Censorship and The Blasphemy Challenge

Although we’ve been planning to launch this blog for some time, a major motivation in finally getting it up was the fact that I could no longer link to my main site from my MySpace page, as they are now blocking all links to adult sites. This is also one of the reasons we decided to separate my blog from my main site, and keep it strictly non-nude, so that I could reach as wide an audience as possible. However, even when I have covered up my “naughty bits”, I have still been subjected to censorship. One example of this was the removal of my contribution to The Blasphemy Challenge by YouTube.

The image above links to a high quality version of the video we originally posted (in MPEG4 format, so you’ll need QuickTime 6 or later to view it). As you can see, anything that might be considered “offensive” is strategically covered by my hair (we also posted an extended fully nude version on my main site). Yet YouTube took it down within hours of us posting it! In response, my webmaster Lee whipped up a ridiculously censored version of the video, and posted that on his YouTube channel.

This led to obvious accusations of selective censorship of atheists—after all, you’ll see a lot more skin than this on practically any music video these days, as well as on many, many other videos that have been posted on YouTube (and have been allowed to stay up). So why do you think they took down the original version of this video? Why did YouTube give my video “special treatment”?

BTW, I imagine my posting this will inevitably lead to a discussion of the merits of The Blasphemy Challenge itself, and my reasons for contributing to it. As I said at the time:

Although I am open to all different opinions about God and the universe, I myself am an atheist. And my increasing despair over the seemingly endless and intractable religious war in the middle east has made me decide to become a more outspoken one. Unless the Abrahamic religions can learn to end their warlike tendencies (which has proven to be impossible for centuries now), it would seem that our best chance of having lasting, global peace is to put what they’re fighting over behind us instead.

However, even in this supposedly “enlightened” age, there is still an enormous stigma attached to being an atheist (especially in the US), or even talking about it. And one of the major reasons for this is because people aren’t supposed to question religion. Hence my support of The Blasphemy Challenge. Yes, it is provocative, but it needs to be: it is intended to stimulate open discussion about religion and atheism, and encourage atheists to “come out of the closet”.

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I have seen all three videos, (full length, abbreviated and highly edited). Besides the nudity of the full length one, I can see no reason why the abbreviated one was pulled off.

However on the internet, almost all of these sites are moderated and essentially private companies, so they have the power to select and remove any materials that they want to for whatever reason.

It is unfortunate for the most part, that the idea of free speech on Youtube, doesn’t match reality, but Youtube is part of Google, and as such has control over the medium that it has ownership over. Why your video was removed when other racier faire was left, is however left up to the imagination, as it is unclear from their policies why it would have been in violation.

As to Atheism, itself, it is hard to promote a negative. Atheism is the belief in a lack of a theological order to the universe. It is easy to see, with open eyes that invisible omnipotent entities that have ultimate control over everything that you and everything else in the universe from the time existence started, don’t really exist. However, it is hard to promote, as Atheism has no cash incentive, no get out of responsibility card, and no afterlife to bask/fry in when your mortal coil shuffles off for eternity.

People would rather have an illogical hope, than face the bleak non-existence, so they put up a fight, like they have a choice in the matter.

I am an Atheist, although I have worked within the constructs of many religion, read the religious texts, been to many temples, synagogues, mosques, shrines, and sacred locations, but in the end found all of them to be people huddled together, fearing both the known & unknown, shielded by their faith from the spiritual ravages of a large and ambivalent universe.

  
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It’s kinda ironic that YouTube is pulling things offline when they’re a subsiderary of Google which maintains the world’s largest collection of porn due to their several total backups of the internet.

All your work can easily be classified as art especially since you can buy photography books at a bookstore which feature nudes such as yours in the art section not behind the cashier with the Hustler and Penthouse type magazines.

As for religion, I see no need for it. As long as we treat each other with kindness and respect, I see no need for a religion to dictate how we should live our lives or be condemned to eternal damnation should we disagree with their directives.

If we were all Atheist or Agnostic, I doubt there would be any wars since most wars are religious based, especially the Christian and Muslim religions. I never heard of a war started by Atheists, Buddists, Wiccans, or most other Pagan religions.

