Mark 11:12-14


12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:

13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

See other: Often Ignored Bible Verses

Self-interests in Politics


Plantagenet: You’re very young. I don’t think you’ve thought about this very much.

Silverbridge: But I have sir, I have developed my own ideas. We’ve got to protect ourselves against those radicals and communists.

Plantagenet: Do your politics begin and end with your own self-interests? You’re advocating self-protection.

Silverbridge: Not only our own protection, sir, but that of our class. The people will look after themselves, but we are so few and they are so many that we will have quite enough to do.

Plantagenet: You would desert a family allegiance of centuries for such childish thinking as that?

Silverbridge: I know I’m a fool sir. Perhaps that’s why I’m a Tory. Well, the radicals are always saying that it must be a fool, so perhaps a fool ought to be a Conservative. I am very sorry if this upsets you father.

Plantagenet: I will not be upset sir, but I thought you had studied the conservative philosophy with some serious thought and consideration, but as it is…

– Lisemore, M. (Producer), David, H. and Wilson, R. (Directors). (1974). The Pallisers [Television Series]. United Kingdom: BBC

MacGuffin


A MacGuffin is a plot element or other device used to catch the audience’s attention and maintain suspense, but whose exact nature has fairly little influence over the storyline.

“The main thing I’ve learned over the years is that the MacGuffin is nothing. I’m convinced of this, but I find it very difficult to prove it to others.” – Alfred Hitchcock

MacGuffin (a.k.a. McGuffin or maguffin) is a term for a motivating element in a story that is used to drive the plot. It serves no further purpose. It won’t pop up again later, it won’t explain the ending, it won’t do anything except possibly distract you while you try to figure out its significance. In some cases, it won’t even be shown. It is usually a mysterious package/artifact/superweapon that everyone in the story is chasing. To determine if a thing is a MacGuffin:

A. Check to see if it is interchangeable. For example, in a caper story the MacGuffin could be either the Mona Lisa or the Hope diamond, it makes no difference which. The rest of the story (i.e. it being stolen) would be exactly the same.

B. Does it do anything, and if it does, is it ever actually used in story? If the answer to both is yes, it’s a Plot Device, not a MacGuffin.

– Courtesy of tvtropes.org

Benevolence, God and a Little Girl


‘Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture, and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of six billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl’s parents believe—as you believe—that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?

No.

The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist.” We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle.

Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. An atheist is simply a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87 percent of the population) claiming to “never doubt the existence of God” should be obliged to present evidence for his existence—and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. An atheist is a person who believes that the murder of a single little girl— even once in a million years—casts doubt upon the idea of a benevolent God.’

Harris. S. 2006. Letter To A Christian Nation p. 17-18

The Merchant Of Venice (act VI scene i)


Portia [To Bassanio.]

‘You press me far, and therefore I will yield.’

– Reed International Books Ltd. 1992. The Illustrated Stratford Shakespeare London, Great Britain: Chancellor Press (1996) p. 210