Reviews for The Book of Joe
Matt chapter 8 . 10/29/2005
Hey, Joe! Just on the site to see if you'd written anything new and I came upon this. I liked this essay of yours, well written, well thought out, an interesting read. There were many things I disagreed with in what you said. Some things I agreed with too, though. It would be interesting to discuss with you some of the things you said here, so if you ever want to talk about this kind of stuff with me feel free to bring it yeah, and have you read much of that book I gave to you? It would provide you deeper insight into what I believe and know to be true, and if you have any questions about it i'd be happy to talk to you about them too.- Matt S.
rvlee chapter 5 . 11/22/2004
hey!

just a correction on your "aristotle" quote - that's actually from one of plato's dialogues. (socrates is the speaker.) i can vouch for that, because i read it in the original greek! ;)
ezra504 chapter 1 . 9/25/2004
"Furthermore, those who DO have a need for forgiveness(the murderers I talked about before) are usually so far gone that they don't deserve it."

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Who are you to judge that? Any person who asks God for foregiveness that He deems worthy deserves it. Why? He says whether or not people deserve to be forgiven. Not you.

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"(Jesus would have gotten along great with the hippies.)"

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Not exactly. He frequently challenged power by taking action (not just by talking, then doing nothing,as the hippies do). He was against hypocrites, so he wouldnt side with these people.

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"Christians I have talked to have said that the Romans killed Jesus at the urging of the Jewish people."

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So lets assume that all Christians are anti-semitic. Yes, the Romans killed Jesus at the command of a Jewish crowd, but not all Jewish people. The crowd called for Crucifixion, and Pilate gave in. That being said, he was killed by the crowd's call, but it was still everyone's sins who put him there, and he even said "No one takes my life. I lay it down freely." So is it anti-semitic to say a Jewish crowd called for the crucifixion? No, it's just a fact that doesnt demonize all Jewish people (afterall, Jesus was Jewish, Mary was Jewish, etc. We don't "willfully" forget it). Just because some Jews are shown in a bad light doesnt mean that all Jews are.

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"This was right after that movie "The Passion of the Christ.""

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"That movie" is in no way anti-semitic. The most favorable characters in the movie are Jewish. Showing a few Jews in a bad way doesnt make the movie hateful. It doesnt treat them as Jews or Christians it treats everyone as people. (see RCS' essay "Political ramblings") The movie incites hatred against the Jews as much as Schindler's List incites hatred against the Germans. In short - it doesnt. The only person who will walk out an anti-semite, is the person who went in as one

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"Jesus died for one reason: He pissed off those in power."

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That's why they wanted Him killed, yeah, but ask any Christian why He died, I'm pretty sure they'll tell you.

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"The Romans were scared of a Christian revolution."

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There weren't any Christians back in Jesus' day. Everybody was Jewish. If they crucified Jesus, they thought they would face a fight with His followers, and if they DIDNT, they thought they would face rioting with the non-believers. Either way, they felt pretty screwed.

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"So to blame anybody is a bit unreasonable, isn't it?"

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I don't say the Jews or Romans were responsible, one called for His death, the other killed Him. But no, neither group is more responsible than anyone, since He died because of EVERYONE'S sins.

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"I think Jesus was a cool guy who really existed."