  
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Since the launch of my web site at the beginning of 2004, we have been constantly frustrated by being lumped together with porn sites, simply because my site features (tasteful) nudity. Being blocked by MySpace and censored by YouTube are just two examples; there are many, many more.

As for the well informed comments on atheism, I will have more to say about that in my next post!

  
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It is nice to see educated women free from superstition and women comfortable with their bodies. Go women power!

  
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I can not stand today’s censors here in the states. There logic makes no sense at all. The Jesus freaks must be behind this stupidity.

I agree with John “As for religion, I see no need for it. As long as we treat each other with kindness and respect, I see no need for a religion to dictate how we should live our lives or be condemned to eternal damnation should we disagree with their directives”.

I admire you you a lot. You are a unique and wonderful artist. I am so glad to have stumbled upon you. And now we can communicate in a safer and more open community. I will try to visit more often in the future. Thank you for creating this blog.

=]

  
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You are very welcome!

And thanks for your comments too Brian37. :-)

  
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“Abrahamic” is an incorrect word. The Jewish people do not war with anyone, and they are at the very core of that word.

Before you point to Israel, Israel and the Jewish religion are not related in anything other than the name of the religion. They may be a state of the Jewish religion, but they are “Zionist” which is completely different and has to do with patriotism to the state of Israel, not the Jewish religion itself.

Not to nitpick, but they are very much not related, and it is the use of terminology like that that makes people believe they are. Because of Christianity and the Muslim religion, people like to group Judaism into it as if they are similar. But Judaism doesn’t convert people (they discourage conversions) they do not go to war (see above about Israel) and they do not have a hell (in the sense that if you do not believe in the religion you are sent to eternal damnation). They have an afterlife, but the afterlife is essentially for anyone, and they don’t talk about it much anywhere in the bible because the idea is, essentially, God will do the right thing for everyone.

  
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Hi Travis,

Thanks for your perspective, but I have to be honest here – this looks like some pretty twisted reasoning to me!

Zionism is the support of the formation of a Jewish state, and Israel is that state. It is also the realisation of a Biblical concept, so the primary reason for its very existence is Abrahamic (both Jewish and Christian) religion. And the Israelis (who are all both Jews and Zionists) have waged a lot of bloody conflicts to both establish and support that state. And not only that, but the Bible documents a lot of bloody conquests waged by the Jews as well. Although the Bible is hardly a reliable historical document, in this case it is supported by independent historical evidence.

  
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Incorrect – First, the Jewish Bible has no bloody conquests won by Jews, with the exception of one or two stories about how a small group of Jews protected themselves from oppression, which shouldn’t count (one is a story about how a family of 10 fought back the Roman army. I would not consider that a “war”). I’m not sure where you came up with that. Remember to exclude anything in the Christian Bible when referring to Judaism. Secondly, while it is true that Zionism is a movement that was created by the Jewish people, that does not mean it has to do with Judaism. That would be putting a broader net on a movement that was unrelated to the existence of the religion. It would be like if a large group of organized Athiests decided to burn Churches. Would we say that Athiests are now Church burners? Arsons? The Anti-religion? No.

Going back to Israel, you are still missing my point slightly. The idea that the wars that Israel is waging are due to the religion is completely incorrect. They are due to the state of Israel. Think of it in terms of Christianity:

When Christianity – hell, when George Bush in some ways – waged wars against various Muslim nations, it was because the Muslim nations were not Christian and they felt their religion was imperfect. That is a religious war.

When Jews in Israel fight against the surrounding Islamic nations it is either:

a) To protect themselves from groups trying to kill them (not religious reasons)
b) To retaliate against Terrorism

The latter of those two is where Israel does its absolute stupidest work. A single Palestinian man blows himself up and hurts some people, and Israel fires enough bombs into Palestine to kill 100 children.

But none of that was the religion of Israel attacking other states due to conflicting religious beliefs. Those were bad decisions of a poorly run country to fight back against neighboring countries with large groups of people threatening to kill them.

