My Best Friend’s Girl, with Dane Cook and Kate Hudson is Great Laughs and Silly Antics

A lot of people think that Dane Cook is childish. I can’t help but agree, though I still think he’s hilarious. And this movie was a testimony to that. I have no doubt that Cook had a hand in writing this movie – points at which they just told him, “insert your material here.”

Having seen Dane Cook live, I felt like I was watching bits of his sketches – not that they seemed to be giving him moments of stand-up comedy mid-film, but that the way he rehearses his own material again and again until he has it perfectly is the way he prepared for this role.

In any case, I laughed a lot. I’m going to tell you a joke from the movie as this blog does concern religion and this is one of the more religious moments from the movie. If you don’t want a joke (not plot related) spoiled, skip down after this paragraph:

A priest and a rabbi are at a wedding. They see a little boy bend over to pick something up, and the priest says, “I’d really like to screw him.” The rabbi asks, “Out of what?”

Also, the pizza restaurant, Cheesus Crust, was a hilarious touch, as was the owner’s reason for why she had created it.

Really – some great moments and consistent laughing fun. Be warned, though, this movie is crazy vulgar and incredibly disgusting – two characteristics I prize highly in funny movies but which you may not enjoy.

I give this a robust 7.5 Chocolate Salty Balls.

Did you like the movie? Do you like Dane Cook? Watch My Best Friend’s Girl again from your very own home!

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A Joke: Finkelstein and Jesus

Jesus was wandering around Jerusalem when he decided that he really needed a new robe.

After looking around for a while, he saw a sign for Finkelstein, the Tailor.  So, Jesus went in and made the necessary arrangements to have Finkelstein prepare a new robe for him. A few days later, when the robe was finished, Jesus tried it on and it was a perfect fit!

He asked how much he owed. Finkelstein brushed him off: ‘No , no, no, for the Son of God? There’s no charge! However, may I ask for a small favor? Whenever you give a sermon, perhaps you could just mention that your nice new robe was made by Finkelstein, the Tailor?’

Jesus readily agreed and as promised, extolled the virtues of his Finkelstein robe whenever he spoke to the masses.

A few months later, while Jesus was again walking through Jerusalem, he happened to walk past Finkelstein’s shop and noted a huge line of people waiting for Finkelstein’s robes.

He pushed his way through the crowd to speak to him and as soon as Finkelstein spotted him he said: ‘Jesus, Jesus, look what you’ve done for my business! Would you consider a partnership ?’

‘Certainly,’ replied Jesus. ‘Jesus & Finkelstein it is.’

‘Oh, no, no,’ said Finkelstein. ‘Finkelstein & Jesus. After all, I am the craftsman.’
The two of them debated this for some time.

Their discussion was long and spirited, but ultimately fruitful — and they finally came up with a mutually acceptable compromise.
A few days later, a new sign went up over Finkelstein’s shop:

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Motivational Posters Mocking Jesus, Douching, Porn Stars, O.J. and More

It’s becoming a Tuesday tradition to provide you with some of the best motivational posters that I’ve come across. You can count on them from now on every Tuesday.

Which was your favorite? Any you’d like to share that are particularly good? Email them to me and I’ll post them next week.

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Fun with the Bible: 6 Great Reasons that Moses Could Never Have Written the Bible

I was asked during the first Fun with the Bible post to talk about the authorship of Genesis-Deuteronomy, also known as the Pentateuch, the Torah or the Five Books of Moses. The question was, is Moses the author of the books whose collective title bears his name. The answer is no.

What Are Our Premises?

Now, numerous religious people will be popping their lids right now and claiming that I’m wrong, a blasphemer, a moron, evil, Satan, etc. And who would I be to deny most of those appellations. But as for the first one, I must object. Moses is not the author of any part of the Bible.

How do I know such things? Well, I must admit that my criteria for investigating the Bible are reason, logic, linguistics, archaeological evidence and the actual words of the Bible. I’m not concerned with what religious authorities say unless they are basing their arguments on these criteria and not just tradition, which is the only thing that could contend for Moses’ authorship.

Though I can’t supply a full list of reasons right here, I will offer a few examples as food for thought to get you started, and then send you on your way to read the first books of the Bible yourself.

A Few Good Reasons

1. Reason number one is that the Bible NEVER claims to be authored by Moses or anyone else for that matter. No one internally claims authorship. If Moses authored the Bible, you think he’d have said something – or anyone who wanted to be remembered for doing so for that matter. Only later religious people, hoping to attribute authorship and lend validity, claimed that Moses was the author.

2. Another issue is time. The Pentateuch is written in such a way – and doesn’t try to hide the fact! – that implies looking backward. It refers to the present day by saying things like “until this day” or “that was current then.” For instance, Genesis 23:16 refers to weights and measures as they were current in the time of the story, not the author’s time. Things are said in Moses’ time that they are there until this day.

3. Getting things plain wrong is a problem too. Presumably if God was telling Moses the way things were, he wouldn’t get facts wrong. For instance, in Genesis 21:32-34, the Bible speaks of Abraham residing in the land of the Philistines, a people that, archaeologically speaking, weren’t in the land until hundreds and hundreds of years after the supposed time of Abraham.