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Any sane or credible historian will tell you He existed as a human at least. But the only way you can accept Him as a 'cool guy' is to accept Him as Savior. If he wasnt Savior, he was either a nutcase or liar (neither of which makes someone a cool guy).
ezra504 chapter 7 . 9/25/2004
It's getting late (or early), so this is the last review i'm leaving for now.
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"He was a rabble-rouser and a reformer. Conservatives OPPOSE change."
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Jesus, for his day was neither liberal nor conservative. In fact, Caiphas was a rabble rouser (think of the crowd). Jesus preached a return to the roots of His religion (a conservative characteristic), not the warped version the pharisees had changed it into (much like liberal thought is doing to Christianity, attempting to change it just like the pharisees did to Judaism).
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"Nor do I support the demonization of the left hand."
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Jesus faces his left hand downwards to pass His judgement on evil people, and you consider it a demonization of left-handed people and left-wing politics?
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"Fighting against gay rights!"
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They're not calling it "marriage protection" to hide evil schemes. They have moral objections to it. Should they vote for gay marriage because of your beliefs? Should they go against their own beliefs just to make you feel good?
And of course, Republicans are just evil corporate fatcats who have no reason to disagree with gay marriage, but do it anyway just to twirl their mustaches and laugh maniacally.
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Marriage is in the dictionary, defined as a union between man and woman. It's not an outdated definition, anymore than the definition of paper, a book, a building or a chair is outdated,
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"As a male, I realize Ill never understand the issue completely."
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So, since you've never gone thru it, you say you're in no position to say it's right or wrong. However, a woman who has never gone thru it IS in a position to say it's right (just as long as she doesnt think it's wrong).
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And you don't have to put "Him" in quotes all the time. I'm sure if most people called God a "She" you wouldnt be putting the quotes. At least pick a gender. When you put the quotes around the word, it breaks the flow of your writing.
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And, like thousands of others before you, you compare the plite of Black people with the "plite" of gay people. It's proven that being black is natural (just look at any baby when they come out).
It's not proven that being gay is natural (you guys just assume it is, but then call believing in God blind faith. Hell, you guys are blindly believing that gay is natural).
Being Black is natural, so God wouldnt tell people that Blacks are inferior (and are you just assuming that all your Christian readers are White?)
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"And furthermore, since you're not burning witches, you're "disobeying God.""
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Yes, because we STILL burn witches. I did it the other night, most fun I've had in weeks. The people who dont burn witches are evil.
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We're not fighting for marriage because of tradition. We're fighting for the traditional definition; yes, but we're defending not the tradition, but the fact that it's right. Marriage is defined as between man and woman, no exceptions.
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"Standing outside of a clinic yelling "Murderer!""
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A liberal telling other people not to protest and scream things for no reason. What about the retards who stand outside animal centers screaming "HOW MANY ANIMALS DID YOU MURDER TODAY? MURDERER!" They're a lot better. They'll defend that animal's life whatever it takes, but they'll support abortion of a human life. Makes perfect sense.
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"isn't much of a useful act."
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Most protests today aren't useful, such as the constant environmental parades or anti-Bush demonstrations. You're not coming out against those either. These things arent actually making a change, they're just telling others not to cut down trees, then they use paper and wood to make protest signs.
ezra504 chapter 4 . 9/25/2004
"Most people kneel when they pray and use a very formal tone."
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Sound like asses to me; trying to show reverence for their Creator and Lord.
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"I think I do an act of worship every time I try to help somebody,"
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That's called a good work, not faith, not worship. Only doing good works or ONLY having faith won't get you into heaven. You need to have both.
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"I follow the ancient Celtic view that all names of deities are just different faces of the same divinity."
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That can never be true. Sheiva's a six armed goddess. Jesus (my God) is not a six armed female goddess. Many polytheistic religions wouldnt agree with you on this either, because, for instance, Zeus and Hera are two different dieties, not two deities that are worshipped in place of one. If you're giving worshipping Zeus, you're not worshipping Sheiva, or God.
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Another reason religious pluralism can never work is because they often contradict one another. For example,
