Friday, January 06, 2006

Religion In The News

I opened My Yahoo! this morning to find that religion has front-page status today with three different articles.

First up, an article about two stations' refusal to air the new NBC series, The Book of Daniel. I've been seeing the promos for the show and I have to say it looks funny enough for me to set it to tape tonight and check it out later. I think people really need to relax, these are just TV shows.

Next up is an article that actually made me laugh out loud: An Italian court is set to hear a case in which it will be determined if Jesus actually existed. Two 70-something men--one a priest and the other an atheist, both from the same central Italian town, both having attended the same seminary when young and then going down different paths--are set to go head to head in court to prove the existence of the historical Jesus. I quote:
The plaintiff, Luigi Cascioli, became a vocal atheist who, after years of legal wrangling, is set to get his day in court later this month. "I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression," Cascioli told Reuters.
Cascioli says Righi, and by extension the whole Church, broke two Italian laws. The first is "Abuso di Credulita Popolare" (Abuse of Popular Belief) meant to protect people against being swindled or conned. The second crime, he says, is "Sostituzione di Persona", or impersonation.
"The Church constructed Christ upon the personality of John of Gamala," Cascioli claimed, referring to the 1st century Jew who fought against the Roman army. "In my book, The Fable of Christ, I present proof Jesus did not exist as a historic figure. He must now refute this by showing proof of Christ's existence," Cascioli said.

This kind of thing only happens in Italy, I swear. I'd love to be in the courtroom for this case!

Lastly, and on a more serious note, 700 Club-dude Pat Robertson has spoken again:

Robertson Links Sharon Stroke, God's Wrath
Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for "dividing God's land."
"God considers this land to be his," Robertson said on his TV program "The 700 Club." "You read the Bible and he says `This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, `No, this is mine.'"

I just want it to go on the record that it is Robertson, a Christian, who's saying this, so they don't go blaming the ultra-Orthodox Jews around (though I am 100% sure there have been some of those as well, I'm sad to say).

Now the big question, do I agree with him?
Not in the literal, no, but I cannot discount that I also had seen the link between the events of Tisha B'Av/August 15, 2005 (the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif) and his current condition. I am very careful not to sound like a hatemonger or a divine-retribution-with-a-lightning-bolt kind of guy, which is why I say that I don't agree with Robertson's literal expression, but I cannot shake the feeling that there indeed is a connection between the two events. G-d alone knows the whole truth, and I don't think I am in any position to be passing that kind of judgement. I actually do wish Sharon a refuah shelemah (full recovery to health) regardless of the fact that I don't agree with his plans to continue to give away land.

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