I know this is really confusing because I’m ranting in a long winded way. So if you want to skip all that and go to the summary:

Israel’s wars are horrific, and you can blame Israel all you like for some of the terrible things they do. But the Jewish people are not at war with anyone – the state of Israel is – and just because there is only one Jewish state from which to extract an opinion does not mean that if there were more they would all act the same way. Ergo, it is unfair and incorrect to say that Israel’s actions are the Jewish actions. They are not the same thing. And without Israel, there are really no Jewish wars/conflicts in pretty much all of history. They were enslaved during most of their existence, and barring your inclusion of any uprisings, they did not go to war with anyone in the Jewish Bible. You can hate Israel as much as you want, and I will likely agree with you. But until Israel starts wars itself that are not retaliatory and are designed because they either want to convert Muslims to Judaism or simply do not like their religion – two things that will never happen – it is unfair to characterize the Jewish people based on the actions of that country. Israel is at war with other neighboring countries. The Jews are at war with no one.

  
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Hi Travis,

I understand the point you’re trying to make, but at the end of the day, without religion, no one would feel any need – or even consider it acceptable – to go in and displace thousands of Palestinians to establish a Jewish state in Israel. So without the Abrahamic religions (Judaism and Christianity in this case), there would be no Israel, hence no bloody conflicts to establish it and support it.

  
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That’s… questionable. In essence, I don’t disagree, but you are assuming that without Israel and religion, there would be no conflict, and that’s not really true. When Germany invaded Poland, it wasn’t due to religious reasons. War will still exist without religion, and though we can point to specific instances where there “may” be a religious cause, we can also point to many where there were not. In general, I see that as a poor reason to blame the Jewish people for the Israeli conflict. Blame Zionists, and blame the Jewish Zionists if you so desire, but not the Jews, as the two are really not the same thing.

Personally, I think that Zionism would have still existed even if it was Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or even Jews that lived in the area at the time. I think it is the fact that the Palestinians were Muslim that ALLOWED it to happen, but displacing the Palestinians was not enacted by the Jewish people, it was enacted by the United Nations. While the basis for the area may have been a Jewish Zionist belief, I, personally, believe that same Zionism would have existed no matter who lived there and it was the purveying view amongst the Christian nations that made it seem an acceptable solution.

Off topic but similar, I defend the Jewish people for two reasons. First, few people, especially Christians and Athiests, actually know anything about the religion. They just assume they do since Christianity was based on Judaism. Judaism is essentially agnosticism except instead of “not knowing if there is a God” it is “there is one God, everything else is kinda up in the air.” Something like 85% or more Jewish people believe in evolution, very VERY few are bible literalists (while many believe that Adam and Eve existed, extremely few believe they were the only people on the planet or that the earth is only 10,000 years old or any of that other nonsense). There is no hell, there is no conversion (almost every other religion has, as a base of their religion, a desire to convert others to their belief) and no punishment or negativity for not being in the religion. Again, Christianity and Judaism may have a lot of the same basic information, but the two are polar opposites in their practice. Athiests – and this is not to pass blame – often combine the two as if they are both trying to push their views on others, and that is simply not the case. In Judaism, everything is optional, even within the religion, with the exception of killing others and incest.

As you can see by the fact that I repeat myself often, I consider this an important subject. But beyond Israel, I hope you will be very careful when grouping Christianity and Judaism in together. While I may not be able to convince you that Israel and Judaism as a religion are not linked, at the very least you should understand that because Judaism has no desire to convert anyone or any additional goals in the world, very little conflict outside of Israel has anything to do with Judaism as all.

One example of this is Social Conservatism in the United States. Often many people, especially Athiests, blame political social conservatism on “Abrahamistic beliefs.” But, again, this is unfairly looping Jews into the mix. There is a reason that the Jewish people vote roughly 87-90% liberal Democrat – because although things like “Don’t sleep with another man” are found in the Jewish bible, since the Jewish people as a whole are not Bible literalists AND they have no hell, the majority of Jewish people do not actually believe homosexuality is a sin, but believe there must have been a reason that that law existed at the time, possibly due to some sort of illness or the feeling at the time that the Jewish people needed to breed more ;-) . Now, the “law” is ignored and considered old and outdated.

Hopefully you will consider this with future posts about religion and not group the Jewish religion with Christianity, Islam, etc.. Also, this website: http://www.jewfaq.org is pretty good if you have any questions about the religion itself. The person that designed it is Orthodox (which means they are a little closer to Bible literalists than the majority of the Jewish people) but he does a pretty decent job explaining most of the beliefs. It is a complicated religion with a lot of practices, but again, they are all optional. Jewish people practice the way they do because they want to, not because they have to in order to please God.

