EBay Denies Heaven is a Place

NBC News has a story about Ari Mandel who tried to sell real estate in heaven as a joke and wounded up with bids that reached $100,000.  He might have gotten more until eBay shut him down quoting their policy that he can’t sell intangibles:

“We don’t allow listings that aren’t offering anything for sale or those that have intangible items (generally things don’t physically exist).”

Certainly that leaves out heaven being a literal place, not that Ari would have had rights to sell real estate there anyways–unless he heard voices from god or brokering angels.

If one objects to the idea of denying heaven as a physical place because it is a spiritual concept, there has been an ongoing debate over time if Heaven is real or not and what “real” means in terms of the afterlife. Is it all just a metaphor or do you literally sit in a place of perfection called heaven? And if you have a nonphysical body how do you enjoy our physical senses: touch, taste, hear, smell? Because they are needed to enjoy music, art, food and sex. Sex apparently will be eliminated in heaven because it is dirty and God isn’t into procreation in the afterlife (no family values).

We’re also to assume that with differing riches built up in heaven there will be no vice or jealousy towards one another? One man’s mansion is just as satisfactory as another man’s larger mansion. One woman’s shoe collection is just as satisfactory as another woman’s larger shoe collection.

I think if the Catholic Church needs money to pay off all their lawsuits they could start up by selling indulgences again but use the eBay model. They are God’s representative on earth, why couldn’t they auction off a nice place in heaven? Or even a comfortable position in hell, like the guy who sorts the mail or the woman who answers email complaints as a mild torture.


AFA Fundraising Tactic Using Ryan Rotela

By Jeff Swenson

I receive American Family Association (AFA) junk mail from Tim Wildmon and company. The most recent was a fundraising letter for sending money in to support the Student Religious Liberties Act, or rather to give money to Wildmon to protect our religious liberties. The poster boy being used was Ryan Rotela: “His name is Ryan Rotela and when one of his professors told him and his classmates to write the name ‘Jesus’ on a sheet of paper, put it on the floor and stomp on it… RYAN SAID, ‘NO!'”  That’s directly from the fundraising letter.

I thought it a rather odd story as it goes on to say that Ryan was threatened with expulsion from Florida Atlantic University. If true, both the exercise in paper stomping futility and the school would be rather dumb in my opinion. It appears we have a partial truth. If you read the Miami Herald’s article on the event, Ryan has a history of prior drug abuse and arrests (the reason he found god I guess?) and he didn’t just say “no” but apparently threatened the teacher with his fists and said he wanted to beat him.

What I found more interesting was this: Rotela describes himself as a “very religious” Mormon — partly because jail scared him straight.

Stay with me here. So Rotela is a devout Mormon, per this article. Who is using him to fundraise? AFA. And here’s how their letter continues: “What happened to Ryan Rotela is an all too common occurrence in today’s classrooms. And because it is, AFA is helping lead the fight to protect students from the kind of anti-Christian bigotry Ryan Rotela was forced to endure. ”

Later on in the letter: “Like I said, Ryan Rotela’s case at Florida Atlantic University is not an isolated instance. All across America, teachers, coaches, and students are being punished for simply being who they are–Christians.”

Here’s the question I have? Mormons believe themselves to be Christians. Fundamentalist Christians like the AFA do not. Either the AFA is attempting to switch positions and recognize Mormons as Christians or they are not being quite honest with their readers. The letter continues to emphasize anti-Christian bigotry and not general religious bigotry until we get to the enclosed Mississippi’s Student Liberties Act, defined by the state and not the AFA. Being that I was a former fundie, I know that the AFA and the like-minded religious right are bigoted against Mormons. They have been increasingly hiding it since Mitt Romney ran for president because they realize the powerful allies available within the Mormon church (especially useful against the gay community).

But if Ryan is Mormon then shouldn’t the AFA mention it? Shouldn’t they be fighting against all religious bigotry in the classroom and not just anti-Christian bigotry. The selective nature of their writing tells me the AFA knows how to spin a good story.

