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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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39 Responses to 832

  1. miriworm says:

    Is that a self portrait Jon? :-)

  2. jonbirch says:

    who’s a cheeky monkey?! :-)

  3. Pat says:

    And apparently God created people without any arms….therefore evolution MUST have happened :-D

  4. Carole says:

    Not too much of a leap of faith, since Hollyoaks is written by a team of chimps with laptops! ;)

  5. jonbirch says:

    pat… arms are clearly a consequence of the fall. :-)

    carole… hahahahahahahahahahaha! :lol:

  6. Caroline Too says:

    yes, and your point is…?

  7. Caroline Too says:

    oh you mean that before the fall we were all ‘armless, Jon?

  8. jonbirch says:

    caroline… haha! :lol: everyone’s a comedian today! :-)

  9. rara says:

    well… if genesis and the whole bible are literal absolute fact and are the actual infallible and inerrant words of God… for the human hands writing it down to get it right…i’m thinking suggests that the writers had no free will at all…

    maybe we are all robots in fact… programmed….

  10. jonbirch says:

    i have to say, rara… what you’ve said makes logical sense to me. :-)

  11. jonbirch says:

    except the last bit… about robots. :-)

  12. Pat says:

    I’ve just noticed that the snake actually looks rather sperm-like. Is this a subtle allusion to Augustine’s linking pf the transmission of original sin with sex? You’re obviously better read in the Church Fathers than you let on Jon! :lol:

  13. Dorian says:

    Jesus thought it was, of course that’s assuming the Gospels are literal and historical, and Apostles and the early church thought it was…that’s a lot of monkeys….

  14. rara says:

    I might have been being a little sarcy with the robots bit :)

    I love this cartoon. People’s opinion on biblical literalism in fact affects (both consciously and subconsciously) so many other areas of theology, doctrine, cultural engagement, and just life in general!

  15. rara says:

    And… peoples view on free will affects how they – live – act – pray (especially!) – are……

    Very important stuff involved in this cartoon!

  16. jonbirch says:

    dorian… how do you know that’s what jesus thought? he was probably more aware of exactly where those texts came from than we are… and it certainly wasn’t from anyone who was around to see it. it’s a story… and a very important one jam packed with important lessons. the gospels seem to be a mixture of history and spin as all historical texts are. they tell the story the writer intends, and each emphasise the parts the writer the writer deems most important. btw… i wasn’t saying anyone was a monkey, just that a monkey didn’t write hamlet. :-)

    rara… i think so too. thanks.

  17. jonbirch says:

    pat… never much liked augustine and all that original sin, guilt type stuff. i think he’s really, really wrong about it. i think it all smacks of misogyny m’self… but what do i know? :-)

  18. Pat says:

    Jon – I think Augustine actually had a rather more positive view of sex than a lot of his contemporaries. But it was late antiquity and so they all had a pretty ascetic stance except for the Pelagians. But I think the problems stem mainly from the way, Augustine used various aspects of his ideas about prelapsarian Adam and Eve and sexual relations post-fall to try to try and defeat the Pelagians – which was his main aim – because this ended up giving them a hugely negative twist.

  19. jonbirch says:

    pat… your point is also a good one in relation to the cartoon, because it shows that there are so very often agendas behind what people say and do. i believe, for example, that genesis may well have been written in exile in babylon and the scribes were countering the teachings of their captors. ie. there was a reason for writing it and it was important to them to get their message over to their people.

  20. marcolicious says:

    why monkey? does it mean we’re like human —-> monkey —> human? And actually we’re no difference and a part of the monkey family? :P

  21. jonbirch says:

    marcolicious… see wikipoedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem and check out infinite monkey theorem. it’s something i heard about in my youth… this is the opening few lines.

    Given enough time, a hypothetical chimpanzee typing at random would, as part of its output, almost surely produce all of Shakespeare’s plays.

    The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

    In this context, “almost surely” is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the “monkey” is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters ad infinitum. The theorem illustrates the perils of reasoning about infinity by imagining a vast but finite number, and vice versa. The probability of a monkey exactly typing a complete work such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time of the order of the age of the universe is minuscule, but not zero.

  22. marcolicious says:

    wow!! thanks jon!! that’s deep and i think i’m ‘shallow’ now…

    so what im thinking is like… people can be easily indulged in Shakespeare’s everything but always doubt something that’s already proved to be true historically and literally…

  23. youthworkerpete says:

    rara – I’ve just read a very interesting book called ‘the manipulated mind’ – of course it’s only one person’s ideas, but if the author is right (and he is quite convincing) no matter how postmodern and independant we think we are, actually we are in control of very few of our decisions.