Anyway, that is enough typing for me. Take care.

~Travis

  
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Hi Travis,

I would just like to say two things in response to your interesting post:

1) I never said all war was caused by religion, but there would sure as hell be a whole lot less of it without religion!

2) I absolutely agree with your point on social conservatism. Look at a show like Seinfeld, for example – many Jews clearly have a very open attitude toward sex! The social (and in particular sexual) conservatism that pervades the US is definitely a product of Christianity, not Judaism.

  
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The whole blasphemy challenge thing is silly.

A lack of belief is not blasphemy. Blasphemy is much more serious. Simply saying, “I do not believe in the Holy Spirit” is not some kind of super secret unforgivable sin. It isn’t like Jesus was laying secret traps so that people would get sent to Hell on a technicality.

First Jesus says that all sins and blasphemies will be forgiven, with the one exception of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

The context of the verse is that men were saying that the work of the Holy Spirit was actually that of Satan. Now, that certainly sounds a lot more like blasphemy. And yes, it makes a lot more sense that God would consider someone deserving of Hell if that person was out there trying to call the Holy Spirit the work of Satan. Do you really have a problem with this?

If I was running around saying that “Sachiko is really a post-op transexual”, with forged evidence, and enough people actually believed me to seriously impact your life, would you forgive me? Now contrast that with my simply posting “I don’t believe Sachiko is a great model”, something that you wouldn’t be too concerned about. If you understand the differences of degree in the analogy, I think you’ll see my point.

  
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Hi lawfin,

I think perhaps you are taking this a little too seriously! The Blasphemy Challenge was simply a way for people to openly declare their freedom from religious dogma – light-heartedly “blaspheming” against the holy spirit (when the “real thing” is supposedly the only unforgivable sin) was simply a convenient way for many different people right across the world to do this in a coordinated manner.

  
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I finally found the link with the wonderful bewbs.

The other link had some guy but it was watchable because his nose dances while he talks. Chancy or some name like that.

However, much to my dismay, my version of PowerDVD did not play the video. Even the chancy bit, I had to click on the “larger version at youtube” link and watch it here. but all is not to dismay. I also have AVS4YOU or something like that. They have a dvd player and it is here:

http://www.avsmedia.com/DVDPlayer/index.aspx

Somewhere there, yes.

And so you just d/l the dot mov thing and then right click and “open with” and pick the avs software. It maybe hiding in your “program files” folder.

Even if you do not listen to the words, the accent of the dear miss her self is so incredibly cute and sexy as to make this whole thing worthwhile!!!

Michael

  
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dear Sachiko,

I first discovered you by watching the version on youtube. as a secular freethinker i was already predisposed to your message and as a man I was definitely allured by your “presentation”:) I immediately fell for you. and I’ve never seen anyone express my feelings about christianity and religion in such a sexy, fun and captivating way. and i agree with michael your accent is so sweet and charming!

  
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Thanks again Doug!

I’m wondering, what does my accent sound like to an American? I thought my English sounded American as that’s where I learned it, but I’ve been living in Australia for quite a while now, and I can only imagine my native Taiwanese accent (that’s where I grew up) is mixed in there as well.

  
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Sachiko,

now that I think of it I realize it’s very hard to pin down what your accent sounds like. Your use of English is very good(no misused prepositions for instance) and it’s mostly American-sounding.

You have a very feminine and high-pitched voice that is very cute and charming. But I think your accent does not sound especially “foreign” in any particular way. It’s not stereotypically Asian or Australian-sounding. There’s something slightly off and different about it but you have me stumped ;)

  
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Perhaps my accent really is something of a hybrid of Taiwanese, American and Australian. :-)

  
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it’s a very pleasing blend. i had a friend who was studying here from Taiwan. Am i right that Mandarin is the dialect spoken on the Taiwan and the other ROC islands? But I never thought about the unique sounding accent of Taiwanese people.

  
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Hi Doug – we do speak Mandarin.

