Urban Legends: Ben Stein - What did he really say?I am sure you have sent this with the best of intentions, believing you were doing your part to create world peace. But harmony arrives in the form of human kindness, acceptance and compassion, not through segregation or attempts at forced conversion. Stein's comments about being free to interpret God as we understand him have merit, but the distortion that follows needs to be challenged.
I recently posted an article at Magic City Morning Star News entitled: Ben Stein: Reap What You Sow - Nov 6, 2007 and today I received an email from Amanda about the article. Her email is reproduced in Full. Blue Type are her comments while black type come from the original article.
Just a note: Amanda's email triggered my memory to the fact that I was indeed aware of the matter relating to Spock's son, and when I investigated, found that I had mentioned it in another article and referred readers to the Urban Legend site. Realizing that the original article at Magic City does not include the clarification, I have now included the link to the urban legend site. - R.P.BenDedek
Getting the Facts Right on Ben Stein
From Amanda I would like to respond to this email forward that I've seen floating around the internet recently. It is a propaganda piece which purports to be by Ben Stein. In truth, the majority of the piece is not by Stein (His piece ends after the comment about Nick and Jessica. The rest was cobbled together from anonymous messages circulating on the Internet since late 2001. You can read the original on his Web site). However, since the email is being mass forwarded as is, I am going to respond to it in its entirety.
The Stein commentary begins with an acquiescent anecdote about Christians and Jews, giving the illusion that the message will be one of harmony and goodwill. When I first started reading the email, I thought, 'It's about time. What a beautiful, non-discriminatory email encouraging peace and acceptance among humanity.' However, after the initial two paragraphs, the email quickly turned divisive.
The email was in fact not about unity, but was in fact a poorly veiled attempt to convert readers to religious adherence and to promote the mergence of church and state. After the initial anecdote, the email itself was quite segregatory. It was quick to create a divide between religious and non-religious. Then, proceeded to blame everything from terrorist attacks to Hurricane Katrina on those who do not worship God.
To those of you who have forwarded this email to me, let me first say I am sure you have sent this with the best of intentions, believing you were doing your part to create world peace. But harmony arrives in the form of human kindness, acceptance and compassion, not through segregation or attempts at forced conversion. Stein's comments about being free to interpret God as we understand him have merit, but the distortion that follows needs to be challenged.
I would ask that anyone receiving this email to deeply reflect on the statements made in this message and consider whether they are truly in the spirit of harmony and peace.
I mean no disrespect. But I believe it is the responsibility of humanity to challenge harmful thinking (especially when it arrives under the guise of Godliness) and reflect on what is truly moral.
I have added my comments below in blue.
The Email in Black
with Amanda's Comments in Blue
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country.
This concept came from from nowhere because it is what scholars call a "strawman" - where you construct a false version of someone else's position, set fire to it and then claim victory. Nobody claimed that America was supposed to be Atheist. What people have said is that America is supposed to be secular. You may have heard of this; it means religiously neutral --it's what you depend upon to be able to air your religious views without fear of state reprisal when they're not the right ones. Before secularism, it was not such a safe thing to be a Jew in a Christian-majority nation.
I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
I can help you. It's the part that starts Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. The constitution is very clear about that. The First Amendment explicitly prohibits the government from establishing or controlling religion. This means the government is not allowed to coerce adherence to religion, or to compel the support of religion against an individual's will. The effect of this arrangement is that Americans are free to worship, believe, and support religion as they see fit. Secular government allow Christians and Jews to co-exist!
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
This is an illogical correlation. You do not need to be religious to reject corporate media culture.
Note: This is when Stein's commentary ends. The rest has been added anonymously by other emailers, under the pretence of being by Ben Stein. ***
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" (regarding Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"
How can one even consider attributing Hurricane Katrina to a lack of allegiance to God? Anyone who believes in the New Testament should be horribly offended by such insinuation. Do we liken the flu pandemic of 1918 as message sent by God? More than 20 million people died from that flu. At best, this is thinly-veiled fear mongering. (By the way, the last time I received this email, Graham's comments were in reference to 9/11).
In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
First of all, terrorist attacks are not caused by lack of religion. In fact, they almost always carried out by religious extremists. Second of all, referencing O'Hair's murder as some sort of backhanded way of condemning atheists is appalling. O'Hair and her children were murdered callously by a man she had exposed for stealing money --not because the United States Supreme Court agreed with her that it was non-constitutional to force bible readings in public schools.
But for what its worth, relevant decisions (Engel v. Vitale, Abington Township School District v. Schempp) which did away with forced Bible-reading only peripherally involved OHair. The case she was famous for was Murray v. Curlett, which was amalgamated into Schempp by the time it reached the SCOTUS.
