Geezus -- from all the Fed-sponsored public service ads, I had understood that it was buying/smoking pot that was responsible for terrorism -- our government would't lie to us about a thing like that, would they? ;-)
Good points all -- except I am not so sure about the naked bike bit -- since his closest female friend was a prostitute, he may not have been as opposed to public nudity as the Church might have us believe. I kinda have him on an FZ1. Not totally nude, more in the pasties and a g-string mode, or perhaps in keeping with regional tradition, like a belly dancer. You know, shows enough to give a good idea of the working bits, while still maintaining some sense of mystery.
As someone who attended conservative fundamentalist Christian church-run schools for 14 years -- through the first 2 years of university, I have done a fair amount of study of the Bible -- both directly as well as reading the works of Biblical scholors.
While I consider myself to be an agnostic, I have great admiration for Jesus, and I consider the Jewish and Christian Scriptures to be among the great works of literature and moral philosophy -- in partucular, I consider the King James Version to be one of the preeminent works of English Literature.
I believe that most scholars assert that the (possibly reformed) prostitute Mary Magdalene was, in fact, one of Jesus' closest companions.
You are correct that my comments (and, I am certain, those of others in this thread) are tounge-in-cheek. However, please explain how my questioning (however flippant) of Jesus' supposed opposition to public nudity could constitute blasphemy? Also, if you would, please cite the clear, unambigous Biblical references which support your view that Jesus considered public nudity to be immorality, or for that matter, which supports the "traditional" Christian definition of what constitutes sexual immorality (ie any sexual activity other than between husband and wife).
That is Paul -- no question how he felt about that -- but that doesn't convince me that Jesus taught that. Considering that the Gospels were written 70+ years after his death, at a time that the early Church, heavily influenced by Paul's teachings, was already fairly well established, the absense of any of Paul's views towards human sexuality being posthumously attributed to Jesus in the Gospels seems significant.
Actually, if you read my post, I never stated that Jesus condoned public nudity -- what I did say was that it was far from certain that he OPPOSED it. While that comment was intended to be somewhat in jest, I stand behind it. I am fairly confident that Jesus was never quoted -- even third or 4th hand (as is likely the case of what is written in the Gospels) -- as saying anything even remotely addressing the subject. I doubt that it came up that often, given the likely paucity of strip clubs in Israel circa AD30.
Certainly Paul believed that sex was, in itself, sinful or at least bordering on such, but that as a last resort, it was "better to marry than to burn." He also had some fairly opinionated ideas of the proper role for women. Aside from certain Catholic traditionalists, most contemporary Christians (and I do not refer to the so called "liberals" only) do not fully share those views.
As for the Old Testament refererences condemning fornication and adultery, for every such citation, there are examples that suggest that these rules were regularly flouted by God's chosen leaders, generally without any record of God's displeasure.
>>To be an agnostic means to be one who believes that there can be no proof of the existence of God but does not deny the possibility that God exists. <<
You have very accrurately summarized my beliefs -- I would go a step further and state that, not only do I not deny the possibility of the existance of God, I would probably acknowledge the PROBOBILITY that God exists.
What I am much more uncertain of, is the nature of God, if it exists.
The Christian, or Judeo-Christian views of God are far from the only ones out there, and within Judeo-Christian circles, there are widely differing interpretations of God's nature, and even more widely differing views of how to interpret his guidance and moral laws.
I am sufficiently familiar with fundamentalist Christian belief to realize that if I should find myself facing St Peter (or whatever forum my final judgement may take), there are things I have done that I could have a hard time justifying; however, any supposed blasphemy regarding my remarks about Jesus' views on public nudity would not be very far up on the list.
It was not my intention to offend anyone. I am certain that none of my clergy friends (I have several, including an Orthodox Rabbi, a couple Southern Baptist pastors and a Seventh-day Adventist minister) would have taken offense.
I agree that this is not the forum to debate theology
Sorry to say, damn it really pains me ....... ok, caught my breath. Gotta go with KPaul on this one, at least partially.
Clearly there are SUVs which are used to carry large families, tow boats or campers, and/or which are used on back roads or deep snow, but every survey I have seen (not just Washington State) confirms KPaul's basic premise. The vast majority of the time, most SUVs are being driven on paved roads, with a single occupant and maybe a purse or briefcase, or maybe a few grocery bags for cargo.
On the other hand,where I live, most families own at least one 4X4 vehicle, and they are used largely as god intended -- to drive off-road and in snow. I own an SUV -- a Ford Escape that gets 25 mpg, and gets me through the deep snowdrifts that are common around here (unfortunately not yet this season -- I wanna ski!), and I also have a 4X4 Ford pickup that gets maybe 15 mpg on a good day, has loud, aftermarket twin pipes (they were on it when I bought it) that gets used when there is snow on the ground, when I go up into the national forest roads, hauling building materials, firewood and most importantly, hauling my Ducati to the track. I don't feel a moment's guilt about either.
While it pains me to see people driving around in perfectly polished monster SUVs that will never be used off pavement -- much the same way that it pains me to see poseur Ducati riders on new 998s, with 1 1/2" "chicken strips" on the edge of each tire, wearing $1500 color-matched Dianese leathers whose knee pucks have never been within 2 feet of asphalt, I do defend their right to squander their money this way if they so choose.
I do have a problem with SUVs (and light trucks as well) being given a free ride from so many environmental, safety and CAFE standards. Not saying whether those standards are right, but if passenger cars gotta meet them, SUVs and pickups should as well.