4. Mistakes and inconsistencies exist in the text, problems that surely Moses, if God were telling him what to say, would not have created. The reason for these problems, scholars have discovered, is that there are multiple authors’ voices and texts in the Pentateuch. In fact, Genesis through Deuteronomy is the weaving together of multiple texts to create one story. It was done very well but the originals were not changed. Some characters have multiple names, contradicting or repeating stories, etc. We don’t have to get into the details here but this is called the Documentary Hypothesis. If you want to know more, we can talk about it. Just ask.

5. Logical inconsistencies exist. Read the first verse of Deuteronomy. “These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan.” Well, it’s logically impossible for Moses to have written such a sentence. “Beyond the Jordan” means on the other side of the Jordan (though some crappier translations try to gloss over this wording, the original biblical Hebrew has precisely this meaning) and it is a biblical fact that Moses never went into the land of Canaan. Therefore, if he was only on the eastern side of the Jordan River and the person said he spoke on the other side of the Jordan River the person writing must logically be writing from inside of Canaan (approximately modern day Israel). That person can’t be Moses. Get it?

6. Moses can’t speak of his own death, right? In the end of Deuteronomy, Moses talks of his own death – saying, “Moses died.” The author also says that Moses was “unequaled” after we are told earlier that Moses was the most humble man ever. Seems illogical that he could say both things about himself, huh?

Where to Go from Here

There are numerous other reasons besides and many more examples for each of the points I’ve mentioned but this should get you started. If you read Genesis through Deuteronomy from the beginning without the usual religious biases that people have trouble with then you’ll see all this for yourself.

Read the Bible like any other book that you would read, not affording it the privilege of not making sense simply because it doesn’t and because it’s the Bible. Ask questions and see what’s wrong. I’m here to help if you get stuck or don’t understand something.

This is having fun with the Bible – reading it on our own to see all the great things we can learn from it while trying to get at the truth about its history and origins.

Do you have any questions? Do you disagree with everything I’ve said and want to tell me why? Do you think Moses wrote the Pentateuch? Why?

Can you give any other examples of why Moses couldn’t have written the Pentateuch?

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A Hilarious Sign Blaspheming Jesus – and More!

I’ve got a whole bunch of these hilarious signs and though many of them are funnier than the first two, they were the only topical ones considering the nature of this blog. I hope you like them, and the additional ones I’ve tossed in there.

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The Valley of Bamiyan: Buddhism, Radical Islam and the Taliban Collide at one of History’s Greatest Crossroads, The Silk Road

In 2001 in Afghanistan the Taliban destroyed two absolutely enormous statues of the Buddha that overlooked the Valley of Bamiyan, a once great and powerful place along the road that connected eastern and western civilizations. Saturdays are religion in the news days, however, and what happened in 2001 can hardly be called ‘in the news’ right now.

The significance – news-wise – of this destruction at this place is not in the missing statues but rather, in the labyrinth of caves that stands behind the place that these statues once stood. Throughout the caves, paintings have been found and one in particular which dates from the 6th century CE used oil in the paints, making it an oil painting. It was once believed that the technique of painting with oils was invented during the Renaissance, but this painting, if its date is confirmed, will prove this notion false.

Honestly, though, I don’t much care about this. I mean, I love history and I especially love when our notions of what was and wasn’t the case in history are shaken and reformed. I also like that religion (these were religious paintings) has a place in this mix. However, what interests me most in this case is the Taliban’s actions: their destruction of these two enormous and beautiful statues of the Buddha.

Of course, they did this because their radical sect of Islam insists that images cannot exist, especially ones of the Buddha which admittedly border on deification. So they destroyed them. I say, what a crying shame. I absolutely hate the destruction of amazing things, especially if the reason behind that destruction is some religious nonsense.

I’ve always said that if I was granted three wishes (I’m still holding out), one of them would be the ability to see any spot exactly as it stood at any point in history (think the fourth dimensional existence of the Trafalmadorians in Slaughterhouse 5), effectively allowing me to see every city, site and place that ever existed. I know – a lofty wish. But as a stood in Ephesus, Turkey at the site of the Temple of Artemis, staring at a pillar and a half that had been overgrown with weeds, I wished to sweet heaven that I could have seen it in its original glory. And that’s what I think about at so many places: in Rome, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the site of the lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt. I just want to see it as it originally stood.

That the Taliban would destroy a place of such magnificence and beauty – one that was actually still standing so recently though constructed over a thousand years ago – truly disgusts and disappoints me. Why couldn’t they have just put up a giant sign that said, “Blasphemy Ahead – Enter and We’ll Stone You” or something comparable? Why did they have to destroy it?

Have you ever been to the Valley of Bamiyan? Did you go before or after the Buddhas were destroyed? Have you heard that there may be a third Buddha buried beneath the river bed lying down?

What is the most incredible place you ever saw that you wished you could have seen in its original glory? What amazing world sites (manmade) would you like to see?