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Ch. 3: A Short Digression on the Pig; or, Why Heaven.... 
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Post Ch. 3: A Short Digression on the Pig; or, Why Heaven....
God is Not Great

Ch. 3: A Short Digression on the Pig; or, Why Heaven Hates Ham

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Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:12 pm
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Just a brief comment: when I think of irrationality in connection with religion, these senseless prohibitions come to mind. I don't think that belief in God qualifies as irrational, though. Non-rational, but not irrational.


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Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:46 am
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Perhaps it is rational, irrational, and non-rational.



Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:42 pm
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What amazes me is the number of people who tell about the woes of Tibet and have never been there. The same goes for heaven. how can anyone describe the indescribable? If a person has concrete evidence, then we can talk. Most of the experts on a subject like this are speaking without a tongue, an eye or even a recent visit. Good luck. I haven't been there yet either, but my opinion doesn't count, If I did have a say, I would tell you that no one knows, no one is supposed to know and until we get a password, we won't even get a chance to visit. I love my recent life, but I love the prospect of my total life as well. I have never had a problem, I have never had a worry, everything has been temporary in my 3/4 of a centenial lifetime. I love discussions of this nature, but it is much better with those who have been there. Thanks for being there. Dr M



Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:53 pm
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Dr. M: "I love discussions of this nature, but it is much better with those who have been there."

Are you speaking of Tibet or heaven? I'm always annoyed at pastors who describe heaven as being made of chocolate and paved with gold, especially when heaven most likely doesn't even exist! Kids playing with fantasies... :laugh: very similar our thread here: http://booktalk.org/post45621.html#45621



Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:46 pm
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Interbane wrote:
Perhaps it is rational, irrational, and non-rational.

I'll buy that.


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Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:01 pm
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I found this chapter to be very interesting. I had never thought about why pork is forbidden in the Old Testament. Or why, all of the sudden it was okay in the New Testament, for that matter. I think Hitchens does a great job of analyzing the taboo and I think his conclusion is right on. He writes…

“I claim my own solution as original, though without the help of Sir James Frazier and the great Jim Warraq I might not have hit upon it. According to many ancient authorities, the attitude of early Semites to swine was one of reverence as much as disgust. The eating of pig flesh was considered as something special, even privileged and ritualistic. (This mad confusion between the sacred and the profane is found in all faiths at all times.) The simultaneous attraction and repulsion derived from an anthropomorphic root: the look of the pig, and the taste of the pig, and the dying yells of the pig, and the evident intelligence of the pig, were too uncomfortably reminiscent of the human. Porcophobia — and porcophilia — thus probably originate in a nightmare of human sacrifice and even cannibalism at which the ‘holy’ texts often do more than hint.”

Simply put, killing a pig is a little too close for comfort, and it goes without saying that at that time seeing animals slaughtered was most likely a commonplace occurrence. I just read an article that covers this same topic, in a very different context. It seems that there is a reality show in the UK in which the star of the show spent four days in a pig pen on a farm while being constantly taped. The write up about it is sometimes funny, but also revealing of Hitchens’ conclusion.
The actor, Richard da Costa writes
“On my last day I visited an abattoir to see how pigs are exterminated on a massive scale. I was put through the whole process with the pigs and it was absolutely clear to me that they had a very good idea that life was taking a significant turn for the worse. You only had to listen to the screaming.”

The entire article is found here.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7998780.stm



Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:52 am
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Post God is not great
I am late getting into this discusion, but after reading the posts on this book, I think I will rush out and buy it today. I'll try to get up to speed as quickly as I can, I don't want to be left behind.



Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:55 am
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anyone else notice that many popular descriptions of heaven seem to entail EVERYTHING you arent supposed to be doing here on earth?

Streets paved with gold is popular. Everyone gets a mansion. Muslims supposedly get 72 virgins (are the virgins in heaven, or hell?)



Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:05 am
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Lois wrote:
. . . why pork is forbidden in the Old Testament.


Hitchens is ignorant of Hebrew history. Solomon's Temple was a big, bloody abattoir, and modern sentiments against blood sacrifice are a modern innovation.

There are numerous theories for the pork taboo, including:

1. The pig was sacred to Saturn, and Hebrew religion began as the worship of Saturn, the outermost planet. Since Genesis 1 and the Ten Commandments are of a cosmological origin, the theory is plausible.

2. Pigs spoil waterholes. In a hot, dry climate, the nomadic Hebrews were often compelled to drink from water contaminated with pig wastes.

3. The Taboo against Pork was a way for Hebrews to distinguish themselves from their neighbors, a theory once favored by anthropologists.



Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:05 am
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