Hand of God (Entire Series)

It deserved more than two seasons.

The series can’t be anything but good when it stars Ron Perlman and Garret Dillahunt (and others). Perlman is Judge Pernell Harris, the corrupt judge has a breakdown after the suicide attempt of his son.

This breakdown results in him falling in with a con-artist preacher and his girlfriend, and gaining a loyal follower in Garret Dillahunt. The voices point to who is responsible for the attempted suicide and a whole host of intrigue begins from there.

Originally I was going to do reviews on the season level, but sadly Amazon notified the public that there was only two seasons, so I felt I could do it in one go.

The story starts off intriguing and just hits almost all the right tones. Perlman is always great, there are small hints of his character in SoA, along with other characters he has played. Garret Dillahunt is standout in this and the intensity of his character almost steals the show.

There were some less stellar parts. I found after the first six episodes I didn’t like the storyline with the preacher and his girlfriend, and in the second season I disliked how Perlman’s “faith” changed (I won’t go into details though). However, that being said I really enjoyed the series and I am saddened that it didn’t get a third season. I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed Ron Perlman especially.

Pros: With the name Perlman in the credits, it is going to be a fun watch, he doesn’t disappoint and neither does his “Benaiah” played by Garret Dillahunt. The scenes with just the two of them make it worth the time.

Cons: The preacher storyline I found annoying. However, that could be because I don’t have a strong attachment with that portion of religion and not the fault of the actors/actresses involved.

I am disappointed there wasn’t a third season.

Maybe you are wrong.

I found this highly entertaining and true:

 
theology
 
 
Now, I am not even saying there isn't something out there. Rather its the hubris that people have that their beliefs are the only possibility.
 
This is especially true since all religions have holes you can drive semi-trucks through. Not that they are necessarily wrong, but that people can't face up and say there are holes and that things might be misunderstood or outright wrong in their religious texts.
 
Its like this weird idea that for some reason humans who wrote their religious texts were somehow infallible, but only in that one instance. I consider that highly unlikely.
 
 

Not an Atheist

Honestly I am really surprised at some of the reaction to my breaking apart of the hypocrisy of religion (especially Christianity). Several unfriendings on facebook later (and actually not sad at all about that) I think I need to reiterate, unlike my wife, I am not an atheist. My problem with religion lies not in their belief that there is something more, but their refusal to adapt their outlook based on what we have discovered. The whole head in the sand avoidance of science is where I have the issue. Most of my problems are with Christianity because that is the dominate religion of my area, and the religion I see the most hypocrisy in.

Here is a very brief list of 3 of my issues with Christianity (and not even close to all of them):

  • That the bible was direct from god to man. Let's be serious about this, it was written by man. They have already shown dozens of books from the bible are missing and were kept out due to politics. This doesn't even count the fact it was written be sheep herders from two thousand years ago without the knowledge of any science or rational explanation. Also not including the issue that a lot of the stories were copied wholesale from other cultures that the hebrews traveled through. I am not saying that there may be something to it, rather that its possible that the authors misunderstood things, and the explanations were wrong. So its the literal belief that is wrong for me.
  • That there is any rational reason from the outside to believe Christianity over another religion. There is no proof or reason an outside person should believe Christianity is more accurate then Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or the worship of the Greek Gods. It is a paradigm that isn't even understood by most of its adherents. I would like someone to show me a reason to believe in Christianity over even the Greek gods that doesn't involve "read the bible" or "faith". What rational example can be used to show that the bible is any more accurate than what Homer wrote about the Trojan War (and to be honest the same story that Homer wrote about Greek gods actually helped archeologists discover the city of Troy, not sure the bible can claim to help archeologists find things that wouldn't be found elsewhere). 
  • The hypocrisy of the believers. This is the absolute worst part of Christainity for me. From everything I read, the Quakers are by far the most adherent to Christian principles as spoken by Jesus. For some reason the right has decided to forget that Jesus was a socialist hippy (take care of the poor, give your goods away, render unto Ceasar and turn the other cheek). How a Christian can be pro-military, pro-capitalism and anti-help the poor makes it so mind twisting it hurts. People will try and point at either old testament or what Paul wrote but in my opinion neither works. Old Testament was superceded by Jesus (and if it wasn't, then why aren't those same Christians following the other Old Testament requirements) and the writings of Paul were from a man who claimed to be an apostle, but who never met Jesus (and none of the Apostles witnessed the whole scales over his eyes) and who had a dispute with Peter (whom Jesus is quoted as making the rock of Christianity). Everything I read about Paul makes him a mysoginistic rabble rouser who was in it for power and who never met Jesus, especially since a lot of what he wrote seemed to go against the words of Jesus.