  
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Hello Sachiko,

One of the main issues ppl have with people who admire female nudes is that is that they are psychologically tormented. My mother has always said that no human being of a ‘normal,sane’ mind would find the naked body to beautiful and that of a woman since:
1. nakedness is plain, unadorned, uniformed, boring, disgusting, indecent, and makes human look similar to apes
2. nakedness is the appearance that the man has no knowledge, mentally-unsound, valueless, is ugly, vagabond, and no prestige
3. so as a woman wears no clothes, it means that she is degrading herself since she has no shame, insane and is a vagabond and invites disrespectful attitudes from the onlookers. Woman is supposed to look colourful, decorated, and respectful.

All of this, is not only from the religious point but from the psychological one. So, its more on the psychological basis. I have read a psychological book that is written by a very well-experienced psychiatrist. Now, lets debate using psychology. What we’re doing is very abnormal to most people in this world. If the soceity is against it, then we’re officially mad. Exhibitionism is one of the greatest psychological problems and you have it, so do ppl call you mad?

  
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Hi Anurag,

I don’t care if people think I’m mad – personally I think the fact that we’re made to feel so ashamed of our own bodies is the most ridiculous form of insanity! Sexual suppression is insane – it has been shown to kill people time and time again. Feeling comfortable to show my naked body is just natural.

  
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Hi Sachiko,

I too feel the same but when I say this to my parents, they say that people don’t care about minorities’ points of views but from the views of most ppl. They would complain to the police and psychiatrist that he/she is a great to his/her family and the soceity so as a caring citizen, its their right to lodge a complaint against an insane person. I am afraid that heroines like you might get into the same kind of problem and psychiatrists are roaming around everywhere in western countries. And its quite hard to get our message across if the majority of our soceity doesn’t agree with it. I am very, very afraid that ppl like us might get into deep, deep trouble. Worse still, after the economic crisis, ppl now deeply hate westernization and reverting into Indian and traditional ( I am not speaking of your current culture, apologies) eastern cultures like arranged marraiges, money savings ( aka extreme stinginess), hatredness of any form of nudity, strong ( if not full) parental rights, e.t.c. Yoga originated from India and so the rest might follow. It was quite shocking when I came to read an article from the Times magazine against love marraiges saying that statistic have shown that couples who have undergone arranged marraiges have the lowest rate of divorces. Times magazine is a very famous and very influencial, and intelligent ppl write on it.

  
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Hi Anurag,

The thing is, the majority point of view depends on where you live, and at what time in history. For example, in the Scandinavian countries it is considered perfectly normal for people to be naked in a public park. And as time goes on, nudity is becoming more and more accepted across the world. So the only sensible thing to do is to form our own point of view on these issues, and just follow that.

  
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Hi Sachiko,

Yes, I do agree with you, the whole world was under a verge of wesernization but suddenly after this economic crisis, people are turning their backs towards it as India and China are the only countries that have faced the least suffering by economic crisis. Now, its pretty hard for the western culture to spread over. Furthermore, the US is educationally developed due to the presence of Asian and Indian immigrants since they’re pretty much are concerned about their traditions and are obedient to their very strict parents unlike the kids from liberal families. They’re scientific statistics. To be honest, we don’t see much of productivities among ourselves than others.

  
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Hi Sachiko
Thank you for your thoughts and website. There is a wonderful energy in all of it that inspires a smile.
Perhaps I missed it but would you consider writing your thoughts on Dawkins, perhaps a book review? I would be interested to hear more about this very current subject.

  
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Thanks for your compliments Bob! Unfortunately, I don’t think my English reading ability is at a high enough level for me to do a book review – my webmaster Lee edits my writing, so my written English isn’t as good as it may look here. :-) I do cite Richard as the man I most admire in my FAQ, though.

  
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Ummmm Sachiko, I hate religion, back when my mom made me go to church and then when we got back home she’s beat hell out of me. Religion sucks, read “God is Not Great” by Hutchins. Taught me all I needed to know.

Anyway that aside Sachiko, you are hot, and pardon my English, but I wish that I could screw you. How infantile, but oh so true.

-Black guy in Shanghai

  
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Wow! I love your nude picz. BTW, how giving more intellignent talks in the nude?

  
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@randy – Somehow I missed your comment earlier, so sorry for my slow response – welcome to my blog! Perhaps you could use somewhat nicer language, but I guess you’re just being straightforward. ;-)

@Anurag – We are actually planning something like that – stay tuned!

