Saints are so confusing

There’s this famous historical place of worship called the Hagia Sophia. As a native English speaker, I naturally pronounced the first word “Hah/ghee/a”. Years later, I feel like a fool for never having learned “Hagia” actually sounds like “Aya”.

So imagine the confusion today upon encountering the word “hagiography”, and finding out that it’s pronounced pretty close to how it looks like it should be pronounced.

The AFA considers the Grinch Christmas-friendly

The amount of foolishness that emanates from American Christianity never ceases. Or ceases to amaze.

The AFA (American Family Association) is zealously guarding the Christmas season, convinced that saying “holiday” instead of “Christmas” is leading people away from Christ.

They’ve taken the time to compile a list of companies that use the word “Christmas” in their seasonal advertising.

If the Grinch were on this list, he’d be in the green section. He used the word “Christmas” all the time.

The_Grinch_(That_Stole_Christmas)

Why do popes change their names to something boring?

So they say to this guy Jorge Mario Bergoglio, “Hey, dude, we want you to be the leader of a billion-person organization, but you need to change your name” and he says “Uh, OK, some other popes used Francis; I guess I’ll use that one.”

Really, George?

It’s like if my name were Robert and I decided to change my name to Derek. People would say, “Oh yeah, you’re so cool, changing your name from one millions of people use to a name millions of other people use.” And while they were saying it, they would kind of purse their lips and use that tone of voice just on the edge of straight and sarcastic. Not sarcastic enough so you can call them out on it, but enough so you KNOW they respect you slightly less than the leftover sugar that didn’t dissolve in your coffee.

But you look at a baller like Metta World Peace…now he had the right idea.

Elect me as pope, and guaranteed I’ll drag the Catholic church out of the 13th century and into the 20th. For starters, giving myself a cool name, like Pope Space Ghost or Pope Spider-man. Someone cool. 4chan and Reddit would completely blow up! And they’d talk about how maybe this new pope isn’t a child molester or Nazi sympathizer for a change.

And if those cardinals give me flak for my sweet new name, all I gotta say is “I’m the damn POPE; I’m infallible, mortal scum!” And they won’t even be able to call me out for using the minor swear word “damn”, because I would have said it in Latin.

The Missing Beatitudes

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into the mountain: and when he had sat down, his disciples came unto him:

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying,

Blessed are the televangelists, for their congregations shall help them lay up treasures on Earth.

Blessed are those who complain about being persecuted, because my followers shouldn’t have to deal with that sort of thing.

Blessed are the rich, for they shall be able to give a fraction of their income to charity and still live in luxury.

Blessed are the strong, for they shall be able to kick some Islam and Chinese arse.

Blessed are those who are politically active in my name, because they know I would have been part of their political party.” — America 5:1-7

The next president

Officially, in the United States, one’s religion is no barrier to office. Nonetheless, it’s hard to imagine that a non-Christian would have a serious chance of becoming president…it would simply scare too many people. Perhaps a Jew would have an outside shot.

But what if the next president had to be of a religion with a poor reputation? Which would you choose? (Yes, I know atheism’s not technically a religion.)

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Bible Buffet

Perhaps I’m not up on my Bible reading. But if anyone can remind me what part of the Bible involved getting attacked by carrots, french fries, and salad dressing, that would be much appreciated.

The Bible is correct about the value of pi

Math and religion. Oh how long I’ve wanted a post that combines these two topics.

Anyway, some Bible skeptics like to criticize the Bible for claiming that pi is equal to 3 based on this reference:

(1 Ki 7:23 NIV) He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.

The circular object is 30 cubits in circumference and 10 cubits in diameter. Thus the Bible says pi = 3, LOL. Right?

Well, it’s not LOL, and it doesn’t take some of the odd gymnastics Biblical apologists use to see why.

It’s all about significant digits. The concept of significant digits helps us determine how precise a number is and how precise we can expect any calculations to be.

For a real-world example, let’s say you’re driving to Houston, desperate to visit me. You see one of those signs that says “Houston 100”, indicating the city is 100 kilometers away. (Yes, I know it’s miles and feet in the US. I want to use metric. Hrmph.)

Imagine you step out of your car and stand by the sign. Then you take a step 1 meter backwards away from Houston. You wouldn’t say “I’m 100.001 km away from Houston now!” Why?

The sign has a precision to the nearest km. We can’t tell whether the sign is actually 100.1 km, 99.729 km, or somewhere in between. There’s a limit to how precise we can be.

Let’s go back to the Bible passage. The dimensions are 30 cubits and 10 cubits, both numbers with only one significant digit. Without any further information on the measurements’ precision, calculations can only be expected to be precise to one significant digit.

30 / 10 = 3. Pi to one significant digit is 3. The Biblical figure for pi is as accurate as it can possibly be given the measurements. Nothing to see here. There are enough questions about the Bible not to dwell on a non-issue.