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New Bible 'Revolves' Around Teen Girls
September 1, 2003 1:00 AM   Subscribe

This review from ABC News, covers a new version of the New Testament - designed to look like a fashion magazine, and marketed towards teen girls. [more inside]
posted by ArsncHeart (130 comments total)

 
This one, and this one also review Revolve, released by Thomas Nelson Inc. Here is TNI's product page for the teen-oriented, cosmo-styled scripture.

What bothered me most about this was that, even though they have patterned it after today's trendy magazine (which are often filled with advice on sex and female empowerment - for lack of a better term), it offers advice like this: In one hypothetical question and answer, a girl asks, "How do you tell a friend that's your crush that you're into him without ruining your friendship?" Revolve counsels her: "You don't. Sorry. … God made guys to be the leaders. That means that they lead in relationships."

What do you think about this "hip" new presentation of the Good Word? Does it detract from the teachings? Does it matter?
posted by ArsncHeart at 1:00 AM on September 1, 2003


And they thought Cosmo compelled teenagers to vomit.
posted by condour75 at 1:31 AM on September 1, 2003


"They said, 'It's just too freaky, too intimidating. It doesn't make any sense.'"

My faith in American youth has just been restored.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:56 AM on September 1, 2003


I took a look at the article, and the picture of this... ahem... book. Sad. Doesn't matter what type of cover you put on it, the only way teenagers are going to accept books about magical sky fairies as... gospel... is if you force them to.
posted by severed at 3:17 AM on September 1, 2003



Melchizedek is sooooo dreamy!
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:30 AM on September 1, 2003


"10 ways to increase your sexual pleasure... and not burn in hell!"
posted by Onanist at 3:48 AM on September 1, 2003


"10 ways to seduce your father so you can get jiggy with him and preserve his seed."
posted by Blue Stone at 3:58 AM on September 1, 2003


"At one time, it was uncommon to see rows of Bible-inspired fiction in Christian bookstores, because evangelicals often considered reading fiction a waste of time."

Talk about irony!
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:03 AM on September 1, 2003


From the letters page :
"So like, omigod, I'm totally crushing on Jake, he's totally Jared Leto with just a hint of Judas, you know so cute, and finally he tells me we're going out and he takes me to Pizza Hut and we're sitting there and it's amazing, and P.O.D. comes on the radio, just perfect. Then all of a sudden I start bleeding!!! It's not even my time, I was so unprepared! I thought I was gonna die I was so embarrassed!
What does Jake do? He just smiles and gives me his coat to wrap around my hands so I can go the bathroom and clean up! It was like he totally understood about stigmata! I'm so in love with him, I can't wait until we get married so I can kiss him!"
posted by dong_resin at 5:13 AM on September 1, 2003


Get it? Like the bible is a work of fiction? Hahaha! It is. (Every link is about the bible, but in a good way)
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:15 AM on September 1, 2003


"Holy shit! It's Jesus!"
"What are you doing in South Park, Jesus?"

Somebody needs to bring this to the attention of Matt and Trey.

--Dan
posted by effugas at 5:54 AM on September 1, 2003


Doesn't matter what type of cover you put on it, the only way teenagers are going to accept books about magical sky fairies as... gospel... is if you force them to.

You can't FORCE people to believe anything. I never had to force my teens to believe. Your blanket statement is inaccurate-and as to sky fairies the only ones I have ever heard of were in Donkey Kong 64, and they were totally annoying.
posted by konolia at 5:59 AM on September 1, 2003


Blue Stone: As much as I hate to nitpick, Lot & his daughters are in the Old Testament, while this book only contains the New Testament. Of course, according to the New Testament, I have brought shame onto myself by having long hair (I Corinthians 11:14). So there you go.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:34 AM on September 1, 2003


Sure you can. With teenage kids these days, all you have to do is tell them that they are absolutely forbidden to believe in something as its only for adults.

Then watch that belief flow.

Nothing like a dash of psychology :)

This magazine/book disturbs me. Not sure why. Will have to think on that.

It'd be interesting to see a version of this for the Old Testament - Leviticus and all :)
posted by Mossy at 6:38 AM on September 1, 2003


But is it eXtreme!!!!!!!!!??
posted by donth at 7:44 AM on September 1, 2003


From the publisher:

Girls read more than guys

Revolve girls are not argumentative

God made guys to be the leaders

Revolve girls don't call guys

We've had a lot of questions about the don't-call-boys advice. I don't know if you'll see it in the second edition.

Beauty tip:

As you apply sunscreen, use that time to talk to God. Tell him how grateful you are for how he made you. Soon, you'll be so used to talking to him, it might become as regular and familiar as shrinking your pores.

Anyway, an edition designed to look like a guy's magazine is set for next year. The Bible: The Swimsuit Edition???

Mossy Here is what disturbs me of the cover: where it says "Radical faith: what the scriptures really mean", I'd throw in a shorter, to-the-point, more teen-appealling phrase, maybe something in the lines of "Integrism, why not?"
posted by magullo at 7:53 AM on September 1, 2003


I just hope they include some stories from Al Franken's upcoming "Savin' it".

That teen abstinence rally totally rocked!
posted by condour75 at 8:07 AM on September 1, 2003


"25 percent to 30 percent of Americans are fundamentalist Christians"

News to me.
posted by Veritron at 8:18 AM on September 1, 2003


Seriously - if any of you get the chance you should check out some of the larger Christian supply stores. If you're lucky you'll have a Crossway nearby (think Barnes and Noble with everything Christ related.)

