Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Oxford professor arrested on suspicion of ancient papyrus theft

    Hoh. Lee. Shit. Okay, once again, this really shouldn’t be a story on our radar – there’s really no Canadian connection, and whatever drama the Museum of the Bible goes through has no impact on atheists in any case. However… hot damn is there a lot of drama goin’ on there. Where to even begin? Let’s set aside the scholarly criticisms, such as that the “museum” really only shows one particular view of Biblical history – the evangelical view – and pointedly ignores any influence of other religions like Islam… or even Roman Catholicism for that matter… while spending time on shit like the American War of Independence, which of course has nothing to do with the history of the Bible. Nah, let’s just focus on the juicy, scandalous shit. Even almost a decade before the “museum” opened there was controversy surrounding the purchase of several artifacts. The Greens had been warned by their own lawyers that they were buying some dodgy shit that was very likely stolen or looted… and even if not, they were doing some dodgy shit when importing them into the US, by failing to report the truth about where they got them from. They didn’t listen, and soon came under investigation by the US customs enforcement department… and ended up having some 5,500 artifacts seized and returned to Iraq, and paying a US$3,000,000 fine. (Note that while ~5,500 artifacts were identified as stolen, only ~3,800 have actually been returned. Around at least ~1,400 appear to have just gone… missing. 🤷🏼 I mean, geez, how can you possibly expect them to, yanno, actually keep track of all that old crap, man? They’re just a “museum”.) Oh, but we’re just getting started. While all this was going on, some red flags were being raised by experts about some of the other items in the “museum”’s collection. At issue were some scraps of papyrus that were supposedly Dead Sea Scroll fragments, allegedly containing early copies of the Bible. Even before the “museum”’s opening, experts were already calling bullshit, sometimes for almost ridiculously obvious flaws: In one example, a fragment contained text that was apparently copied from a 1930 Hebrew Bible. How could they possibly know that, you ask? Simple: the forger had simply copied the text verbatim, and had accidentally included a footnote marker. Now, the “museum”, in accordance with their lofty standards of intellectual rigour, simply put the contested fragments on display anyway… while they were still being verified. That turned into a minor embarrassment when the preliminary data came back showing that at least a third of them were fakes. It turned into a major embarrassment just last month when the rest of the data came back showing they were all fakes. And as bad as all that is, it actually gets a lot worse when you realize those super-patriotic, God’n’guns, flag-wavin’, Moozlim-hatin’, ’murican heroes who run the Museum of the Bible, in spending millions and millions of dollars on all those stolen artifacts and forgeries, almost certainly ended up funding the Islamic State (and other, related terrorist groups) by doing so. But all that… that’s just the old news. Here’s what’s new today: An entirely different set of papyrus fragments on display at the Museum of the Bible appear to have been stolen as well… this time from Oxford friggin’ University… by one of the professors there. I couldn’t make this shit up. As bad as this latest embarrassment may be, there are actually some good sides to it. For starters, it seems highly unlikely that the “museum”’s crimes were actually financing international terrorism in this case, at least. That’s an improvement. Also, because these stolen artifacts came from Oxford’s collection, they were almost certainly legitimate… meaning that, for a short time at least, the Museum of the Bible did actually have some actual, real, legitimate historical Biblical artifacts on display! So, yeah! Take that, atheists!

  • [] Paolo De Buono, 🌈 MSc, JD, OCT on Twitter

    I normally don’t make Update items out of tweets… but this is a particularly interesting tweet for a couple of reasons. Paolo De Buono was mentioned in the Update earlier this year; he’s the teacher with the Toronto Catholic District School Board who defied homophobic bigots to read The Boy Who Cried Fabulous (which technically isn’t even really a pro-LGBTQ2+ book) to his grade 5 and 6 students. It’s awesome that he took this stand… but now he may be going even further. As he explains in the linked tweet, he is taking steps to make a formal request at the next TCDSB meeting for the board to recognize June 2020 as Pride Month. Now, for any humane organization in the 21st century, this should be a no-brainer. Even corporations that are completely devoid of any human heart or genuine compassion of any kind can still manage to at least put on a display. But this is the Toronto Catholic District School Board; they have a history of incomprehensibly tone-deaf bigotry when it comes to LGBTQ2+ people. So… what we have here is very likely the seeds of a drama that we will get to watch unfolding in just a couple of weeks. Oh yeah, this is def something we’ll be keeping an eye on.

  • [] “Religions” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    I mean, part of me bristles a little at the perpetuation of the misunderstanding of the definition of “atheism” (as we all know, atheism is not defined as saying “gods do not exist”, but merely as not saying that they do). On the other hand… can’t really argue with the general message: Sodomy totally is way on the table. 👍

  • [] God tests positive for COVID-19 after church services continue

    Okay, a lot of times with these satirical “news” sites, the punchline is the headline, and there’s not really any reason to read the article… but in this case, I highly recommend reading the article. I mean, yeah, the title alone is a hoot, but there are some comedy gems in the text, like this God one-liner: Most people can’t get testing that quickly but I know a guy at Mount Sinai. The pièce de résistance may be the Christian being quoted as saying: if I am not there in person despite how much it harms others, how can I call myself a good Christian?

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