Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Freddie and I

The world is economically, politically and religiously shaky at best, but a good friendship can help one through the tangle!
by Charlie Leck

A small package arrived in the mail. It had Freddie’s return address stamp on it. It turned out to be a book he’d read, called Freddie and Me, and he said it made him think of me; so, after he’d read it, he wanted me to go through it too because he knows I like good golf books a great deal. Actually, I have the book in my library and I had already read it.

In fact, however, the book was only camouflage for the real reason Freddie was communicating. Included with the book was a copy of an article by Rush Limbaugh called My Conversation with Dinesh D’Souza. Oh, my!

Freddie urged me to read it.

“Let me know what you think of this,” Freddie wrote. “He does not slam Obama, but seems to think it threw [sic] – so you, being ‘a brilliant scholar’ are the only one I know I would enjoy your ideas on it.”

Of course, I gave the piece a read even though it was difficult to get by one of D’Souza first comments in reply to Limbaugh’s simple, opening question: “Hi, Dinesh. How are you, sir?”

“Rush, I’m a huge fan. I’m delighted to be talking to you.”

Never mind that Mr. D’Souza is the President of King’s College in New York City and a frequent author, anyone who is a “huge fan” of Rush Limbaugh must be kind of feeble-brained.

Freddie and his wife, Mary, are incredible. They are freakishly religious and generally blinded by a simple and utterly silly faith that excludes all other reasonable explanations about life and values. It’s the kind of dangerous stuff that causes a great deal of intra-religious hatred. Mary is forever sending me emails about Christianity, the Bible and/or salvation and the only way to that salvation. These emails make me quiver with disbelief or laughter. At first, when her emails started arriving, I’d spend far too much time fact-checking Mary’s tall tales and then responding to her about the distortions and utter “untruths” that they contained. Sometime ago, I gave up. But, today another arrived.

It announced to me that NASA is out to prove “the truth of the Bible… that what has been called ‘myth’ in the Bible is true? She sent it, I am sure, to dozens of other “undisclosed recipients.” The original message appears to have been from Mr. Harold Hill, the President of the Curtis Engine Company… [The following, I know, is long, but read it just for the wildness of its claims and its attempt to factually, but incorrectly, connect it to NASA]

'I think one of the most amazing things that God has done for us today happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, Maryland ...

“They were checking out where the positions of the sun, moon, and planets would be 100 years and 1,000 years from now. We have to know this so we won't send up a satellite and have it bump into something later on in its orbits.

“We have to lay out the orbits in terms of the life of the satellite and where the planets will be so the whole thing will not bog down.

“They ran the computer measurement back and forth over the centuries, and it came to a halt. The computer stopped and put up a red signal, which meant that there was something wrong with either the information fed into it or with the results as compared to the standards.

“They called in the service department to check it out, and they said, 'What's wrong?' Well, they found there is a day missing in space in elapsed time.

“They scratched their heads and tore their hair out. There was no answer.

“Finally a Christian man on the team said, 'You know, one time I was in Sunday School, and they talked about the sun standing still.' While they didn't believe him, they didn't have an answer either, so they said, 'Show us, '

“He got a Bible and went to the book of Joshua where they found a pretty ridiculous statement for any one with 'common sense.'

“There they found the Lord saying to Joshua,

“'Fear them not, I have delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand before Thee.'

“Joshua was concerned because he was surrounded by the enemy! And if darkness fell, they would overpower them. So Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still! That's right.... 'The sun stood still and the moon stayed and lasted not to go down about a whole day!'
(Joshua 10:12-13)

“The astronauts and scientists said, there is the missing day! They checked the computers going back into the time it was written and found it was close but not close enough. The elapsed time that was missing back in Joshua's day was
23 hours and 20 minutes.. Not a whole day.

“They read the Bible, and there it was about [approximately] a day. These little words in the Bible are important, but they were still in trouble because if you cannot account for 40 minutes, you'll still be in trouble 1000 years from now.

“Forty minutes had to be found because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits. As the Christian employee thought about it, he remembered somewhere in the Bible where it said the sun went BACKWARDS.

“The scientists told him he was out of his mind, but they got out the Book and read these words in 2 Kings that told of the following story: Hezekiah, on his death bed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going to die. Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof. Isaiah said 'Do you want the sun to go ahead 10 degrees?'

“Hezekiah said, 'It is nothing for the sun to go ahead 10 degrees, but let the shadow return backward 10 degrees.' Isaiah spoke to the Lord, and the Lord brought the shadow ten degrees BACKWARD! Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes!'

“Twenty-three hours and 20 minutes in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in Second Kings make the missing day in the universe! Isn't it amazing? [References: Joshua 10:8, 12-13 and 2 Kings 20:9-11.

Honest to God!
If our National Aeronautics and Space Administration is spending time on matters like this, I want to protest. Many of Mary’s emails to me are about wasteful government spending on matters like feeding the poor and providing health service to the ill. Of course, we are not wasting time if NASA is trying to prove factual some beautiful myths from books of Joshua and Kings.