Though while we're on the topic of O'Hair, it is perhaps insightful to note that while O'Hair worked to defend non-Christian children from violence and persecution, those who were adamant about keeping religion in schools responded with aggression (Her son's kitten was strangled, her home was stoned, and she received several profane letters in the mail, including photos smeared with feces and another that threatened her life: "You will be killed before too long. Or maybe your pretty little baby boy").
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.
Wrong. Truly voluntary religious activities in schools have never been illegal.
The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
While commandments 5-10 do address morality (1-4 do not), admonishments of this kind are found in virtually every culture throughout recorded history. "Do unto others" is a wonderfully moral precept; however, numerous teachers have preached the same message centuries before Jesus (Zoraster, Buddha, Confucius, Epictetus). And, it is scientific fact that moral emotions (like a sense of fair play and an abhorrence of cruelty) precede humanity itself!
All of our primate cousins are partial to their own kin and generally intolerant of murder and theft. They tend not to like deception or sexual betrayal much either. Chimpanzees, especially, display many of these complex social concerns. There are obvious reasons why children treat their parents well and think badly of murderers, adulterers, and thieves.
Morality was not created by the bible. We, as human beings, use our own moral intuitions to decide what it is ethically right. That is why most religious moderates would never stone a non-virgin bride to death on her father's doorstep (Deuteronomy 22:13-21), or beat the child with a rod (Proverbs 13:24), or murder someone because they are homosexual (Leviticus 20:13), or kill a child who talks back (Leviticus 20:9; Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 15: 4-7), or keep slaves (Leviticus 25:44-46; 1 Timothy 6:1-4), or sell their daughter into sexual slavery (Exodus 21:7-11) or kill their first born as a sacrifice to God (Exodus 22:29-31).
It is our responsibility as humans, to hold ourselves morally accountable and question those convictions which are harmful to our fellow neighbour.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.
First, anyone who can't solve a problem without resorting in the first instance to violence has no business claiming anything about morality. Second of all, I very much doubt that Spock's ideas about child care (being loving and affectionate towards children rather than refusing to pick them up, kiss them, or hug them for fear it would not prepare them to be strong and independent individuals in a harsh world) were the cause of terrorist attacks. Nor do I think believe that Spock's recommendations against infant circumcisions because he "could find no convincing reasons for it other than religious rite" were the cause of school shootings. (The rite of circumcision emerged as a surrogate for child sacrifice Exodus 4:24-26).
Furthermore, Spock's son did not commit suicide. Spock had two children, both of whom are still alive today. The fact that thousands of people have forwarded this email without questioning its legitimacy is reprehensible. And even if this had been true, referencing such an awful event is just as appalling as referencing O'Hair's murder. Get the facts here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Spock
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW." This is very true. The basic tenet of morality is about not doing harm to others. We need to apply this universal law to our every action.
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.
One of these things is harmless; the other is the cause of countless wars and needless persecution.
Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. Are you laughing? Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. My Best Regards.
Simply hitting the forward button is not engaging in the thought process.
Honestly and respectfully,
Unfortunately, this is a forgery. Stein's words ended above where I noted.
Mingxing's company had booked him into the upmarket Kempinski Hotel in Wuxi and he organized and paid for one extra day so that we could go sightseeing. There are two photos in Part one that relate to the Kempinski Hotel Room, but this photo is of the lavish foyer of the Hotel as taken from the first floor landing above the coffee shop. Whilst the Big Buddha is the 'centerpiece' so to speak, the real spectacular is to be found in the Cultural Museum. This place is one helluva spectacular place inside. It sits directly opposite the replica of the Potala Palace, and when you enter you are required to put coverings over your shoes. I suspect that the real reason is to cut down on the cleaning bill. This place was crowded and all those people shuffling along wearing shoe protectors gave the marble floor a really high sheen.
The Fairy Island on the Lake Taihu. which used to be called the Three-Mount Island, is a group of well-known islands and islets in the famou s scenic spot of Lake Taihu.it lies in the lake, and is 2. 0 kilometers away from the Turtle Head Peninsual, which is in the northeast shore. The entire islands are made up of the islets such as Daji, Xiaoji, Dongya, Xiya, with a total area of 12 hectares. (From a Sign at Taihu.)
It was decided that unshod horses would not be allowed to be used in commercial ventures. People couldn't ride horses for a living; salesman couldn't load goods onto their horses; and horses could no longer pull carts. While it all seemed quite logical and humane, the unforeseen consequence of the law was that the supply of goods into and out of the town began to dwindle, until in the end, business after business went bankrupt. As time went by the whole city went bust until the only ones left were those who could not afford to move, and one of these was our blacksmith. One day, considering that since the council itself was now gone, the blacksmith decided to restart his business.
