Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Testing Poe's Law...

Once again from the top, Poe's Law states:

"Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing."

With that in mind, can you guess which of the following Evangelical links are actually just parodies? Here are the rules: Don't Google the names of any of these sites, just follow the link I've provided for each one and skim the article.

Rapture Ready

Kjos Ministries

Landover Baptist Church

Exodus Times

Jesus is Lord

Satan's Rapture


Dinosaurs on the Ark

It's a pity everyone and their mom has already heard of Answers in Genesis. Most of their stuff could pass for parody too.


Garret G said...

I pray to the Lord that Dino's on the Ark is a parody. Also the Landover must be. That Santa thing, oh my- please be a parody to!
Thanks Skippy
parody this!

Garret G said...

The satans rapture homepage has a mayan calendar countdown-COOL! Less than 5 years to go, are ya ready?
I have been having fun exploring moonmovie.com too.

Skippy the Skeptic said...


Landover Baptist is actually the only site on the list that I know for sure to be a parody. The dinosaurs on the ark bit is not. Honestly I wanted to use an AiG page about the same thing, but I figured everyone knows that AiG is serious about the bollocks that it spews. Google "dinosaurs on the ark" and the very first thing you get is an Answers in Genesis page that reads, in part:

"In Genesis 6:19–20, the Bible says that two of every sort of land vertebrate (seven of the “clean” animals) were brought by God to the Ark. Therefore, dinosaurs (land vertebrates) were represented on the Ark."

The Devil's Rapture page is honestly kind of up in the air. It's run by a guy named Harry Walther, and he's made enough noise that there are actually articles by other Christians calling him a loon (Due to his weird two raptures theology, apparently). He apparently also runs an internet radio show along the same lines as his website.

I really can't tell if Walther is serious or not - He's the perfect example of Poe's Law. I even e-mailed him today before I posted by blog entry, but he's yet to get back to me. Rest assured that if he ever does, his response will be posted.

Skippy the Skeptic said...

Oh, oh, I almost forgot: Walther has also written a couple of books, including the redundantly titled "June 6, 2006 6.6.6: Antichrist Revealed", which is available on Amazon for $10 (Which could be better spent on 2 gallons of gas, in my estimation).

Reading the synopsis of the book, I note that he shares William Branham's contention that Cain is the spawn of Eve and Satan. He also seems to think that the Antichrist will somehow be a clone of a Cain, and he's learned all of this by way of the Bible Code and, apparently, UFOs.

This kind of stuff is why I don't drink.

Garret G said...

Yeah....AiG s answer doesn't seem to follow does it? Thats it, I am not letting them handle my auto insurance anymore! Yah har har.
Did you get your list from this link?

Jay said...

The History Channel occasionally runs a program on the Mayan calendar.

One of the bits of "evidence" they throw out in quasi-support is some guy whose name I can't come up with just now who did some sort of voodoo on the Chinese I-Ching and generated a graph that purports to show that the I-Ching, like the Mayan calendar, predicts the end of the world on 21 December 2012.

Stunning. In a "I need another beer to watch until the next commercial" sort of way...

Skippy the Skeptic said...

Nah, my list is original. You'll note that it only shares Landover Baptist and Rapture Ready with Rational Wiki list. I actually searched back through the dregs of my memory for sites I'd been to myself before, although it would've been easier to pirate their links, I suppose.

I originally wanted to include an article by a fella' named Brett Peterson about the evils of Pokemon that I'd seen back in high school, but I decided not to because of a redundancy issue - My original link to Kjos Ministries was to their Pokemon article, but I went back and changed it because the "Touched By an Angel" one was even more off the wall.

Jack Chick wasn't included because everyone knows him, and Westboro Baptist wasn't included because I refuse to link to Fred Phelps.

On another note, I've got a Pentecostal friend who was either legitimately somewhat concerned about that History Channel Mayan calendar show when it first ran over the summer or is a fantastic actress...

