothing else..

It's amazing. This is, in almost every way true. And yet, the remarkable, truly remarkable, thing is that he thinks the self-evidently obvious answer is the second part. Hell, most Christians would think that a modified version of the first part: That the Bible is an ancient text filled with wisdom (and insanity) and wonder that offers us a complex, wholly radical and oft-baffling worldview that offers us SOME comfort and relevance to our daily lives, so long as we overlook certain things and read the passages that support our own belief system.

Kind of like "Based on a True Story" doesn't really mean it's a true story. It just has some basic connect to it.

Chris Vosburg said...

Jay B writes: And yet, the remarkable, truly remarkable, thing is that he thinks the self-evidently obvious answer is the second part.

Yeppers; it's as if you're confronted with a toilet which continues to run long after the flush and concluding well, it can only be one of two things: (a) either the stopper isn't seating properly or (b) a family of invisible aliens has taken up residence in my toilet tank and they need the water and going with (b).

Chris Vosburg said...

I've described this elsewhere as "Occam's Clown Hammer."

mndean said...

Ooh, a Beefheart reference!

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

If Vosburg can be a Master Of The Universe, then I'm dropping my B.A. for a BMBITFU: Biggest Meanest Bitch IN The Fucking Universe.

If I were ever brave, physically-able and stupid enough to go back to substitute-teaching, that would HAVE to garner me at LEAST an extra 20 bucks a day.

(And yes, I do realize that there are probably hundreds or thousands of women "bigger" (taller, broader, fatter and stronger) than I am, but when it comes to pure-dee BITCHITUDE, who's really going to challenge me for the title? Randy Savage is dead and Miss Elizabeth overdosed on coke.)

Oh, yeah, btw: Bam Bam must die. No ifs, ands, or hairy man-butts about it.

The Red Badger of Courage said...

Every year secular-“progressives” and obnoxious atheist pressure groups exponentially ramp up demands that all traces of Christianity be purged from the public sphere; particularly at Christmas time. This is like demanding the abolition of penicillin during an outbreak of Typhoid Fever.

Wouldn't it be more like abolishing sewage water during a typhoid outbreak?

delfinclutch said...

The Eleventh Commandment: Smoke 'em inside.

trashfire said...

Where did Jesus claim to be God?
He claimed to be the Son of God, and that anyone could be the Son of God if they do right and teach others. The idea that Jesus was divine in some way that no one else is or ever could be appears to be as bogus as the idea that Mary Magdalene was a sex worker.

Rebuscado said...

trashfire: Jesus is the Son of God, but also is God, because God is a Trinity: God Father, God Son and the Holy Spirit. Three-in-One. You can't argue with that. The Christians' Invisible Friend is MAGICAL!!!

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

Invisible Flying Sky Friend Up In The Clouds, (TM) with optional clear-acetate Walking On Water (C) foot attachments when those Jeebus Sandals get heavy on his flat, no-arch Ken Doll feet. Talk about a heavenly foot spa!

Aunt Snow said...

Or he could have been -- misquoted.

Or just totally taken out of context.

Carl said...

I'm in a quandary. I love my Lord Jesus with all my heart and all my soul, and I love my Albert Einstein.

Now, Einstein acknowledges the existence of Jesus, like the neighbor down the block acknowledges my existence. I must prove my deity to him, however.

So I suggest my neighbor and I have a wrestling match, best of three falls, pin or submission. That Girl Scout doesn't stand a chance!

Christine said...

OMG this guy is insane. The term fruitbat comes to mind. As for Einstein's quote "No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus.", who knew that if you read a bunch of books about a guy, that he would be actually BE IN IT? Duh! I read a book about Abraham Lincoln once, and he was everywhere in that. That doesn't make him my lord and savior!