Christianity says Jesus is God. Muslims say he was just a prophet.
so, if they're not worshipping Jesus, they're not worshipping the same God.
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Now for Pascal's wager. If religious pluralism is right, then it shouldnt matter to you whether or not I convert a non-believer (cuz we're all right, right?). It matter's to me whether or not that person is converted. Not you.
ezra504 chapter 5 . 9/25/2004
"Ignoring the claims that a "loving God" is a racist homophobe who levels cities to the ground and destroyed the first born of every Egyptian family."
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Let's look at your first little set of quotes. if God ISNT loving, what good will questioning him do? If he's "evil" that he'd kill people without a reason (as you seem to think), why are you questioning him if you think he's going to smite you?
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Name one time where God judges people because of race, and not the sick things they do.
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And homophobe? This just proves how idiots use words they don't know. A homophobe is afraid of gays. God isnt afraid of anything, really, so calling him homophobic is stupid.
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Now you probably just think that God discriminates against gays. Well, if he creates people, and creates them all straight, then by doing gay acts, they go against his design, and sin. (you're going to say how the Bible may have been mistranslated, but you're attempting using our viewpoint- that God is against gays - to discredit him.) Your argument doesnt hold up.
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Killing the firstborn of Egypt - it got Pharoh to release the Jews, didnt it? So it was A) kill the firstborns of an evil nation to free innocent people OR B) Leave innocent people, who did nothing wrong, in slavery.
And for chapter 2:
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"The leader of your faith, brothers and sisters, DISOBEYED the Bible!"
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No he didn't. If he were only human, and called himself God, he would have been, as you said, disobeying the Bible. BUT, since he was God, he didnt blaspheme. Is God calling himself God blasphemous? No, it's the truth. He was only accused of being a blasphemer.
ezra504 chapter 1 . 9/24/2004
"You say gay marriage is unnatural? Sure, just like electricity, writing, mining metal, building houses... none of THOSE things are natural."
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The reason Christians object to homosexuality is because it's morally wrong (I know, you're about to go into a whole drawn out line about and how morals are subjective.) Our sole problem with gay marriage isnt whether or not it's natural, but that it's wrong. By the way, electricity, writing, and mining metal are never condemned in the Bible, so comparing them is a flawed argument.
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"Why is God even a He?"
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God doesn't technically have a gender, but there are reasons that we call Him "He". 1. Jesus (God incarnate) was a he. 2. Jesus refers to God as the Father (not the mother). So we call God a He.
ezra504 chapter 8 . 9/24/2004
"Jesus came along later and contradicted him."
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Nope. Jesus fulfilled the commandments of the old Testament (and Moses). In the Old Testament, we died for our sins. in the New Testament, Christ died for our sins. When Jesus died, the veil on the temple tore, meaning that the old laws were, to some extent, abolished, based on Jesus' fulfillment. Jesus didnt contradict Moses.
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And you can't be considered Chrisitan, since you don't believe in Christ. You think he was a good ol' guy, not necessarily God. There are 3 options: lunatic, liar, or Lord. Either you think he was crazy, so he couldnt have been a good guy, or you believe he lied about his very being, meaning he's not a good guy. The only way you can accept Jesus as any sort of moral teacher is to accept him as Savior. You don't believe in hell either, i'm assuming b/c it's not tolerant or loving according to the liberal standards of today. You can't accept God if you don't accept what He declares. He says there is a hell. To reject His teachings is to reject Him.
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"For all the harm you lot have done, you've done some great good to make up for it."
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You cute little Christians, hurting people, then trying to help. That's what it sounds like you're saying. The Christians today have nothing to do with the evils done in God's Name. We couldnt stop the Crusades, we dont condone them. We didnt start the Inquisition. And the Salem witch trials, Christians were the ones being persecuted. Someone wrote an essay about Christian martyrs, and all you people can do is say, "Well, it's nice they died for their religion, but Christians have killed a lot of people." Always have to get that little antiChristian message in there, don't you?
Nikolomagne chapter 8 . 8/31/2004
This was very well written. I'm glad to see that people out there have the ability to look at a system and not only spot its flaws but try and speak out against them and offer ways to fix them. That changes the situation from complaining to a debate. You have this talent. May God/Buddha/Yahweh/Allah/whoever is watching over us bless you.
Nikolomagne chapter 5 . 8/31/2004
