Alan Perlman's Blog (90)

Happy 4/20!

Thousands of years ago — in times we are fond of calling ‘primitive’ (since this renders us ‘modern’ without having to exert ourselves further to earn this qualification) — religion and medicine were united in an undifferentiated enterprise; and both were closely allied with government and politics — all being concerned with maintaining the integrity of the community and of the individuals who were its members. How did ancient societies and their priest-physicians protect people from…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 20, 2014 at 3:30pm — 3 Comments

Happy Easter, Bloody Easter

“In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,

You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade…

On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue, photographers will snap us

And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure…”

Irving Berlin

“They tried to nail him down, but he got away.”

Marquee outside church in Massachusetts

Well, it’s that day again, and our Greek Orthodox friends, as well as our Roman…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 19, 2014 at 7:00pm — 7 Comments

Another Passover, another celebration of non-deliverance; on not being a jerk

Imagine the religious principles which have, in fact, prevailed in the world. You will scarcely be persuaded that they are anything but sick men’s dreams.”



David Hume

Psrt I: The Non-Event

Another Passover is upon us. I’ve said just about all I can say about this holiday when Jews celebrate their founding myth, the…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 18, 2014 at 7:30pm — 4 Comments

The Battle for Zachary's Brain, VII: Counter-Church/The Absurdity of Jonah

There is nothing that is too obvious of an absurdity to be firmly planted in the human head as long as you begin to instill before the age of five by constantly repeating it with an air of great seriousness.

– Arthur Schopenhauer

Followers of the riveting “Zachary’s Brain” series of posts will know that the narrative is not a Gothic horror tale…but something that is just as disturbing: resisting the religious programming of a child.

His…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 14, 2014 at 3:00pm — 5 Comments

Say NO to "Noah"

Back in the day, a trip to my grandparents' row home in South Philly, for Passover or the Jewish New Year, was preceded by a family movie in Center City.  The theaters were huge and ornate -- not at all like your bare-bones cineplex; the movies were usually Biblical and always accompanied by chocolate covered cherries.

Of course, we saw Charlton Heston as Moses.  I think Ben-Hur got sneaked in there, as well as Israeli-themed movies like the heart-rending Exodus,…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 22, 2014 at 2:23pm — 19 Comments

Happy Hanukkah -- sort of

"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities."

 

Voltaire

“Hanukkah celebrates the triumph of tribal Jewish backwardness.”

Christopher Hitchens

“Hanukkah is…the Feast of Lights. Instead of one day, we got eight CRAZY…

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Added by Alan Perlman on December 1, 2013 at 7:30pm — 5 Comments

Are Holidays a Disaster?

"I choose to decline all invitations to a ghost's birthday party and to shun Christmas things as much as possible. I have no religious faith, I have no Christmas tree, and I want neither…and I don't believe I've missed a thing."

 

"... the willingness to do, in some form or another, what others have always done because of foundationless teachings that that is what we're all supposed to do," is "what aggravates me about holidays and…

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Added by Alan Perlman on November 16, 2013 at 7:30pm — 6 Comments

Get God out of Government!

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

-- Thomas Jefferson

 

Jesus H. Christ!!  I cannot believe that the Supreme Court is AGAIN about to debate the legitimacy of the spouting…

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Added by Alan Perlman on November 4, 2013 at 6:30pm — 6 Comments

Straddling the fence on superstition

My first choice, when I rag on religion, is Judaism, just because I know it first-hand.  Of course, there's always more to learn.  Through my current wife, I became aware of what goes on in Jewish enclaves/ghettos (depends on who's herding Jews together, Jews or gentiles) -- the threats, the ostracism, the mind control, the obsession with ritual (these people REALLY observe all the Sabbath and milk/meat separation rules, and it is a major…

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Added by Alan Perlman on October 31, 2013 at 1:00pm — 26 Comments

Thoughts of an Aug. 9 birthday child

“Hell no, we won’t go!”

60s anti-war slogan



It’s nice to have a birthday in the summer – guaranteed good weather (almost).  My early parties were well attended (everybody home from vacation) and outdoors.  But I know why seniors tend to disregard birthdays: as the number of enjoyed August 9ths gets more numerous, so does the number of anticipated August 9ths shrink.

As a speechwriter, I learned such obscure facts as my shared birthdate with Francis Scott…

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Added by Alan Perlman on August 9, 2013 at 1:30pm — 4 Comments

Categories of religious belief

In respose to a post about a pretty mediocre study of "types" of atheists (indeed all A/N belong to one of the six categories, antitheists," who regard religion as dangerous fantasy and warn of its many harms and evils), I posted the following categories of religous (non-)belief.  Readers are welcome to contribute/commment. 