Skippy the Skeptic said...

Response from Harry Walther as to whether or not his site is a joke:

"hello and thank you for reading? did you read our site or just look at the pictures?

its hard to believe that anyone could think our site to be a joke or parady?

Well our site is as serious as an earthquake.

God Bless
Pastor Harry/CH of PHL-INT"

Honestly I think the jury is still out...

Garret G said...

"pastor Harry" makes predictions, one was supposed to pass of the 11th of this month, about an ebola attack on Philadelphia.
Here is his response to its apparent not happening-

"MAY 11, 08: CODE UPDATE: Today many will say this code did not happen but this is not an accurate statement. It is very possible (in a scenario I first revealed in AUG 2005) that today, 5-11-08 terrorists released EBOLA in Philadelphia as a bio-weapon, as an invisible plague. Then on MAY 16 (11 Eyer) is when people turn up sick at hospitals and an "outbreak" is declared. A missile could then be launched at the city to trigger mass panic and evacuations, spreading Ebola across America. It is also possible this bible code was prevented (thru awareness) as the code itself says. It is too early to declare "victory" so we will "WATCH AND BE READY". In either case, we are one attack away from The Apocalypse. (see page below for complete explanation). "

uhhhhhh.... wouldn't you just LOVE to be this guys next door neighbor? A little peek out the window to see that he is not there before you leave so you don't get sucked into some bible code crap. Sounds like friday is gonna be quite a day for America- ebola, and maybe some missles too! I'm glad I'm on the west coast- sorry Kentucky! I will expect a scientifically accurate "Ebola log" from you Skippy- get your camera ready to go.

Please Skippy, this is a joke, right? Please?

Jay said...

Oh, I've gotta pipe in on this...

The problem with ebola is that the strains that are most infectious to humans transmit via contact with contaminated tissue (e.g. blood, not Kleenex...). They're not especially well-transmitted through the air, so using ebola as a bioweapon probably isn't the best strategy.

What I think would happen in a scenario like this is that the Bad Guys would pre-infect some martyrs to the cause (whatever the cause might be), who would insert into a city and start milling around. However, until they start bleeding out of unexpected orifices, they're not going to be particularly effective transmission vectors, and once they bleed out (if not before) they'll be identified and containment efforts will begin.

The missile scenario wouldn't be too effective - it'd shut down civilian air travel, and the vast majority of those who evacuate wouldn't be infected anyway.

Pastor Harry would've done well to research his diseases a little better. He really wants inhaled anthrax or possibly Russian smallpox.

Ay, caramba.

Three Ninjas said...

This is the greatest thing ever!

"MAY 15, 08: CODE UPDATE: If Terrorists did release Ebola on MAY 11 in Philadelphia, the first persons should show up sick on MAY 16. (Ebola has an incubation time of 2-14 days)."

Shouldn't at least some people have already started turning up?

I CANNOT WAIT for tomorrow's code update!

Jay said...

I'm still curious about what sort of "release" this nutter's talking about. The only airborne strain is Ebola Reston, which infects monkeys.

People getting sick this soon after infection would most likely think they had the flu. When they start bleeding into their eyeballs, they might get a little suspicous. Give it a couple of days...

Three Ninjas said...

Thanks JAK. Perhaps I jumped the gun.

Skippy the Skeptic said...

Perhaps he thinks the Antichrist intends to parachute infected monkeys into New York. That would be in keeping with Walther's apparent level of sophistication.

Garret G said...

Here is a little sample of his bible exegesis-

"Satan and say 665 of his highest and most wicked demons (NEPHILIM) ) Enter Into the dead and dying Martian Alien Bodies (SONS OF GOD) and animate them. Now Satan and his demons can function in human form, well a larger version of the human form. Satan could have repaired any damage to the Martian Spaceship and THE DEVIL IS NOW AIRBORNE, HIGH TECH LUCIFER!