So far, this is really good. I used to be Lutheran until I wrote my own novel about theology in the future of technology, and how science figuratively and literally replaces God. Ever since, I have been agnostic, creating my own belief system like you are. I think this is a great work and I really really like it. I burst out laughing sometimes when you make comments and jokes within parentheses (like the whole "voices inside the prophet's head" one), but then I abruptly stopped when I read the part about the "opiate of our masses". This is because one of my favorite movies is the not so famous title, "Equilibrium". It was kind of like The Matrix Fahrenheit 451 The Giver 1984. This totalitarian society in the future quite literally forces their citizens to take an "opiate of the masses", a drug called "Prozium", in order to stop feeling emotion (which will lead to another World War that'll kill us all... oh... be scared of people who read literature and stare at paintings all day because their way of life is evil).
In the end, having a belief system is very important, but I agree that it's kinda stupid to blindly listen to someone telling you exactly what to believe and covering up factual evidence and saying anyone who deivates from the path will go to Hell. If Hell does exist, it's certainly on this Earth, and present in the souls of every last man, woman, and child who cannot think for themselves. Those of us who do think for ourselves have a duty to help those people who can't.
deepgirl chapter 8 . 8/20/2004
Hey, Joe. Before I go on to debate a few points, I would like to tell you how refreshing it is to see a fellow 16-year-old so interested in theology. You are obviously dedicated to helping others and honouring God- Christianity at its most basic level, no matter what denomination or, indeed, religion you are. That being said, I don't agree with every single point you've made so far. I'll go point-by-point:
The Catholic Church- I too, am a Catholic. I understand that occasionally it can seem overbearingly right-wing. However, go beneath the surface- have you read the Catechism of the Catholic church? It's quite excellent in explaining the church's point of view on morality and behaviour- turns out it's not as extreme black-and-white as is often thought.
Homosexuality- To be honest, I think of it as a deeply, deeply personal issue that isn't easy to debate. My point of view is this: I don't think of homosexual acts as normal or OK. this does not mean that gay people are going to hell- not at all, in fact. There's more to a person than their sexuality. I've met lovely people who happen to be gay. I can't bring myself to endorse their personal lifestyle, but again, that's their business- I'll leave it between them and God.
Abortion- I believe that abortion is murder and that life begins at the moment of conception. This doesn't mean that women who have abortions are going to hell- indeed, they are often frightened, confused, desperate, or misguided.
Premarital sex- I am of the belief that sex should wait till marriage. I also believe that there are worse things a person can do besides have premarital sex, but I think that we'd all spare ourselves a lot of problems if we'd wait.
The Bible- the Bible, and the way it came to exist as we know it today- is incredibly intricate and not easy to comprehend. The Bible was not written by one person, it was written by a variety of prophets, poets, apostles,philosophers, etcetera. In addition to that, it was not all written at one time- it stretches out over the course of thousands of years. To top it all off, it's been translated to so many editions that some details have been lost in translation. The Bible's purpose and message stays the same- it is a moral guide and spiritual revelation, not a history book of minute details.
Alright, so those are my points. I hope you enjoy the review, and I also want to compliment you on a thoughtful, thought-provoking, and inspired essay, that, regardless of whether you agree or disagree, it worth a lot of praise.
SacredGoggles chapter 8 . 8/18/2004
Yay! Person like me. - Course my religion is called "The book of SQUEE!" but it's really similar to Joeism. I agree with you on lots of stuff, 'xcept on life after death but don't we all? Write more?
Vayerly chapter 8 . 8/16/2004
Cool deal.
I have this personal philosophy that it doesn't matter what religion you belong to, or how you seek God; the important thing is that you seek Him (Her, It, whatever) in the first place. Therefore, the only belief system that I have a problem with is Atheism... along with the fact that it's philosohically impossible, it also rejects rather than seeks for a higher meaning.
Of course, as to the matter of sin, I define sin as anything that hurts another human being (or animal too, I suppose). I don't think that God (or whatever "force" you find) condones things like murder and whatnot. As you said, things like the idea of karma and charity are things that everyone should follow in their paths to righteousness (if there is such thing).
Well, I've gone on a bit of a tangent...
Anywho. Good chapter, as always.
Hyacinthe Wing chapter 8 . 8/16/2004
Applause, once more. Could have been a bit more useful to pinpoint some examples, but all in all, having a chapter about what you believe is good about Christianity was a nice idea.
Meh, I suppose all religions have their good points. Even the irreligious blood-drinking pseudo-vampires have the DACA; Darkness Against Child Abuse. There's some good in everyone. Hurrah.
Ta ta now.
fugiguru chapter 7 . 8/16/2004
personally i don't think that the christian religion should support either party. the catholic bishops have been bipartisan of late, voicing support for such liberal issues as higher minimum wage and abolishment of the death penalty, while also fighting against abortion and euthanasia (among other social issues). choosing a political party has always been very hard for the people in my community who are also catholic (i don't really know about other denominations. you're right though, that they tend to be conservative). i think the reason many catholics end up becoming conservative is because they believe they can make progress on one issue, and that issue is usually abortion.
anyway, nice chapter, and the topic of a political party to support is one i have often struggled with.
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