God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos: he will set them above their betters.”
“If this is your God, he is not very impressive. He has many psychological problems; he’s so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes.… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on September 26, 2012 at 3:00pm —
“Remarks are not literature.” (27 characters) Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, 1933
Percentage of Americans under 35 who say they text, tweet or check their Facebook pages right after sex: 36. Harper’s Index, Feb. 2010
It is not too surprising that Twitter-hating has grown as fast as Twitter itself. I got over 450,000 hits for “I hate Twitter.” A shot at… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on September 22, 2012 at 1:30pm —
[Note: The following was written when I was an adherent of Humanistic Judaism. I have since left the movement and revised the post, but the basic ideas still apply.]
“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increased noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. Tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on September 19, 2012 at 10:37pm —
Good evening. Tonight I speak, as always, to my fellow Americans…but also to the entire Muslim world, from those who think theirs is a religion of peace…to the perpetrators of the ongoing insanity of blasphemy laws, jihads, and fatwas – all of you who call yourselves Muslims.
I want to talk to you about the recent resurgence of Muslim insanity. Actually, most of Islam is insanity, but the same is true of all religions, and that’s beside the point.
Sometimes Muslims just go… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on September 14, 2012 at 3:00pm —
"I called to him, rapidly stating what it was I wanted him to do—namely, to examine a small paper with me. Imagine my surprise, nay, my consternation, when without moving from his privacy, Bartleby in a singularly mild, firm voice, replied, ‘I would prefer not to.’
I sat awhile in perfect silence, rallying my stunned faculties. Immediately it occurred to me that my ears had deceived me, or Bartleby had entirely misunderstood my meaning. I repeated my request in the… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on September 12, 2012 at 11:21am —
Of the many, many things there are to know about 9/11, here are three that I hang on to. Other suggestions are welcome. What is not fact about 9/11 is voluminous: the Jews did it, the government did it, they hate our freedoms, etc., etc. But here are three (proposed) facts:
(1) The horror could have been prevented. Every indication is that the government knew about Muslim men being trained to fly planes. It is common knowledge… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on September 10, 2012 at 10:00pm —
“No child should predecease their parents. I remember what it’s like (PAUSE). It brings back (PAUSE)…It brings back memories…that call, out of the blue.”
Why is football still legal? It’s a serious question. Why maintain, nay, lionize a pastime that wrecks bodies and minds?
A century ago, Teddy Roosevelt, that manliest of… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on September 8, 2012 at 10:30am —
“God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos: He will set them above their betters.”
“I find it necessary to wash my hands after I have come into contact with religious people.”
Recent A/N threads have generated much thoughtful… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on August 25, 2012 at 5:02pm —
“..a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them free to otherwise to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”
Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801
There’s no debate about what “religious… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on August 19, 2012 at 1:00pm —
“If God wants us to do a thing he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him.”
“I cannot believe in a God who has neither humor nor common sense.”
W. Somerset Maugham
Followers of the riveting “Zachary’s Brain” series will remember that Zach is my 6-year-old stepson (7 this month) whose task of configuring the world – his… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on August 10, 2012 at 8:30pm —
“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… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on August 8, 2012 at 5:30pm —
Another A/N blogger, Richard Goscicki, has eloquently written on the connection between religion and the destruction of our planet. Let us count the ways.
Time is wasted in religious ritual and obsessing over ancient texts. Religious wars and terrorism carry on a constant slaughter of humans and destruction of resources. Religious teachings – that contraception is wrong, that man is not descended from animals but is special, that we are meant to have total dominion over nature…all… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on August 2, 2012 at 7:30pm —
(Several years ago, I undertook to read the Torah. For specific reasons, see below. But basically I wanted to find out, to my own satisfaction, just what it said, to the extent possible, given that it's such an ancient text that's been repeatedly copied and edited.
To rabbis, thus to most Jews, it is a repository of priceless wisdom. I set out to find it.
What I found was both enlightening and disappointing. … Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on July 30, 2012 at 3:30pm —
“Here’s an object more of dread / Than aught the grave contains – A human form with reason fled / While wretched life remains.”
Abraham Lincoln, letter to Andrew Johnson, Sept. 6, 1846
A heavily armed man explodes a gas canister in a theater, then opens fire, killing a dozen, wounding many more. Again, Colorado and the nation are in shock. The eternal gun debate, which Obama had been keeping quiet, explodes, four months before an election. There’s… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on July 27, 2012 at 12:30pm —
“CLERGYMAN., n. A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of bettering his temporal ones.”
We're just on the verge of a little known but very sad Jewish holiday, Tisha B'Av [the ninth day of the month of Av; July 27-8 this year], which commemorates the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, including, but not limited to, the destruction of the First and Second…
Added by Alan Perlman on July 25, 2012 at 1:00pm —
“I used to think my brain was the most wonderful organ in the universe. Then I realized who was telling me this.”
(From a fictional exchange between two extraterrestrial intelligent machines, regarding the dominant life-form on Earth:)
“So…what does the thinking?”
“You’re not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat.”
“Thinking meat! You’re asking me to believe in… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on July 19, 2012 at 8:00pm —
"As a beautiful flower that is full of hue but lacks fragrance, even so fruitless is the well-spoken word of one who does not practice it."
Informed of a former colleague’s decision to have a bar mitzvah in middle age, I can’t help but look for reasons, since the ceremony is completely optional at this point in life.
For a complex variety of reasons, many of them personal, some Jewish adults genuinely want to reconnect with their… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on July 18, 2012 at 10:00am —
The most questionable part of Romney is not his ethics, or whether he created or destroyed jobs. It's his religion. A President's religion, if's he's a true believer, influences the way he sees the world and makes decisions. Did Dubya think God told him to invade Iraq? To what extent does Romney believe all that nutty Mormon stuff?
I was recently fortunate enough to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon, courtesy of the Marriott Residence Inns. … Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on July 10, 2012 at 10:30am —
Infidel, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.”
It would be great to have reliable numbers on religious migration: how many people change religions each year, how many become new adherents, how many drift away, never to return?
Increasing the ranks
Different religions have different ways of increasing their ranks: birth rate (e.g., all… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on July 5, 2012 at 7:00pm —
(The following was originally submitted to the July 1-4 2008 Blogswarm against Theocracy. I have made some additions and revisions. Since my goal is always change in the real world, I urge you to take personal action to roll back religious bigotry and superstition. First Freedom First is a good place to start.)
“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on July 4, 2012 at 8:00pm —