Sunday 9 January 2011

Amazon Reviews And Christians

Oh dear, I've upset a fundamentalist or two. Plus had a pop at Sarah Palin. Before I meet my rightful fate and go on to burn in everlasting flames, let's have a bit of waffle about me and what I do and don't believe.

I'm an agnostic -- that means, for the rabid rightwingers out there, "not knowing". Oddly, the socialist scum and commie crazies tend to appreciate that and its difference from atheism, while the neocons and their camp followers lump it all in under the heading Ungodly.

I support people's right to believe whatever they want. You can worship a holy trinity, Buddha or a wide-mouthed frog as far as I'm concerned. All I ask is that you do good, don't do harm to others and don't approach me, touch my upper left arm and try to tell me about it. I'll accede to your tax breaks from charitable status, your louche behaviours and televised apologies, your praying on screen with a credit card donation number scrolling across the bottom - these are your rights in a civilised society. I'm even polite to Witnesses who disturb me.

Sidebar: the Mormons round here have started pairing an older man with an attractive (ish) young woman for their visiting teams. I'm still not biting but well done on the PR front, chaps.

Okay, back to the rant. The Bible. Especially the Old Testament. An interesting mix of ancient tribal legends, histories and myths. Yes, the rewritings of history have altered it in some bad ways but it's still a good read. It's especially good for picking out juicy bits - one of my favourites is 2 Kings 2:23-25: some little children accost Elisha ansd cry: "'Go up, you baldhead. Go up, you baldhead, whereupon Elisha cursed them in the name of God, and called two bears out of the forest that mauled the youths"

Nasty, we sons of satan say. manages to excuse it: Firstly, "little children" is a mistranslation and secondly Elisha couldn't call bears, it was God who did it.

Sorted, as we say in Liverpool.

And what about one of the most famous legends - Noah and the ark. Putting aside thoughts about the millions of drowned animals, including humans, it's a jolly tale - "the animals went in two by two, the elephant and the kangaroo" and all that. There's even a book by someone who built an ark according to the dimensions given in Genesis, and it floated, so that proved the whole story was true. (Shame that Genesis gives two sets of dimensions but who's being picky.)

Right, back to Amazon. Whilst looking at frauds perpetrated on the internet for some commonsense tips on avoiding internet scammers I was considering vanity publishers and came across Xlibris. That led me to an example sold by Amazon - God's Big Clean Up: The Story of Noah and the Ark [Paperback]: From the back cover blurb:

"This story introduces Noah to children of all ages. It teaches how obedience to God, saves Noah, his family and all the animals.
Follow Noah and all the animals in the ark, as they make the amazing journey, through God's BIG Clean Up!"

Given Genesis says nothing about God actually cleaning up those millions of rotting corpses, this is a little dishonest. Reading the rest of the description on how to indoctrinate your creationist child, I was moved to review the product.

"This is from Xlibris (a vanity publisher) -- presumably proper publishers wouldn't touch it. It's a cloying illustrated version of Noah's Ark for very young kids. If your children ask for it, slap them and read them a chapter or two from Trainspotting.

Sarah Palin probably owns a copy and thinks it's swell."

Now, in the last few days, I've had three anonymous idiots rate that as unhelpful. Mine was the first review this wretched effort had ever had so I was a little surprised. I've reviewed quite a few books on Amazon and my ratings are normally highly approved. I've recently rated Carl Hiaasen's Fairway To Hell, a jovial tale and one that is warmly approving of family life. So, thank you to "nate" for his helpful comment on my review:

"This is a well thought out and illustrated book. Obviously a person who admires Fairway to Hell, may find the suggestion of Obedience to God some what cloying.
However the Bible teaches that Love conquerors all, so I am sure if you actually get a copy. I am sure the Love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will meet you at the point of your need.

God Bless You."

Brilliant! Putting aside the poor grammar and dreadful capitalisation, don't you just love that comment about Fairway To Hell -- a book themed about golf! Nate has taken the trouble to look at the list of my reviews and seized a title that he thinks proves his point about my ungodliness, then he has the nerve to witter on about "Love" (or "love" as the AntiChrist would put it). Not read it, no, that would be too much for a Loving christian, not attempted to understand why I said what I said, not agreeing with my opinion that all should be free - no, hit that little coward's button and condemn me to fire and brimstone.

Mind you, I am pleased that he avoided the US spelling of Saviour - that does look daft.


Maxine said...

What was that about Noah and the Ark? I believe we are in great use of those dimensions & materials here in Queensland as we slowly go under water.

How was your Christmas?

Paul said...

Quiet but pleasant, thanks - how was yours?

It's God's vengeance for Pauline Hanson -- get building!

Maxine said...

Mine was quiet too, and very wet. I went to Toowoomba for a few days and it seems I left just in time.

(We try to forget Pauline Hanson here, though she has a tendency to still pop up in our news now and again :) )

Paul said...

My apologies for the joke - it was made when I didn't realise the extent of the floods. For up to date info and more, see

Lord Andrew of Goulding said...

May the wide-mouthed frog have mercy on you.

Maxine said...

No need for the apologies, I don't think any of us realised the extent until they hit Toowoomba and then got a bit too close to home for comfort when they reached Brisbane. I am in the lucky 25% of Queensland that was not affected. It was heartbreaking seeing everyday Australians lose everything they had. It's going to be a very tough year for them. Is this global warming or just a cyclic event? There's been some very extreme weather about the globe lately.

Paul said...

Glad you're safe. I suppose the Intelligent Designers are working on a rationale right now.

Lord Andrew, the wide mouthed frog is a vengeful frog, be very careful. He may only have a tongue to smite with but he smiteth exceeding hard.

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