I Was Here – Beyoncé

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Martin Luther’s Anti-Semitism

I’ve been listening to this audio book:

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

It’s a fascinating book. I highly recommend it!

There is no shortage of vivid descriptions of violence from mankind’s past and present. And of course, there is plenty that details the horrific torture, violence, and murder done in the name of religion.

Yesterday, I listened as the author quoted from Martin Luther and it struck me how, when I was a Christian, I was taught how wonderful Martin Luther was! He was the person who stood up against the Catholic Church and taught about the truth of salvation – that it is by faith alone!

So listening to his words yesterday about how to treat Jews really caught my attention. It doesn’t surprise me that Martin Luther’s views were whitewashed and then handed to me on a shiny platter by Christians: this practice is pretty much par for the course in modern Christianity.

Here is a link to some of Martin Luther’s views and advice on how Christians should treat Jews:

Anti-Semitism: Martin Luther: “The Jews and Their Lies”

Here is an excerpt:

First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly ­ and I myself was unaware of it ­ will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. (remainder omitted)

Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: “what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord.” Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people’s obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16 {:18], “You are Peter,” etc, inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach.

Fifth, I advise that safe­conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home. (…remainder omitted).

Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God’s blessing in a good and worthy cause.

Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strongJews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.

God’s Song

Nate at Finding Truth shared this song. Thought it was worth sharing here.

Finding Truth

Ran across this video today. I’ve been a big fan of this song for years — it’s one of the clearest and most succinct illustrations of the Problem of Evil that I’m aware of. I don’t know anything about the YouTuber that put these images to this song, so I can’t explain the meaning behind the first slides of this video. However, I think he did a great job putting this together. It’s chilling, really.

“God’s Song,” by Randy Newman

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Reading Right Now: The End of Absence by Michael Harris

I’ve started reading this e-book. Join in if you think it would interest you!

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris

the end of absence

I’ve been frustrated by my seeming inability to disconnect from constant interruptions lately. I’m definitely included in the generation that remembers a time without the internet and yet is fully immersed in it now.

I remember a time when I had an attention span and I miss it! Don’t get me wrong, I love technology! But I’m yearning to put it in its place a bit so I can stay connected with the real me that exists outside of all the modern noise. I want to develop the ability to be in silence again, to be alone with myself for long periods of time without grabbing my cell phone for the next hit of internet adrenaline. I want to be ok with being still again. I want to allow myself to get bored (is that possible???) and to find a solution in something that doesn’t involve pushing buttons or filling up the silence with some form of noise.

(I might exclude reading on my tablet from this because that is something I’ve loved doing my entire life and it does help me to reconnect with the real me – and it requires an attention span. And I love that e-books don’t use up trees and don’t take up space in my house and then need to be discarded later. So that’s my one exception.)

So this book looks like a great read. I want to embrace technology but in a more intentional way. I want to make conscious choices where possible about how much of my life I’m going to allow it to invade.

That’s all my rambling. Join me in reading it if you like!

If There’s A God – The Proclaimers

I came across this song today and I’d never heard it before. I only knew one Proclaimers song and was enjoying listening to their other stuff. Being an atheist, I already know my answers to the questions in this song (I don’t think there is a god), but I thought some of my readers might appreciate the song:

What Do Atheists Believe?

I really enjoyed this speech by Todd Stiefel at the Reason Rally. It’s worth 11 minutes of your time and you may even get inspired!

via io9