SIDENOTE: Per The Raw Story, Poole, the teacher, is dealing with quite a backlash. The class lesson was not intended to force students to step on Jesus but to see the reaction if they could or couldn’t and then why and the impact of Jesus on culture. Regardless if you think the lesson on multiculturalism was silly, it shouldn’t incite violence. Are we really to assume there were no other offended Christians in the room or at least people who liked Jesus? They didn’t resort to threats. The article describes the usual nonsense that happens after these little media events: “Since then, he said [Poole, the teacher], he has been the target of harassment and death threats, to the point that he was placed on leave from the university on March 29 for his own safety.”

Rotela has challenged his teacher to a public debate. Obviously, due to the attention, he is sensing potential for more notoriety on what is really a nonstory considering no one’s freedom of speech or religion was infringed upon. The teacher has a right to present a controversial lesson, even an offensive one towards Christians and their god, and the students have a right to speak their minds–which was the point of the classroom discussion. The report of Rotela’s threat was the real story and if he had not threatened the teacher, the teacher would not have notified school security and staff. As we know with all school campuses, any threats–even minor–have to be reported due to previous incidents of shootings and other student violence.

My last question on this? Would it have been worse if the teacher had written “Allah” on the paper and dropped it to the floor?

Duck Dynasty to be on 700 Club

By Jeff Swenson

Oh boy, duck hunters for Christ!

How does this make any sense? God creates a duck by intelligent design so man, made in his image, can make a product to mimic the duck call so that said man can blow the beautifully designed duck in the chest to eat it, stuff it and mount it?

Mind you, I have nothing against duck hunting, but the combination of duck hunting and faith? It’s ridiculous.

Duck Dynasty will be appearing on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club this coming Wednesday. For what reason, I don’t know?

SIDENOTE: According to Wiki, while Phil Alexander Robertson (no relation to Pat) is adept at creating duck call devices, he’s a big technophobe. He’s proud that he doesn’t own a cellphone or computer (but he’s happy to appear on TV). Why am I not surprised? I’m the first to bitch about learning new technology as it is a pain in the ass, but I can’t stand technophobes. The cellphone and the computer have done more for humanity than prayer ever did.

Sylvia Browne, Worst of the Worst

By Jeff Swenson

Is it dump on Sylvia Browne week now? Good! Check out the great article on Huffington Post.

Anyone who knows me knows I can’t stand psychics and I hate hearing, “But it’s entertaining.” What a bunch of bullshit. Is it entertaining to see someone get rich with book deals and TV shows by using cold reading methods and lying to your face that they’re connecting with the spirit world? I find it insulting.

So finally a well known psychic had it bite her in the ass when she predicted that Amanda Berry was dead and she told the grieving mother that she’s not the kind of girl who wouldn’t call home. Of course we now know that Amanda Berry was being held captive for the sick fantasies of 3 brothers in Ohio. Wouldn’t it have been nice of if Sylvia Browne could actually have told her mother and the police what really happened? Or at least say point blank: “I don’t know, I have no communication with your daughter.” Instead she made shit up.

To make it even worse, Amanda’s mom died in 2006 of pancreatitis. Sylvia Browne convinced her that Amanda was dead so she gave up looking for–even as the FBI had not at the time. It may not have made a difference but maybe it would have if her mother had continued efforts to find her. Often family members not giving up until there is a dead body to prove otherwise is why some people are found. The main point, though, is Sylvia Browne fed off of this woman’s grief for the sake of “entertainment.” And fuck Montel Williams too for having her on his show. I’m not surprised to see he’s doing commercials for Money Mutual, helping to exploit people for high interest short-term loans, that’s how low he’s gone.

Sylvia Brown deserves all the criticism and backlash she is now getting. I wish she could be sued for every penny she has as she has made a career out of suckering people, including those mourning the passing of their family members.