    • Ok, the whole Paul thing is probably a bias. Most of the catholic families I grew up with actually didn't acknowledge Paul. I realize that isn't the Church's doctrine, which is why I claim to be from Pagan Catholics (also believed in Purgatory when that wasn't sanctified by the Vatican). Our group of Catholics definitely were not traditional catholics.

I realize this all makes me sound exactly like an atheist, but it isn't true. In the end I do think something is out there. Do I believe the adherents of Chrstianity are correct? Not at all, but it doesn't make them totally wrong. Part of me hopes there is something after we pass on. Whether its a heaven/hell paradigm or a reincarnation situation I don't know.

However, with that belief there are things that I think still qualify me as a skeptic:

  • I am willing to admit part of my belief in something else is probably fueled by a fear that my family is mortal and only here for such a short time. Because of this I have to keep an open mind and not just stick my head in the sand in fear.
  • I believe science is impartial, and my belief in anything must be subject to revision depending on what we learn about our world.
  • I don't believe any governmental or society decision should be based on religion. Government should at all times be secular in its outlook and not push religious doctrine. One god is no more provable as real then the others, and even if they were people should not be forced to follow religion.
  • Morals are not based on a specific religion. Cultures learn naturally that murder is wrong, rape is wrong and theft hurts society. We don't learn how to be a civilization because a "god" writes it on some tablets. Hell, the Code of Hammurabi (from Babylon) predates the hebrews by a thousand years and had no influence from the Zorastrian/Hebrew paradigm. 
  • Oh, and back to science, I firmly think science should be the most funded aspect of our society. Our quest to understand the world cannot be confirmed in religious texts, it can only be confirmed in science. So I will take science over religion anytime.

So, evidently I stepped away to handle something and have lost my train of thought when I came back. I thought I had something to wrap this up. I guess mostly I just wanted to reiterate that while I am not religious, I am not a stone cold atheist (which makes for some uncomfortable interactions at the atheist meetups as well for me).

 

 

Hypocrisy

I was watching t.v. and saw that they finally approved Plan B. I am very happy to see it, anything to help prevent unwanted pregnancies is good, especially if its not invasive abortion. However, I noticed several fundie/conservative groups are up in arms about it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily blame people being against abortion. I can understand the thought that human life is inviolate, its just we disagree on when life starts. That is ok. My issue is these same Christian fundies who spout how human life, even one, is important, yet I don't see any of these Christian Fundies objecting to us bombing another country, or objecting to the military being used for pretty much anything.
 
Fundie churches are like this to. I have never heard of a Fundie church (or honestly any Christian church, except certain Catholic Dioceses, ever objecting to our war in Iraq. The same churches that spout how important it is to save even a single human life that is lost to abortion, doesn't even raise an eyebrow at us killing other people in other countries. The last time I read the bible, Jesus was pretty damn clear about not raising your fist against another, turn the other cheek, Thou Shalt Not Kill, and many other obvious things that indicated taking any human lives was wrong. Yet all these conservative "Christian" people are pro-Iraq. I don't think Jesus approves of us going to another country period, hell he didn't believe in protecting himself, he certainly would never agree to invading another country, even to give our country safety.
 
