He Never Died

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 6.22.55 AMI have been looking forward to this movie for a while now. He Never Died stars Henry Rollins (of Black Flag & Rollins Band) in this film about a troubled man who has to struggle with being sober for a while in order to find his daughter.

There’s an element of mysticism to it as Jack is supposed to be Cane or a fallen angel, but I’m not sure which. The trailers have been incredible. I’ve always enjoyed Henry Rollins and look forward to seeing how this movie goes.

You can get it on iTunes now.


Commenting on atheism

After the lively discussion I had, I wanted to get my feet wet with some bloggers. Being as easy as it is to find content on WP, I searched for a few minutes and then found this post: To Those Who Say There is No God. It seemed as good as any to dive into, and I opened with the following:

I grew up “spiritual” with no religious training other than the random christianity events for holidays. As an adult, I became a Christian, then got into messianic christianity. Then I rejected christianity and became a Jew. Then I rejected that too. I can’t say with 100% certainty that there is no god, but I’m about as certain as saying there probably aren’t unicorns either.

Ultimately, it was my incessant needs to have questions answered. Religion couldn’t answer them. I found the natural world to provide a better source of understanding the world than a sky man watching me.

It seemed to me this was a fairly tame comment. Also, I’m especially fond of Richard Dawkins’s “unicorn, elves, fairy” comment and was looking for a chance to use it.

I found the site’s owner, Victor, to be pleasant. But then, this other person stepped in – Freedomborn! – which is pretty much where everything went to hell.

So what Proof have you got Jason that there is no God, have you died and come back and so can be so certain there is no God or Heaven or Hell or are you just going by hearsay and your own understanding, as Christians we do have Proof.

Christian Love – Anne

I’ll save you the drudgery of posting that mess here. You can do that if you feel like it. My conclusion from the experience is that religious people (Christians in this case) have problems believing some very basic facts, like facts based on history for example. Coincidentally, history was also a problem for the gal mentioned in the previous post.

After going through the whole experience for several comments I grew tired of it, realizing it was like talking with a dog. Which leads me to the question, in a roundabout way, but I’ll get there…

All of my debates and with various religious people in the past were useful because I used the Bible and spoke with them around a common authority. But now I speak to people from a different reference point, like when I would talk with Christians about Judaism – it’s nearly impossible because it centers around Jesus and their interpretation of the Tanakh as it relates to the New Testament. Unless you can get them to speak from a common reference point, there’s not going to be any eye-to-eye discussion.

Is it then worthwhile to talk with Christians about atheism? I enjoy discussing religion – it’s still probably one of my favorite topics – but is it worth it to engage? When you can’t discuss with someone about simple things like historical facts and fossils that anyone can view at their local college/university, how do you have a discussion? What has your experience been?

Thanks for reading.


A friend posted an article on Facebook about the movie Noah which asked, “Should Christians say no-ah to this twisted Hollywood take on the Old Testament story?” You can read the article here. I was really glad when I saw it because the trailer generated curiosity when I saw it, and this article finally made me search for what intrigued me.

As soon as I saw the trailer, my curiosity was piqued. The darkness of it, the cruelty, etc. Then I immediately thought of the 1999 animated film Prince of Egypt. Not because it was dark, but because it was such a fantastic retelling of the story of Moses that the familiar was transformed into the unknown and unfamiliar. New details! New questions! New ideas! It was an exciting and emotional retelling story about the man who would guide the birth of the Jewish nation.

Why was it like that? Because the writer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, drew from Jewish midrash (storytelling) 1 and inserted his own based on his understanding of those stories as a 20th Century Jew. See here. Midrash are not only ancient stories, they are also modern retellings and interpretations of ancient tales. They don’t have to exist agreeably with existing stories. And it’s okay if they disagree. It’s a story. It’s a way to make you think. Some are more authoritative than others, but they all serve the purpose to help us understand and learn.

Which leads me back to Noah. There has obviously been a lot of artistic license going on in this film. And the article referenced by Facebook friend gives me the impression that the Christian community is not taking too kindly to it. Therefore, I would like to put forth my question, does this movie use midrash to tell a relatively short tale?

Who are the writers? A suspiciously Jewish-named pair, Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel. And I’m off to a good start as the answer to my question is already starting to take care of itself. With just a brief search, I found this great article about the movie on the Jewish Journal here. I won’t go into it in length, but I’ll say that, yes, they did use Jewish midrash and inserted their own. Just like I suspected.

And this makes perfect sense. Jewish writers with a Jewish background relying on Jewish sources to tell a Jewish tale, while also filling in a couple of details with their own understanding of things.

Here’s where the important difference comes into play. This is a story with Jewish origins and footholds, and is a tenant to the Christian faith too. Broadly speaking, Christianity is not receptive to new ideas about their established traditions. The fundamentalist Christians are threatened by ideas that stray from the literal text of the Bible. Which, don’t forget, has its own midrash wherein Noah is a happy story about lots of fuzzy animals and fun boat ride. To be fair, this is widely used as a children’s story in the Jewish world too.

Simply, the difference is the worldview. Christianity holds a fairly tight worldview on how things should be interpreted. When those established ideas are threatened, the backlash is unavoidable. Judaism is much more open to questions, doubt, and entertaining new ideas. For instance, Judaism has made room for evolution in its understanding of Creation even by Rashi, an 11th Century rabbi who has provided Judaism with one of the greatest commentaries on Torah even to this day. Which, compared to Christianity, well… some say God put the dinosaur bones there to test their faith.

In the end I think the value of the movie will come down to how open are you to ideas that are not established by your faith? Are they threatening? Or are they entertaining and provide new ways to think about an ancient tale?

A movie isn’t for the purpose of defining a faith. Even the writers, having a Jewish background, both consider themselves atheists. It’s a story. A story that should make you think about something in a new way. That’s all. It’s not taking over your faith. It’s a modern equivalent of sitting around the fire listening to a great storyteller. Is he trying to convert you to his interpretation of the story? No, just sharing the things that he has always thought about it.

Sit down at the fire. Have a listen. Enjoy yourself. Try to learn something from it, even if you don’t agree with it. It’s just a story.

  1. Midrash is essentially traditional stories that fill the many gaps in the biblical narrative. An example of this is that the Bible tells the priests to make sacrifices, but it never gives exact directions (as it does with the construction of the mishkan). The midrash steps in and fills those details from stories of how the Jewish people fulfilled those commands given by God. Midrash also fill the gaps in the stories of Creation, the Exodus from Egypt, the battles of King David… etc.

Another Apple fanboy post…

This has been a big year for Apple. They’re more valuable than Microsoft, Exxon, even the U.S. Government! They’ve somehow managed to create an aura around their products that people still want them, and somehow buy them, when we’re in the greatest financial struggles since the Great Depression. They make products that not only work very well, but they give you a strong emotional reaction to them.

Look at this redesign the Apple Store at Fifth Avenue is getting. Just look at it! My god, man! You take something that’s already amazing, then put it next to the “one more thing” redesign and you can’t help but think what stands there now is pure rubbish.

Photos plagiarized from the Web somewhere

This is just absolutely incredible. Just incredible.

Now, what if your business ran the way Apple runs? What if all businesses were as passionate about creating a product right the first time, and somehow making it better and better with each iteration? What if our Government representatives were passionate about giving the best service possible to their constituents? Man, what a thought.

Does anyone know about the prophetic role Apple may play in the End Times? Just curious… now go back and look at those pictures.