It is also possible that Satan and his fallen angels found a crashed Spaceship buried in the ice of the north pole. In either scenario, the devil would be in possession of both alien bodies and super advanced Alien technology.


Satan, having caused the Fall of Eve and Adam, was cursed by GOD and turned into a serpent, reptilian form. Yet Satan and his select demons live in the animated Martian/ Alien bodies.

In time, Satan and his demons (NEPHILIM) posing as the (SONS OF GOD) Mate with human women, the "daughters of Men" (Gen:6:4) and create a mutant race of Martian/ Human hybrids, "giants, the men of renoun."


In recent years, we have seen a male tiger mating with a female lion (and vice verse) to produce a GIANT HYBRID, a 900 pound, 12 ft long lion. I BELIEVE THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT GEN:6:4 IS TELLING US!!!

If the DNA of Martian and Humans is close enough, a Hybrid Race of HUMAN GIANTS would be produced. They could also be born STERILE, unable to reproduce themselves as we see with a MULE, the mating of a horse with a donkey"

Jay said...

Actually, that's more of an eisegesis - he's introducing his own notions (ravings?) into his interpretation. Of course, I don't see why the notion that Satan might have entered the body of an alien is any more absurd than the notion of a talking snake...

(You realize, don't you, that the serpent in Genesis was just a snake? It wasn't interpretted as representing Satan until rather much later, by early Christians, who were applying their own eisegetical views to the work.)

Garret G said...

Hi Jak-
"(You realize, don't you, that the serpent in Genesis was just a snake? It wasn't interpretted as representing Satan until rather much later, by early Christians, who were applying their own eisegetical views to the work.)"

Hate to break it to ya Jak but if it was JUST a snake, snakes don't talk. If snakes don't talk, it wasn't just a snake, get it? Was it good or evil? Was it physical at all? Maybe "snake" is just a symbol of a non physical evil entity. Angels are non physical, right?

Okay, I will look into how the early Hebrews thought of Genesis, and the snake- you claim eisegesis, there should be some historical backup for your claim, care to share? In otherwords, there should be ancient Hebrew commentary on Genesis and the fall of man in order to properly determine if Christians changed the interpretation of chapter 3.

Garret G said...

Oh Jak,
Another quick note. I do realize that of course, in the light of Christ and His revelation, that the OT scriptures were seen in a new light, and "illumined" in new ways. You may define this "progressive revelation" as eisegesis- I am comfortable with you doing that. If Christianity is true, then it is appropriate to interpret in the light of Christ's revelation, as He is the fulfillment of the law, etc. If Christianity is not true, there is no new light shed on the ancient Hebrew manuscripts at all, and there is no justification for doing so. It boils down to what one believes, sure.

I am justified in judging "pastor Harry" to be anathema. There is no good reason I see to believe his interpretation or the existence of bifurcated FSM's

Jay said...

Make no mistake, Garret. I'd say Pastor Harry is a certifiable kook.

Garret G said...

Hey Skippy you forgot this mystery-

Jay said...

"Progressive revelation" of the Bible, specifically relating to certain Christian retrojections onto the Hebrew Scriptures, is an unnecessary contrivance.

To illustrate, consider the view that the authors of the Biblical works were writing their understanding of the way God interacted with the world. They may have been inspired in the same sense that an artist is inspired by a beautiful sunrise, or a poet by his muse, but I'm not using the word to imply in any way, shape, or form that God actually dictated the words, held the quill, or anything involving direct intervention.

As time passes and people become more sophisticated in their understanding, they write different things - maybe they realize now that it's not OK to rape the women of a conquered town, for example. This would lead to some of the contradictions that we see running through the Hebrew Scriptures - they're artifacts of the differing perspectives and understandings of the authors, not cryptic clues by God to be decoded.

By the time you get to the middle/late 1st Century CE, and stories about Jesus are getting written down, the same sorts of contradictions and artifacts are still creeping in, again due to the perspectives and understandings of the authors.

