By: Marty Leipzig Re: Well, I'm back...(for a short time), Part 1. Hello, all. To quote Je

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By: Marty Leipzig Re: Well, I'm back...(for a short time), Part 1. Hello, all. To quote Jerry Garcia and company, "What a long, strange trip it's been." But first, the highlights: In slightly more than six weeks, I've traveled over 100,000 kilometers; and most of that was on Aeroflot. I've visited 6 countries and traversed so damn many time zones, I'm still not sure what the hell day it is today. But all has not been just for the pursuit of filthy lucre, oh no! Many tales of fundamentalism in it's many and wearied forms shall soon be regaled. Really, it all started innocently enough at Houston Intergalactic and the duty free bar/shop. Seems that there's an inordinate number of fellow travelers from Oil City that head east on a similar bimonthly schedule. Best part is, they're all rather convivial and all on expense accounts. The best booze is free booze (even if it is _only_ scotch). Anyways. After a quick few rounds of "Who can run up their expense account the fastest", KLM announced the departure of Flight 666 (I am _NOT_ making this up!) from Houston to Amsterdam. As luck would have it, dame fortune smiles upon tipplers and the gonzo, so that we were assuredly doubly blessed, and the 747-400 had only a mere 120 souls for the trip. Strange thing, it seems that virtually everyone opts for the front of the big bird, yet the assorted and sordid oil field trash immediately heads tailward. Closer to the heads and the dispensary, don'tchaknow. (This travel tip supplied free with your subscription to "'HolySmoke'; now an international fundy frying forum".) Soon, we're winging our way east, through the stratosphere (still damned few fossils there...) and well on our collective way to a colossal hangover. Someone produced a deck of cards, and an impromptu poker game (on company dinero) got underway. I had my trusty laptop, PIM, CD player and collection of fine dance tunes when I noted that one of our number had a set of small speakers (the kind that attach to Walkman type players). Soon, the poker game was going full tilt, as were the various liquor bottles, to the refined tunes of Pink Floyd, Mussorgsky and Tangerine Dream. Even the stewards sat in for a few hands. All too soon, the liquor ran out (Shame...) and we we're getting gear down and ready to invade Amsterdam. (Another important travel note: Schiphol Airport has the most wonderful Duty Free shops this side of Shannon, a simply wonderful casino and the absolute worst telephone system in the known world.) After infiltrating Netherlands customs, the Duty Free areas and the far too few heads; we, as a person, sallied forth to kill a few hours and errant brain cells at the Schiphol Casino. Let us draw the curtain on this sordid scene and pick up on the action some few hours later on the next KLM flight from Amsterdam to Moscow. About 15 of us had the same flight as previous and wrangled our way to the rear of the aircraft. It seemed rather strange that we were the only Caucasians inhabiting this part of the plane, and we alone we lacking the single monochromatic dot smack in the center of the forehead. Suffice to say, the stewards ran out of orange juice, apple juice and other non EtOh laced lovelies on this bunch of like minded world citizens. Pity. It saved all those nasty potables for the infidels, of which I was but one. I was relaxing in 14G, popping another goat damned Heiniken (one of the very few things I hate about KLM, their lack of beers OTHER than Dutch ditch juice...ah, well. we all must make concessions...) Ahem. I was working my way through a 6 pack when I heard the little olive skinned lovely in 14B say to her smallish, and equally bedotted offspring; "Look, dear. Over there. A heathen." I looked up to see 4 ocular orbs quite transfixed upon yours truly. In true HolySmokian fashion (we'd just been served what passes for in airlinese) "lunch", which, surprisingly, contained a couple of slices of ham. I tilted my beer in their direction, smiled, took a swig and chomped a hunk of ham, obviously to my relish and their abhorrence, and said to them, rather sweetly, "And not only that, I'm an atheist! We've come for your children, my dear!" Mere words cannot describe the aghast look and the physical imposition she put between her child