the whole world burns

Archive for category 'religion'

Church to the eXtreme

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The young man was a member of a fight team at Xtreme Ministries, a small church near Nashville that doubles as a mixed martial arts academy. Mr. Renken, who founded the church and academy, doubles as the team's coach. The school's motto is "Where Feet, Fist and Faith Collide."

quote of the day: Susan Budd

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The negative assumption is that supernatural religion is erroneous, and that this error has important consequences. The positive assumption is the belief in free discussion, the devaluation of any claim to authority except that of the scholar or scientist, a belief in morality as a guide to behaviour, and in the power of men to shape their world and determine their futures. The common assertion that humanists view man as basically good is mistaken; it would be more accurate to say that they see him as powerful. They attribute his malice and aggression to his social and biological circumstances, and accordingly demand that he try to assume responsibility for himself and his society. [...] The attack on religion is that by diverting men's energies and attention to their fate in a future life, it hinders the realization of such happiness as they can achieve on earth.

-- Varieties of Unbelief, p. 8-9 (Heinemann, 1977)

John Hartung: "LOVE THY NEIGHBOR: The evolution of in-group morality"

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Analysis of the Bible and other texts suggesting that, amongst other things, "love thy neighbour" refers only to fellow Israelites; killing heathens -- out-group members -- is fine.

Anne Enright - "Diary"

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No one talks about how much fun it is to be a fundamentalist. The word has changed, of course: for any rational person, 'fundamentalist' now means 'manifestation of raw evil', but being a charismatic Christian was a hoot. It was like being at a wild party with no drink, no sex, no hangover, no regrets. I believe! I believe! I am in a suburban sitting-room, and I believe! It was a constant state of expectation and yearning; a suspension so high and long, it was almost like release. Speaking in tongues -- I could do it now, if I dared -- was pure flow; you had to wince at the sweetness of it. Miracles were two a penny. Everything made sense. People prayed for their lost glasses and found their dentures instead and we all laughed at God's little joke. You can’t live up there for ever, of course, and the downs, like a junkie’s, were terrible and complicated...

Richard Dawkins answers questions from staff/students of Liberty University

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I don't think the response to the question about "reasonable faith" was adequate. A posteriori belief is not a matter of evidence alone, it's a matter of falsifiability. Years of falling apples don't prove Newton was right or that the force we call gravity will continue to operate in the future, but his observations have been tested and verified (unless and until faced with contrary evidence). It's reasonable to believe in gravity. By contrast, most claims of faith -- e.g., Intelligent Falling -- cannot be tested even in principle, let alone in practice. It's not that there isn't any evidence, but that adequate evidence is impossible.

Babarism: The Church of Babar

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Every facet of our lives can be positively influenced by asking ourselves, "What would Babar do?"

I'm not sure that the ruthless despot of Celesteville is the best subject of such an inquiry.

The curious rise of anti-religious hysteria

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It is the Anglo-American cultural elites' insecurity about their own values that encourages their frenzied attacks on religion.

How I Know That The King James Bible Is The Word Of God

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It's a parade of trivial fallacies. The Argument From Copyright Law?! IHBT?

Over Three Hundred Proofs of God's Existence

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Scary that so many of these (or variants slightly less facetious) are offered seriously. I like this one:

ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPLETE DEVASTATION (1) A plane crashed killing 143 passengers and crew. (2) But one child survived with only third-degree burns. (3) Therefore, God exists.

It's a miracle!

Strict churches & rational choice theory

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The strict church is one in which members with weak commitments have been weeded out. . . . Religion is a " 'commodity' that people produce collectively," says Iannacone. "My religious satisfaction thus depends both on my 'inputs' and those of others." If a rich and textured spiritual experience is what you seek, then a storefront Holy Roller church or an Orthodox shtiebl is a better fit than a suburban church made up of distracted, ambitious people who can barely manage to find a morning free for Sunday services, let alone several evenings a week for text study and volunteer work.

cartoonist faces jail for blasphemy

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Haderer did not even know that his book, The Life of Jesus, had been published in Greece until he received a summons to appear in court in Athens in January charged with blasphemy.

He was given a six-month suspended sentence in absentia, but if he loses his appeal next month his sentence could be increased to two years.

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.

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