    Although there is a very deliberate and un-scientific anti-religion bias running throughout the book that scews the authors objectivity somewhat!

  24. kim says:

    Jon @19 – am doing an MA in Theology at mo and thats how it looks to me too, some of it was polemical against the Ancient near eastern religions of the region. But I don’t think that precludes it being information God wanted us to know.

  25. jonbirch says:

    yes indeed, kim. i agree it doesn’t preclude that. what interests me is the nature of that information. genesis tells us so much important stuff, that to make it historical and scientific robs it of it’s truth. the fundamentalist adherence to this turns many people off what genesis is about. i bet you won’t find many jews who would believe genesis to be anything other than a story… an important story, but a story none-the-less.

  26. Caroline Too says:

    Not only do we need to consider what was the ‘pupose’ of the
    narrator/writer when we consider a text (biblical or otherwise)

    but we have to consider how WE read

    what we’re used to reading, how we’re used to making sense of the

    up until recently the dominant way of making sense was through
    rationalistic and (so called) scientific type explanations…

    so we tend to read the mythology of Genesis as either being true or
    false, I doubt if that is how the first Jewish readers would have
    understood it or Job or Jonah for example.

    What’s interesting is how we may now shifting our ways of making
    sense again, we are perhaps less persuaded by so-called-science, we
    might find the mythological books of the bible easier to read in the
    coming years.

  27. Mike says:

    Caroline Too,

    Interesting thoughts. I agree we are tending to move away from science in many respects. Probably because of the many contradictions and the heavy corporate involvement.

    For myself I have no problem with the Genesis account. The knowledge that man has been created by GOD, breathed into and having a Spirit is wonderful. It makes every human special, and valuable.

  28. jonbirch says:

    mike… i have no problem with the genesis story either, it’s great. i find it affirming too… i believe in a creator god and i too believe his creations to be special. but christians clinging to the story as literal fact make themselves and the faith look plain daft in my view. that’s what i have a problem with… it is only in very recent years that the genesis story has been thought of in any other way than a story. christians making the bible daft and meaningless irritates me. there is so much to learn from the story of genesis and most people in the west won’t ever listen because of this literal hang-up.

  29. jonbirch says:

    caroline too… i hope you’re right that these books will once again become easier to read. i see no reason why genesis should be used to counter argue science, or science used to counter genesis… they both serve different purposes. it is the wishing of genesis to fulfill a purpose it was never intended to fulfill which christians need to stand down from if they want to engage in profitable debate.
    i am tired of people (when they learn i have a faith), assuming that means i think genesis, job, jonah etc. are literal. i have a faith… i’m not daft. :-)
    i’ve animated or illustrated genesis and jonah many times in different ways over the years and been absorbed in the stories… great stories, yes. important stories, i believe so. historical accounts of actual happenings?.. hmmmm. nah.
    let history be history and story be story and myth be myth and poetry be poetry and let them (as they often will) mix and collide and sing together

  30. Pat says:

    youthworkerpete – sounds like the worst kind of determinism to me :-(

  31. Sean says:

    I’m shocked that you should make fun of a sacred text. Poor old Shakespeare must be turning in his grave.

  32. Dorian says:

    Has the discussion moved on? I hope I’m not too late.

    Anyways, Luke in his genealogy of Jesus, moves seamlessly from Jesus parents who were obviously historical and literal, all the way to Adam, without ever mentioning that his genealogy shifted into includig mythical non historical people. (Luke 3:38).

    Jesus, in criticizing the Pharisees for things that they and their literal fathers had done in literal history shows that he clearly thought Abel was a literal historical figure. (Luke 11:51,Matt 23:35). It is interesting to note, that in Matt 23:35, if Abel is mythical and the story is non-literal, that Jesus is calling for punishment on Israel for something that happened in a non-historical story.

    Paul tips his hand in Acts 17:26, it is especially important that he is referring to history here because it is key to his apologetic against the Athenians.

    Of course, this argument depends on my conviction that the Bible is a unified document with over arching themes that span from beginning to end, and are inspired and innerant and authoritative. So if you don’t hold that, and it seems few in this thread do, then this will clearly be unconvincing. At the very least it shows that the writers of these documents, inspired or not, believed Genesis to be historical, which should speak for something.

  33. Dorian says:

    Even though I know you are a good spirited guy, Jon, I find it a little off-putting that with one broad stroke you can sweep aside all who hold to a literal Genesis as “daft.” Especially without interacting with some of the world’s most brilliant thrologians since the time of Christ who have thought otherwise.