Now, a very quick check on the powerful Snopes.com program reveals the claim by Mr. Harold Hill is totally bogus. Here’s what Snopes says

NASA’s Public Affairs Office at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, issued a rather sympathetic press release (if you read the entire document) that denied NASA’s computers would be or had been used for such a project. (It said, among other things…)

“[This center] has no knowledge of the use of its computers supposed by Mr. Harold Hill and attributed to our scientists. Goddard does not apply its computers to the task of projecting thousands of years into the future or past, as this would be irrelevant to the operational lifetime of satellites, which rarely exceeds a dozen years.

“[Harold Hill] worked briefly at Goddard early in the 1960s as a plant engineer, a position which would not place him in direct contact with our computer facilities or teams engaged in orbital computations.”

Oh, my! Why not just allow the Bible to be what it is and don’t try to make it into a historical document. The Great Book is a proclamation of faith and a guide-book for the faithful. It is meant to mix mythology (which is not a bad word) with history. That’s grand enough. We don’t need to be worried about whether the non-faithful believe it to be “factual” because it is not meant to be. It is a book that points to greater truths than facts (that’s what mythology is) – it points to the very soul of the Being of all Beings – to God herself!

I don’t want this blog to get too complicated and I don’t want you (my readers) to misunderstand what I’m trying to say here today. There is an awful lot of “crap” out there that people, just off the top of their heads, when they hear it, accept as fact. This last political campaign is proof enough of that. I could cite dozens of examples (and I know I don’t need to) but one example should suffice; that is, this comment of Congressman Darrell Issa, who will be the new Chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee:

“President Obama is one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.”

Of course, the Congressman provided no examples of such corruption and, of course, no evidence of any kind.

It has become the fashion to speak this way in America today. Make things up to justify your case! Just listen to the crazy, incredible things Congresswoman Michele Bachmann says. Just a few days ago she claimed that President Obama's trip to Asia was costing more than 200 million dollars a day. That's been widely debunked by several fact-checking agencies and with facts from the White House. She won't relent and keeps on making the claim even though she has no data, sources or facts to back it up. This kind of crap just isn't right!

Invent wild stories to defend your faith! Create lies to win in politics. Don’t worry that they aren’t true!

All of which brings me back to Mr. D’Souza and his extraordinary conversation with the big bag of wind, Rush Limbaugh, about his book Roots of Obama’s Rage. If you are willing to read the entire conversation carefully, you get the hang of Mr. D’Souza extraordinary evasive way of using the English language. He calls the President a “socialist” but with careful qualifications – “That’s partly right!”

D’Souza claims Obama’s ideology comes from his father – an “anti-colonialist who grew up in Kenya when Kenya was fighting for independence from the British.”

Amazing! Is D’Souza claiming the fight for independence and freedom from British colonialism was wrong? Does he really claim that Obama spent much more time with his father than a few fleeting months when he was very young?

Yet, D’Souza, calls this “a remarkable insight into the specific things that Obama is doing in the Oval Office.”

My goodness, are these really the thoughts and conclusions of an academic? Or are they just the sales pitch of a man who needs an outrageous thesis in order to sell a book?

D’Souza actually has the temerity to build a case that Obama is a foreigner because he “arrived on the American mainland at the age of 17.” He admits that Obama grew up in Hawaii, as if that was some strange, un-American land that taught anti-Americanism and socialism to its people.

Again and again, D’Souza returns to the fact (and I will stipulate it as true) that Obama’s father was an anti-colonialist. Imagine! So was George Washington! So were all those who put their hands to signing the great “Declaration of Independence.”

D’Souza is outrageous in his claims and persistently jumps to conclusions. If he is an academic, God help academia. God help King’s College!

“See, traditional Democrats want to redistribute wealth in this country. Obama wants to go further in realigning America’s wealth and position in the world globally. So not only does he want America and the West to become poorer, he wants to enrich the formerly colonized countries. That’s why he has had a moratorium, for example, on oil drilling in America…..”

And on and on and on… without citations or references… without any proofs except his own gut-feelings… and with numerous errors! For instance, was the “moratorium on oil drilling in America” really Obama’s? Of course not! Who lifted it to allow more research, exploration and drilling? Obama!

Yet, it is the fashion in America today to just believe such trash without critically thinking about it and wondering about the proofs for such irrational and bizarre statements.

NASA is out to prove the “truth of the Bible.” Oh, my God!

America is consumed by a strange sickness in this day and many of its people are willing to believe any lie if it will support their own fantasies and hopes.

I certainly hope we make it through this to a better and more hopeful day.

Thanks, Freddie, for sending along the book. I’ll get it back to you quickly. I'm glad we're friends even though the world is crazy right now with hatred and lies.

Tell Mary to please proof-check her outrageous emails.


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1 comment:

  1. NASA’s Public Affairs Office at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, issued a rather sympathetic press release (if you read the entire document)

    I'd like to but I can't find it. Does it even exist or is this too an embellishment?