Like the Aztec and the Mayan religions that preceded it, Christianity is, at its most fundamental level, a cult of human sacrifice -- defined by the act of sacrificing one person in order to absolve the sins of the many. Indeed, there is no Christianity without the sacrifice of Jesus -- without the use of Jesus as the archetypal scapegoat. Christian mythology, however, is perhaps worse in one regard; in the fact that we apparently had no choice. From birth, we are condemned by original sin (which God created), and so he must give birth to himself and subsequently slaughter himself in order to save us from the Hell that he himself created. Right.
But is this moral? We are never asked to accept this deal -- it's simply thrust upon us by default, through inheritance -- the entirety of humanity held accountable for the sins of one man (which God, in his omniscience, surely knew would occur). That aside; would not the more Christian action be to deny salvation? Would it not be more morally righteous to say: "Do not torture that man for my sake. I would rather burn in Hell." At what point is it deemed morally acceptable for any man, let alone a "Christian", to say "torture and kill that man so that I may live. Crucify him so that I may be saved."
And yet, the almighty and omnipotent God, who would ostensibly have the power to wipe away original sin with the snap of his fingers, decides instead to brutalize his own offspring for our sake, without ever giving us a say in the matter (opposite for those born before Christ, who had no opportunity for salvation). The doctrine itself is horrific; the proper response should not be "Thank you God for sending down your son," it should be "How dare you assume -- how dare you make me a part of this deal without asking my permission. How dare you inflict pain and suffering on another human being for my sake, to absolve me of the sins that you have given me from birth."The Cosmic Atheist
And an adventure into plain white background portrait shots. To be honest, I have played with this kind of thing before but never with a clear aim in mind. This isn't the best photo ever taken (if only because it features me) but the aim is more to showcase a style that I can achieve. This is the style for quality stock images and also portrait and web shots. It really focuses attention to the features of the face and expressions and in a way demonstrates whether a photographer can connect with their subject. It's easy to take a candid snap and catch an interesting expression (I know, I've done it!) but a lot harder to eek out a good expression from someone when they are fully aware that they are having their every twitch scrutinised. My hope now is to get some guinea pigs in front of the lens and really work on getting those expressions down.
I recently had a lunchtime debate with a colleague about gay rights and gay marriage. She is due to be wed in about a year so weddings, marriage and children are in the front of her mind. To be honest, her opinions shocked me a little because, at least on the face of it, she was a bigot. I do think though that her opinions were informed more through parental and cultural influences rather than her own careful consideration of the issue and her naivety on this issue did show. The reason I say that is that all her arguments were the stock-standard arguments trotted out in these types of debates by anti-gay rights activists.
I think I did a fairly good job of explaining my position logically and reasonably to her (although her opinion didn't seem to really change) but thought it might be worthwhile capturing the main points in writing here.Read More ...
This is another contender for photo of the year. This was taken earlier this year at my niece's (fairy themed) birthday party. This is one of the fairies who came to celebrate on the day. The expression on this face blows me away. The intensity in the eyes and the body language really tell a story.
I love this photo. The composition; the relaxed, natural expression; and those endless eyes. This is a strong contender for photo of the year 2013.
He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.Douglas Adams
The quote above perfectly coveys my current thinking.