Now, you can either accept contradictions and inconsistencies on their face (and this is the real "Plain Meaning" that you like to talk about - the text says what it says), or you can try to come up with all sorts of unwarranted rationalizations to harmonize them - such as declaring the entirity Hebrew Scriptures to be prophetic of Jesus.

I personally find the former to be a much more relevant approach, and I personally find the latter to be a defective method of interpretation.

The former is what we do with every other ancient text, and once we establish what it says, we look to the historical and social context to understand what that means.

That's what we should do with the Bible, and that's what scholars like Ehrman, Friedman, Koester, Brown, Metzger, and others attempt (or attempted for those who have passed on) to do.

The latter approach is conclusionism - you've (the general you here, I'm not picking on you, Garret, at the moment) presumed the truth of a certain position, and procede to evaluate everything else in the light of that core presumption.

Every set of guidelines or rules for Biblical interpretation from a fundamentalist source that I've ever seen inasmuch as tells the reader to presume the absolute truth of the Bible and interpret accordingly. They usually pay some lip service to understanding the historical and social context, but one is supposed to get that from - wait for it - reading the Bible!

It doesn't work that way. It's like trying to understand the entire 19th Century whaling industry by reading only Moby Dick, and it requires you to carve out this special logical exception for the Bible and how you approach it.

Now, in anticipation of future discussion, I'd like to request that you (the Garret-specific you this time) please precisely define what you mean by the term "Plain Meaning". This will help keep us from going at cross purposes in the future. (I'm picky about defining terms precisely. Some of us at IIDB spent months going round and round with a character who's method of operation was to attempt to redefine terms left and right whenever his arguments started to fall apart.)

Garret G said...

hi Jak,
I appreciate your time and commentary.
My time here and on Rays has caused me to reevaluate some of my positions, and understandings of the bible, and evolution, and I appreciate that, in the spirit of learning.

Now- by plain meaning I meant just that, read the words. I also pointed out that this brought forth difficulties.

I am not at all sure about inerrancy as a tenable doctrine anymore. The only way it can be is to say that God allowed mistakes in the bible, and that is possible- then that would be this definition of "innerancy"- it is exactly the way God intended it to be, with warts and all. This is the way Greg Koukl addresses it. That is not the dictionarys definition, now is it? It is a theological definition.

A related issue would be inspiration, maybe these just were holy men who were inspired by their experiences and wrote, and that God did not litterally guide every word they wrote. That would go a long way toward explaining discrepancies. I am tending to like this explanation now.
Let me put it this way. I have studied apologetics for a while now, and tried them out. They are either
a. not as resilient as I thought or b. I am a lousy apologist who does not understand the details. (or c. both)

Looking at my past several months, I am getting sick and tired of long winded explanations in the face of simpler ones, I can tell you that!
So I will continue to explore, including the authors that you mentioned.

confused in californy

Jay said...

Garret -

I highly highly recommend James Kugel's How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now.

What Kugel does extremely well is look at the Bible (the Hebrew Scriptures, actually - he's Jewish) in terms of traditional viewpoints and then through the lens of modern scholarship. He does that side by side, which I thought worked very well, and he does it without presupposing one approach as being better than the other.

(It's on special at Amazon right now, so you can pick it up on the cheap if you're interested...)

Anonymous said...

pastor harry walther is really Richard Landes a history prof. @Boston Univ. He says he found his name harry walther in 'his bible codes'. What a meglomaniac. i'm suprised he has started some kind of terrorists attack just to prove his misguided theories

Anonymous said...

pastor 'harry walther' is not his real name. His real name is Richard Landes, a medievil history prof. @ Boston Univ.. he says he found his name harry walther in 'his' bible codes. that is not even his real name. what an egomaniac. i'm suprised he hasn't started his own ebola terrorism attack just to prove his 'wacked out' theories

Skippy the Skeptic said...

Thanks for the info. Between him and Mabus, we've certainly discovered a treasure trove of weirdos lately.