When excavating workers discovered the original Royal road and archaeological viewing platforms have been set up from both above and beside the original road. No charge! You can go down the ramp and clearly see the road and the accompanying signs/ The Chaotian Gate - During the Zhizheng Reign of Yuan Dynasty it was renamed to Gongbei Tower. It was destroyed in the 10th year (1474) of Chenghua Reign Ming Dynasty and rebuilt in the next year. The building was destroyed again in early Qing Dynasty and rebuilt in the 25th year (1686) of the Kangxi Reign Qing Dynasty. It is known as Drum Tower.
Politically Correct activists fight many different causes but their bottom line strategy is to demonstrate that their opponents are "GUILTY" - guilty of anything and everything one can quickly think of so as to disempower those same opponents. Reaction formation generally speaking is accusing others of those things of which you yourself are guilty BUT which you find inexcusable within yourself. Itís rather like being a Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One part of the character lives in the righteous, non discriminatory respectable world of PC but underneath there is a guilty secret that one doesn't want to let escape. It would ruin their image. And so they point the fingers of hatred at those guilty of the same thing - because in fact they "loath themselves".
Having stated that the Governor is one of the very first elected officials to take this action and that there is no play book to show him what to do next, the American Policy Center is calling on citizens to sign a 'Letter of Thanks' to Governor Bentley: If you care about protecting our Constitution and our way of live from attacks by the United Nations, then you must stand with Governor Bentley by signing and returning you "Letter of Thanks for Opposing United Nations' Agenda 21". The newsletter warns however that if Governor Bentley is left to fight alone, then he is probably doomed to be destroyed by the very powerful UN/Agenda 21 forces.
The original command to anoint Jehu as king over Israel (not Judah) was given to Elijah the prophet in 1 Kings 19:15-17 in which he is commanded to anoint Hazael as King over Syria (in place of BenHadad) and Jehu over Israel in place of Ahab's son Jehoram. And there is a promise from God that those who escape from Hazael will be slain by Jehu and those who escape Jehu will be slain by Elisha. But even though the Scripture talks about killing the King of Israel's heirs (the house of Ahab), no where does it say that anyone is to kill the King of Judah "Ahaziah", who was either Ahab's grandson, nephew or son-in-law. (2 Kings 8:18 makes his mother to be the daughter of Omri and therefore sister of Ahab and so he was Ahab's nephew, while verse 26 states that his mother was Ahab's daughter therefore he was Ahab's grandson but verse 27 refers to him as son-in-law).
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.
Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
R.P. BenDedek writes social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both at KingsCalendar, and as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News in Maine USA.
(He has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003 and currently (2013) is teaching in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province.)
General formula for Biblical Data conversion:
The formula for constructing the artificial calendar was:
'X' times 364 equals 'Y' days'Y' days divided by 336 equals 'Z' artificial years.Values are:'X' = any given number of 'real/solar' years364 = perceived days in the sectarian calendar'Y' = number of days calculated336 = number of days in an artificial year'Z' = artificial years = 1.083'X' and represents the original number of the converted years plus 8%.To reverse the process by hand:'Z' years times 336 equals 'Y' divided by 364 equals the Number of 'X' years converted.
To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5:Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE:
The Principle of Linear Causality
The King's Calendar is a very simple approach to Biblical Chronology. It substitutes a value of 336 days for every year listed in Scripture. As far as the Divided Kingdom is concerned, when you use this 336 day year value, the synchronisms actually work. To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5: Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE
Because it is a mathematical system, the King's Calendar must abide by certain mathematical rules, the most important of which, is that if you change any date for any day, month, or year every other day, month, or year is effected and must also change. It's like a 'domino effect'. Chronological references cannot be 'forced' to fit, and nor can they simply be ignored or 'compressed' as is the usual case with historians and archaeologists.
If any King's Calendar chronological determination disagrees with anything in the history books, it must argue the case as to why the history books are wrong, or why the evidence for an assertion is untrustworthy. If the King's Calendar successfully defends its' position, then the history books cannot be treated as definitive, and if the King's Calendar is 'proven' wrong, then every other chronological reference it provides is also wrong.
Because of this, the King's Calendar Chronological Reconstruction of Israel's history is unique, in that its' methodology can be scientifically (mathematically) tested and demonstrated to be either true or false. Its' chronological predictions are able to be 'proved' or 'disproved'.
Rules of Evidence Series at Kingscalendar.
Part 1. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology Part 2. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology Part 3. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology Part 4. The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology