Archive for the ‘The Longest Con, Miscellaneous’ Category

Avoiding Stranger-Danger

“It is a tiresome meme that people in the North are “colder” than people in the South. And yet I have lived in a southerly place where you call everyone “my brother” whilescrewing him over, and I fail to see why the verbal affection makes the con any better. I am Nordic enough to prefer […]

Uterine Economics

A certain cartoonist has a character officiating at a wedding to join together this womb and mammon in holy matrimony. There is more to this than standard Spoonerist goofing-around. For it is often asserted that the etymology of word “woman” is in fact “womb-man”, although I do not think that anyone has hitherto attempted to […]

A Hygienic Model Of Religion

William H. MacNeill suggested long ago that avoidance taboos, such as the Indian caste system, originated when one group penetrated a new ecological niche that contained parasites to which it had no resistance. In the same spirit, Corey Fincher has recently hypothesised that religions are rational responses to the threat of disease. It was indeed […]

Fifteen Minutes Of Fame On Olympus

Perhaps we have misunderstood the nature of the Olympic pantheon. Perhaps the Greeks were actually monotheists or materialists, and all those stories about gods and goddesses were actually based on real-life terrestrial celebrities – singers, athletes and party girls – whose doings were very loosely reported by Hesiod Magazine and its rival Homer!

Facing Up And Trying Again

I am given to understand that the Wiccans believe in an afterlife accounting for one’s deeds, with absolutely no way out of it for anyone. Such a belief is only tolerable when combined with reincarnation, so that one may expect to be given a severe wigging and be sent back to try again; and that […]

Getting Rid Of Our Sins

When asked why he had converted to Catholicism, G.K. Chesterton replied, “To get rid of my sins”. This is refreshingly concrete in comparison with all the wuffle you get from some other quarters, about “spiritual dimensions” and so forth. It goes well with the Catholic Church’s treatment of sins as specific acts, which cuts through […]

The Time-Lagged

There is a phenomenon that many people may have experienced without having consciously noticed it, or perhaps been subliminally disturbed by without being able to put words to: namely the way some Christians seem to be constructed with a time-delay, so that when you say something to them, the answer seems oddly belated. It is […]

The Devil Contradicts Me By Quoting Scripture!

The term “fundamentalism” is supposedly derived from a belief in the “fundamental” inerrancy of Scripture. It is not obvious precisely in what way the noun “inerrancy” is qualified by the adjective “fundamental”, but there is a greater problem still with this biblical rigorism. Namely, that many fundamentalists do not appear actually to believe in inerrancy […]

Protestants As Crypto-Muslims

Even when left to themselves – that is, even when not made even more ignorant by lazy journalists – Westerners assume that the Koran is the Muslims’ Bible and that Mohammed answers to the Christian Jesus. In fact it is the other way round: the Koran is the equivalent of Jesus and the Bible of […]

Distance Lends Clarity To The View?

They told us, in Sixth Form Classics and University alike, that we should read Plato and Aristotle as vital milestones in the history of thought. Just how well our teachers understood their own history is demonstrated by the fact that they never told us how, for almost all the intervening centuries, these thinkers were known […]