Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Atheist April & A New Theme

For my first post of the month, I want to announce that April will be Atheist month. I picked it because of a post by Uruk which I found amusing.

The story goes: a judge dismissed a case by an Atheist (obviously a big A) who was suing to institute an Atheist holiday. The judge quotes Psalm 14:1 (The fool says in his heart there is no God), and it is declared that April first is the Atheist holiday, since it is April Fool's Day. The judge's logic is flawless, because as we all know, the bible is American law.

So even though I will be going in to work today, I will be celebrating Atheist April by kicking it off with a nice April Fool's Day. While Uruk is quick to distance himself from the name-calling, I like it. There's nothing more natural and cathartic than honestly telling someone what you really think of them. For one thing, it quickly clears up misconceptions. If I call someone something and it doesn't actually apply to them, they're quick to point it out. If I had kept it to myself, who knows how long I would have believed them to be something they weren't.

However, the original word translated, according to my fiancé, is more closely degraded, evil or wicked. She had quite a bit of commentary on this passage alone. The commentary seems to say that the man overcome by passion says there is no god. This may imply the original intent was that believers undergoing anguish would question their beliefs.

There are far worse things than being a fool. While often associated with stupidity, this would be an incomplete definition. It can easily mean a trickster or joker, especially in its use for the holiday. This is its second listed definition on, and entering "fool" into Wikipedia will take you to the entry on "Jester." Its use as a pejorative dates back to late Latin, when the word follis (which meant bags of air or bellows) was used to refer to talkative people as "hot sacs of air," or the more familiar "windbags." It further changed over time to refer to entertainers, often comedians or court jesters. As far as I know, all of these apply to me.

So in light of this, I plan to work "fool" and the verse from Psalms into my blog's title. I will also be starting a brief series on virtues, where I will analyze various traits like honesty (my first subject) in my own view. This will serve to direct my posting in a logical manner AND help me to focus on not bashing religion, which I think is a topic I have exhausted.


  1. Your fiance's insights into the Hebrew/Jewish perspective interest me greatly. I hope she will post more often. I have wondered if passion drives people to atheism.....trying to drown out the voice of conscience by declaring "there is no God." An interesting nuance on the word "fool."

    I was also interested to read that your fiance was previously engaged. What happened? I assume that he was Jewish since she would have used the chuppah that she wishes she could use now. I really like some of the Jewish wedding traditions, especially the chuppah.

    After reading her latest post where she mentions her brother's plans, I'm beginning to feel sorry for the parents. Train up children in the way they should go....and they end up abandoning Eden? Oy. Somehow I think you will turn back to Eden eventually. You are young. I was a hippie too. I can hardly believe the term is still used! Nothing new under the sun, as Solomon quipped. Maybe you'll end up in Boston and have even more in common with me. I lived there, and worked at Boston University in the 60's/70's. You just can't seem to get away from annoying religious people. ; )

  2. fiancé

    I just figured out how to make this accent character!

  3. Her ex-fiancé left her shortly before the wedding and married another girl shortly after (almost suspiciously soon). Obviously he was Jewish, though not Jewish enough, and her parents didn’t like him that much. Her parents just can’t be pleased, which is probably why she wisely stopped trying.

    Her parents deserve no sympathy, as far as I’m concerned, because your children are neither yours to control nor yardsticks by which your own success is measured. Besides, from my perspective, they have succeeded in raising a very intelligent and loving young woman who I am happy to marry. They have also succeeded in driving her away from them.

    I’m sure someday religious people will grow out of believing that atheism is a phase. Until then, I pat you condescendingly on the head and suggest you run along, I'm sure you have a prayer circle to get to.

  4. Yes, "naval" definitely does not mean fool. It's presumably related to "nevelah" which means "corpse" "carcass" and best translated probably as "villain" "scoundrel" (two of the definitions in the Alcalay dictionary). The Even-Shoshan concordance defines it as a person of low character traits or a "useless person" (I'm translating that from the Hebrew). There was some dude called "Naval" who features in the story of King David. David sent a bunch of guys to beg from him and he said "who the hell are you". So David prepared to attack him but his wife came and gave food to David's army. Then supposedly God killed Naval as punishment and then David took his wife. Who said the Bible was full of moral stories? :)

    So the Bible presumably called that guy "Naval" it wasn't his real name (if he existed - this story is so weird you've got to think it took place?).

    In modern Hebrew "menuval" means something like "bastard".

  5. Maybe I'll consider "A Villain's Views" or "A Bastard's Beliefs" for a more aptly translated blog title... or not :P

  6. Ginx, you have a tongue like a razor.

    I suppose that's why I didn't vent. I figured that you would vent more than enough for the both of us.

    Hey, maybe April will become Atheist month. You may have started something that could catch on.

    Like your new look, too.


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