  
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Daniel de Culla

Romero

You’re Yes. I adore You and enjoy Yr Atheist Verb¡
Sinful Kisses

  
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Wonderful. Delightful.

You deserve a PhD In Heresy from Logidea University. Previously, I’ve awarded them to Christopher Hitchens, PZ Myers, Brian Sapient, Dr. Terence Meaden of Cambridge, and as of December 3rd, Dr. Lawrence Krauss.

If you would care to receive one, feel free to respond via email with an address to mail the framed diploma, and then if you would be so kind as to email in return a photo of you with the diploma, I would love to feature you on my site.

http://www.DoctorOfDisbelief.com

Sincerely,
Richard McCargar
Dean of the College of Heresy
Logidea University

  
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@Richard McCargar – Thanks Richard, I just might take you up on that very interesting offer! :-)

  
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Good Evening Sachiko.

If you would prefer, for security purposes, I could email the diploma to you, then you would provide your own frame.

Either way. Hope you are having an enjoyable weekend.

Richard

  
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Thanks Sachiko for Yrs news and You. You’re Yes. Kisses and Blessed be¡

  
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Dear Sachiko & Contributors,

Sachiko’s “Blasphemy” Video and the discussions it prompted made fascinating viewing, particularly for an amateur theologist like myself. Sachiko’s choice of words in the video:

To “deny the Holy Spirit” was very powerful, reminding me of Satanist Doctrine. One contributor, not on this post, has mentioned LaVey’s Satanic Bible might be of interest to Sachiko, but like many other religions, few people investigate comparative theology including Satanism in depth.

As Travis mentions, Judaism is not studied widely beyond Hebrew Scholars, or to use his exact words:

“… Few people, especially Christians and Atheists, actually know anything about the [Jewish] religion…”

In my researches, I’ve found this to be true. The interesting question is why religious ignorance is so widespread? The huge gulf, between say The Islamic World and The Western Christianized World, constitutes one of the most destabilizing divides in history. (In fact, a divide that can be traced back to the “Crusades”, the first one launched as far back as 1096 AD).

It is a source of great shame (to me personally) I did not know more about both Islam and Judaism. Since leaving academia, I have enjoyed fascinating discourses with folk of both Faiths. The Muslims tell me:

“You’re really a Muslim, we all are…” (Deterministic logic at work, I think).

Jews tell me, “Well, you can convert to Judaism if you wish”…. (Not sure this is correct, since like Hinduism, Judaism appears to occur by “default” when one is born to a Jewish mother. If anyone could enlighten me, I’d be happy to hear from you, since it may be a matter of debate even amongst Rabbis).

Satanism is particularly complex, although I’d like to suggest, theologically speaking, that Satanism may “deny” the Holy Spirit, but Satan himself appears to be God’s adversary, therefore in the Satanic Universe God exists. (I’ve been unable to find any references in the Old Testament to Satan, although I’d ask again for anyone with better scriptual knowledge to enlighten me, should they feel the need).

In the Catholic Tradition, Satan appears to be Lucifer, an angel cast out of heaven due to an act of rebellion. Lucifer wished to put himself above God, thus committing the sin of pride. (Again, I cannot verify this biblically, although the New Testament mentions Jesus’ meetings with Satan on a number of fascinating occasions).

I’d even go so far as to say the conversations between Satan and Jesus constitute some of the most crucial in human history.

Kind Regards, NB

  
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Trav,

You have me thinking I need to reread the Old Testament again. I used to read the Bible from start to finish every two years (first year for the O.T., the next year for the N.T.). But, maybe I should be reading the Torah instead, because if memory serves, there are a lot of wars in the O.T., going beyond just a few folk defending themselves from oppression and you are saying there are not any bloody conquests by the Jews in the Jewish scriptures. In the O.T. there are some horrific accounts of women’s wombs being ripped open, babies being dashed against rocks, and slaughters of all kinds in the Old Testament, with entire groups being slaughtered by the Hebrews. But, I have made an assumption here – that the books of the O.T. are the Jewish scriptures. I realize now that is most likely a problematic assumption. It is the Christian church, many centuries later (after Christ) that decided what went into the final, official Bible, and that includes choosing what B.C. documents are to be accepted. I should not assume the O.T. is the Torah in its fullness. I need to study what are the differences are.

  
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