  34. Dorian says:

    Sorry to keep responding….
    Caroline Too, historicity, as a general concept is vital to ancient Jewish religion, when God which is evident from even a cursory reading of the OT, especially in the Torah. Almost all the contours of their religion were traced on remembering what God had done in literal history, it is the basis of almost every feast and tradition, and the repitions of this theme are literally countless in the OT. Most basic is that when God revealed himself to Israel or a gave a word to Israel, he identified himself, not as the one who was referenced in various meaningful myths and stories, but as the one who had “done (fill in the blank) for/to you” or as the God of certain people, namely the patriarchs, whose literal, historical existence was key to his identification as Jesus noted in Mark 12:24-27.

  35. Caroline Too says:

    you make the point as well as I could hope to, Dorian! (#34)

    the key issue is not the historicity, but the story of what
    God was doing for His people.

    real/historical events and people are overlayed in a story with a
    narrative purpose

    sometimes the purpose stretches beyond pure history, at other
    times it doesn’t …

    Was there a real Adam (meaning ‘man’)? I don’t know. Has
    the human race fallen out of day-to-day relationship with God? yes
    I think so, and the story of Genesis 1-3 helps build my
    understanding and faith…

  36. Caroline Too says:

    … but could I make another point, Dorian?

    Do you notice how your responses to contributions made elsewhere are so dominated by ‘making a
    point’ or winning an argument? Your contributions to ASBO Jesus conversations (and welcome back by
    the way, you’ve not been saying much in recent months) are peppered by ‘proofs’
    and ‘therefores’. The consequence of your points includes the ‘fact’ that others’ comments must be
    treated as wrong.

    Now, that’s ok, it’s one way of carrying on a conversation, a bit rumbustious for me, but hey, I can
    join in….

    But, given your way of discussing our faith, it isn’t surprising at all to me, that you also read our
    scriptures in such a clearcut manner.

    Do you see how your way of making sense of our world also shapes your reading of ideas?

    It is as if you bring your own clarity to the text as much as find it there…. the
    bible is so clearcut and definite to you because you are reading it looking for clearcut and definite

    This is neither wrong, nor right… just one way of reading our scriptures, one way of hearing
    our God, one way of working out how to follow Jesus faithfully.

  37. jonbirch says:

    hi dorian… re. 34… i agree. and i also see the bible as a unified document with overarching themes of creation, fall, redemption… and i also agree that the times celebrated are accounts of when the jewish people believed god to have intervened in a demonstrative way… through history if you will. so i agree on all that.
    i apologise for the use of the word ‘daft’… i didn’t mean to be offensive… i meant to be provocative but not to attack persons.
    dorian, your post encouraged me to read lots of pages on orthodox judaism and it’s understanding of genesis last night and this morning.
    having read lots of stuff from lots of prominent thinkers within the orthodox jewish community throughout the millenia, i am lead at this stage to conclude that they have as many different views as the rest of us, which, i guess, shouldn’t be surprising.
    btw. i’m not changed in my belief that genesis is not a literal (in the usual sense of the word) and historical account. i also do not believe it to be flawed… it is to my mind, pretty darned perfect and says all that needs saying in relation to so much.

    thanks caroline, for your thoughtful responses. i love the way that scripture moves through different kinds of text, often effortlessly. poetry, music, myth and history all singing like different parts within the same choir. i love that i can find myself in it’s pages… like so many of it’s characters i too am flawed, wonderful, daft, dangerous, creative, destructive, arrogant and kind.

  38. jonbirch says:

    btw… jonah is one of my favourite stories ever and in one sense i couldn’t care less whether it is literal history or myth. i know what i believe. however, i could care less when literal interpretation of certain parts of scripture are set up as a stumbling stone.

  39. Koos says:

    Hey guys, on the off-topic topic of Augustine et. al., in Genesis 1:28, the first command God gives to mankind, is to be fruitful and multiply (in the KJV, i don’t know if the modern transgressions have removed that to make a statement). As for evillution, see if you can find out about guy called Walter Veith. He was an atheist (the story of the professor and the chalk? that was him!) before becoming a Roman Catholic and later he became a Seventh Day Adventist (before anyone make any judgements on that, hear his history first). Apparently, he was one of the finest apostles for the evolution-religion, and when he turned Christian, he became a Creationist. It is said that he has written a treatise on the physical impossibility of evolution that no evolutionary so far was able to debunk or proof wrong.

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