My categories:

(1) atheist/antitheist/"ignostic" (doesn't care, doesn't worry about it)

(1a) work in progress - trying to free oneself from…

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Added by Alan Perlman on July 13, 2013 at 7:30pm — 2 Comments

The Battle for Zachary’s Brain, VII: Desecration

There is nothing that is too obvious of an absurdity to be firmly planted in the human head as long as you begin to instill before the age of five by constantly repeating it with an air of great seriousness. 

– Arthur Schopenhauer

 

Followers of the riveting “Zachary’s Brain” series of posts will know that the narrative is not a gothic horror tale…but something that is just as disturbing: resisting the religious programming of a child.

 His…

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Added by Alan Perlman on July 2, 2013 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Memorial Day 2013: Not for MY Freedom

"To lead an uninstructed people to war is to throw them away."

Confucius

“Youth is the first victim of war; the first fruit of peace.  It takes twenty years of peace or more to make a man; it takes only twenty seconds of war to destroy him.”

King Baudouin I of…

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Added by Alan Perlman on May 23, 2013 at 4:30pm — 8 Comments

Jewish Atheist spreads reason and heresy on the Net

I was contacted by www.askimo.com , a new internet portal featuring video interviews of experts talking on their field of expertise.  I decided that my field of expertise would be “what the Torah really says” (since I am one of the few laypeople who has actually bothered to find out), along with related questions about atheism, blasphemy and the “clear alternative to the Torah” (It's SCIENCE!). 

The questions were partly supplied by me, generally…

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Added by Alan Perlman on May 8, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Q&A: Jewish Atheist replies to Christian Atheist

In an email exchange, an old friend and fellow English-prof colleague wrote this:

"I know you're 'the Jewish atheist,' but don't you feel a strong sense of identification with the Jewish ethos, aside from religion? You've sought out Jewish wives, and friends to some degree could be, the way I might seek out writers as friends. I think of my former Catholicism not angrily but gratefully. When I grew up, I decided on my own that I didn't believe. But my Catholic education was excellent;…

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Added by Alan Perlman on May 2, 2013 at 12:23pm — 7 Comments

Why Religion Persists

Professionally I advertise myself as a “language expert,” which is quite accurate (see www.language-expert.net ), and I get a wide range of contacts from attorneys and private citizens regarding anonymous letters, plagiarism, contract interpretation, copyright infringement, and other issues where money, reputation, or something else of value is at stake. 

I also get questions about grammar and usage, which I answer gratis, just to…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 11, 2013 at 2:30pm — 32 Comments

The Apotheosis of Dennis Rodman

 “[People] make themselves believe that they believe.”

Michel de Montaigne

I first met this gangly man-child with a semi-Afro as a lukewarm Pistons fan in the late 80s. I started following the team. There was an ensemble cast, each member of which played his role perfectly.

There was Bill Laimbeer, the flopper, jersey-puller and all-around pain in the ass -- to opponents. Vinnie Johnson, nicknamed The Microwave,” because he could come off the…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 6, 2013 at 7:00pm — 2 Comments

Happy Easter, Bloody Easter

“In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade…

On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue, photographers will snap us And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure…”

Irving Berlin

“They tried to nail him down, but he got away.”

Marquee outside church in Massachusetts

Well, it’s that day again, and our Greek Orthodox friends, as well as our Roman Catholic brethren and sistren, are celebrating the…

Continue

Added by Alan Perlman on March 31, 2013 at 3:33pm — No Comments

Let my people go!

“Men create the gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regards to their mode of life.”

Aristotle



I have been hearing from people who have had to sit at Seders year after year, uncomfortably, stifling their inner thoughts about what nonsense this is, how tedious, what’s the point?  Early in her adulthood, my wife decided that THIS was the year she was going to stand up at a family Seder (with two rabbis present, mind you) and…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 30, 2013 at 10:10am — 2 Comments

Reply to Matthew's Bar Mitzvah Invitation (not sent)

I recently received an invitation to the bar mitzvah of the grandson of my first cousin; this ceremony is, as you may know, the induction of the youngster into Jewish adulthood. 

The invitation itself was colorful and cheery, produced, no doubt, with invitation-creation software and thus exhibiting neither coherence nor originality but just an electronic mad mix of fonts, patterns, and such, chosen from among an infinity of alternatives.

Strangely, the trifold invitation had a…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 17, 2013 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

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