What is worse is when Christians start quoting things from the Old Testament. They start saying an "Eye for an Eye" and how the Isrealites were allowed to defend themselves. Well if they believe in the old testament then they should still be Jewish. Jesus supposedly changed all the rules, including sacrifices, warfare, etc. You can't just pick and choose from the bible to match your need. Either you follow the teachings of peace and love that Jesus taught, making you a Christian, or you follow the old testament and your Jewish (well that is a simplification, I realize you need to follow more then just the Old Testament to be Jewish, but most Christians are not very informed and get confused of you start talking about the Torah, etc.). 
 
I get confused, I know many Christians, about 1/10th of them object to war (the rest are either pro-war/Iraq or at the very least it doesn't effect them either way), and half of that is they only object to Iraq, not warfare in general. It kind of turns my stomach when these same people claim to follow the teachings of such a gentle man as Jesus. If a Christian truly followed the path of Jesus, they would stand out of the pack and would garner my respect. Its funny, most of the people I know who protest the war are hippy/pagan types, types you don't normally see in church (although there are a few that are church goers I am sure), yet those that proclaim their faith (and who drive huge, expensive, gas guzzlers and work for questionable places, but this is a rant for later), are the ones that object to Plan B birth control pills, but don't even blink an eye when people are killed in Iraq (not even getting into the children killed by us in Iraq, just talking anyone).
 
This is why I am a Deist. Yes I believe in God/Divine, and yes I believe every single religion in the world has lost the true message in exchange for power/prestige/riches. If there is a rapture, I have a feeling all those who believe they are saved are going to be the ones burning in hell (oh, and later will be a rant on the hubris of those who have the "In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned" bumper stickers).
 
I would do more, but this is probably long enough right now.

WTF?

This morning I got up and started channel surfing. Of course there are a ton of religious programs. Four of the programs I watched stated we are in a religious war and we need to fight it out. One of them (Jimmy Swaggert) said the Koran is not written about love and that we need to end the religion. JS was quoting we need to go to war with Muslims in order to fulfill biblical prophecies. The other three Fundies were quoting almost the same thing.

So, did I read a unreal copy of the bible. I am pretty damn sure Jesus said love your neighbor, judge not, and obey the ten commandments (one of which is Do not Kill, not "do not kill a christian" just do not kill). 
 
What the fuck is wrong with Christianity (not everyone follows this, but almost unilaterally the fundie preachers do). Yes, once again I am reminded why I am a deist, not because I don't believe in god (I do), and not even that I don't believe in Jesus (I do, but I also believe god approached us through buddhism, hinduism, etc, etc, not just Christianity) but because organized religion is the bane of real spirituality.
 
Organized religion is about power, not about spirituality. Its about arbitrary rules that Jesus or the ten commandments never said. Hell Jesus boiled it down to one commandment. Love your neighbor. This "go to war, burn the homosexuals because its wrong, and perform the death penalty" type attitude is the opposite of anything I read from any of the prophets, but especially opposite of Jesus.
 
My opinion:
 
Christianity is the anti-Christ, leading poor hapless unthinking individuals in the opposite direction Jesus preached. Love and forgiveness has disappeared into a dark pit of capitalism, rigidity, and pride.
 
I am pretty sure Jesus preached that the biggest responsibility of man is his fellow man. However 99% of Christians I have ever met don't give regularly to the poor, let alone do what Jesus said (when he told his followers give away your riches, if someone asks for your shirt, you give it to them).
 
Christianity as a general rule (there are exceptions) is the most hypocritical of religions I have ever seen, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhists I have met actually follow their religion closer then most "american christians". If you don't give to the poor, if you don't believe in loving your neighbor and not judging and if you are not against killing others no matter what reason (talking Iraq and even Death penalty here) then you are a hypocrite.
 
Oh, I am feeling a rant coming (lol not like this isn't already a mini-rant) so I will stop.
 
 
WHAT THE FUCK, 3 of the 4 fundies just said Islam is our enemy. GOD DAMN HYPOCRITES.