and the bebearded and rather outsized apparition now asking for a double vodka and Bitter Lemon in the seat a mere armslength away. Fundies. Silly in any stripe (or dot). We arrive in Moscow (almost trampled by the True Believers trying to, as quickly as possible, exit the plane (hmm...I wonder why?...) and trundle off to passport control (Hell) and Russian entry customs (Hell^2). The only redeeming thing about Shermeteyvo-2 is the Irish Bar that is immediately to your left once you pass customs. After waving off hoards of taksee drivers, we collectively gather at the Irish Bar for the traditional Mulligan Stew (say adios to western cuisine) and a few pounders of Guinness. Here, the cadre of westerners broke, each heading their separate way. Me? I'm off to the Moscow Marco Polo Palace and dip in the jacuzzi. The next 43 days were rather uneventful, being spent in Siberia and what with it being winter and all. Apart from the banya excursions, ice fishing trips, vodka and beer; it was a fairly quiet hitch. One instance of note: we're shooting a 3-D seismic grid out in the outback. The only way around the countryside (now nestled serenely under a 2 m thick blanket of snow) is through the use of old Soviet armored personnel carriers (graciously donated by the military to the local Neftegaz groups after their stint in Afghanistan). The smaller recon vehicles (the GAZ 11) weighs in at only 6 tons, and, being a tracked vehicle, is the very height of fun to drive. The larger GAZ 20's tip in at around 11 or so metric tons, and are used by the seismic crews to drag around the skid-mounted drill rigs to prepare the 15 m deep shotholes. APV's, drilling rigs and explosives...what could be better? The Biblical errors and contradictions I see mentioned here are getting a little worn out. So I thought I'd offer up a few "new" ones. These, of course don't begin to exhaust the list: Why would a perfect garden (Eden) require tending and cultivation? (Gen. 3:15) Gen. 2:17 says Adam or would die the day he ate the fruit. Adam lived for 930 years (Gen. 5:5). God tells Cain he will be a vagrant and a wanderer (Gen. 4:12). Yet Cain settled down and founded a city (Gen. 4:16-17). Abraham took Keturah for a wife (Gen. 25:1). Later we are told Keturah was only a concubine (1 Chron. 1:32). Isaac was Abraham's only begotten son (according to Gen. 22:2 & Heb. 11:17). Gen. 16:16 and Gal. 4:22 says he also had a son Ishmael. God promised Abraham the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession. (Gen. 17:8). Yet he got nothing he was promised (Acts 7:5, Heb. 11:9-13). Many places in the Bible say that all have sinned (I Kings 8:46, 2 Chron 6:36, Proverbs 20:9, etc etc). Yet according to Gen. 6:29 and 7:1 Noah was righteous and blameless, as were Job (Job 1:1, 1:8, 2:3), Zacharias, and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-6). Joshua 19:2-6 reports Simeon as inheriting "13" cities (and their villages) and names them - all 14. Apparently Joshua can't count since he does the same thing in naming the "14" cities of the lowland Judah - and lists 15. (Joshua 15:33-36) Job 21:7-9 says the wicked live long. Psalms 55:23 & Proverbs 10:27 say the wicked die young. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 says God deceives unbelievers to make them believe falsehoods (even thought God supposedly hates lying - Proverbs 12:22). 1 Tim. 2:3-4 says God wants all to know the truth. Isaiah 17:1 prophesied that Damascus "is about to be removed as a city, and it will become a fallen ruin." Today, as one of the oldest cities in the world, Damascus is the ONLY city in Palestine that has never been destroyed. Ezekiel prophesied that Egypt will be laid to waste, its cities uninhabited for 40 years. (Ez. 29:9-12) Never happened. Jesus's final words are different in three of the four Gospels, Matthew, and Mark being the only accounts that agree with each other. (Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34, Luke 23:46, John 19:30) Jesus says "and if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." (Mark 10:12) Women of that time and place had NO right or ability to divorce their husbands. The KJV says: "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the SON OF MAN, in whom there is no help" (Psalms 146:3, emphasis added). Other versions of the Bible often try to alter this passage.

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