If you browse through the teen section of the stores you'll find tons of books just like this - flashy books written on everything from abstinence to discounting science. All done in the style of Cosmo or MTV. It's a great way to spend an hour in sheer kooky wonderment.

Don't forget to checkout the t-shirts. Some of them are great in a tacky way. My buddy just got me this one and I love wearing it out to the bars.
posted by wfrgms at 8:36 AM on September 1, 2003


Clearly, a response from the remnants of secular society is necessary. I propose a Youth Corruption Kit.

The Youth Corruption Kit would consist of a large, gilded, leatherbound "Bible", hollowed out and fastened with a snap. Within each kit would be the following items:

1. Pint bottle, Stolychnaya
2. Trojan sample pack
3. Our Bodies, Ourselves
4. The Handmaid's Tale
5. DVD, Sex and the City Season One
6. 1 pack premium slim cigarettes
7. Zig zag rolling papers
8. Vogue
9. Lighter
10. Thong
11. Shotglass
12. Pamphlets: "Natural Selection", "How to Apply Peer Pressure","10 classic cocktails"

These would be parachuted into portions of the country suffering from an excess of cloying goodie-two-shoism, as identified by red blotches on the Election 2000 map.

An alternate kit, without the vodka and shotglass, could be used in Afghanistan.
posted by condour75 at 8:41 AM on September 1, 2003


"If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in His name, He'd never stop throwing up." - Max von Sydow in Hannah and Her Sisters
posted by kirkaracha at 8:44 AM on September 1, 2003


What do the friendly folks at Bob Jones University think of this one?
posted by sharksandwich at 8:48 AM on September 1, 2003


Revolve and similar efforts typically emphasize aspects of Christianity that might appeal to teenagers' attitudes. They describe Jesus as a radical who was not afraid to challenge mainstream society.

The content, however, hews to conservative Christian values on subjects like homosexuality and women's deference to men.

In one hypothetical question and answer, a girl asks, "How do you tell a friend that's your crush that you're into him without ruining your friendship?" Revolve counsels her: "You don't. Sorry. … God made guys to be the leaders. That means that they lead in relationships."


heh.
posted by poopy at 8:51 AM on September 1, 2003


Jesus must be spinning in his... er... never mind.
posted by clevershark at 9:08 AM on September 1, 2003


Subtlety. It's not just for pagans anymore.

What's sad about this is that its so obvious. And the average girl can smell desperation to "connect with the kids" a mile away. My friends who were religious in grade school were fairly low key about it in social situations. Nobody carried around the bible, but no one would have carried this magazine either. I suppose it might work with 8 and 9 year olds, but the tween crowd seems to be pretty savvy.
Besides, there are plenty of interesting ways to tell a story with religious overtones. I'm still horrified every time I go back to the Narnia chronicles and realize how many Christian beliefs I was being fed.
posted by synapse at 9:19 AM on September 1, 2003


The people who did this are completely insane. Apparently, they believe that teenage girls read fashion magazines because they are attracted to the colors or something. The stuff in the magazine can be any old thing, they'll still read it as long as it has a graphic design they like. It's as if they have never actually met a teenage girl.
posted by kindall at 9:24 AM on September 1, 2003


Also, she said, "One time I went to [the] pool with it, and my friends said it was so cool. We went through the quizzes together."

Oh, that's fine, for her. But when will they bring out a bible that I can feel kewl about bringing to the bathhouse?
posted by stonerose at 9:37 AM on September 1, 2003


For years, I've figured that the one key to making a ton of money really fast is to write a tacky book or videogame for the evangelist born-again crowd. The "Left Behind" series was embarassingly poorly-written and cheezier than a barrel of Kraft. I figure if it could make millions, any ol' shit I did would make millions.

The only problem is I don't know if I could sell my self out to that sort of scam.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:58 AM on September 1, 2003


Look out Jack Chick, they're coming for you next. And by the way "Marvel" comics, get it....Marvel?
posted by m@ at 10:03 AM on September 1, 2003


Condor75-
An alternate Youth Corruption Kit could consist of: one forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days' concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings...Great for a weekend in Vegas.
posted by notsnot at 10:28 AM on September 1, 2003


I have long thought that religion should not be legal until you are 21. It seems that people are not allowed to make a choice about alcohol till then, perhaps the same thing should apply to god. Besides who is really ready to decide what they think about the world till they have lived in it a bit. I think they should take a clue from their own propaganda and "Chill out, girl."

Ok so i suppose religion and booze are not the same, but I was taken to church and expected to believe what my elders believed. I felt like i should have my right to choose, is it so wrong to feel like that right to choose should be constitutionally protected. Not that one could even talk about this politically without losing any chance of a career ever.
posted by sourbrew at 10:53 AM on September 1, 2003


FFF, I happened to notice these in the kids section of the bookstore the other day.

Now, my idea for "Left Behind: The Kids" would be like Home Alone on a global scale: Culkin-like younguns on an abandoned Earth, who in order to avoid being taken to hell by demons have to set booby traps for them involving not staircases and skateboards, but oil rigs, jumbo jets, skyscrapers, that sort of thing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:55 AM on September 1, 2003


The only problem is I don't know if I could sell my self out to that sort of scam. -by five fresh fish

I felt the same way about televangelism...I'm telegenic, I have a wide array of accents and voices...and I can cry on command. Plus, I know the cadence and am pretty sure I could convince my friends to help with a little "faith healing" for the cameras.

Then I remembered that I have morals...and ethics...and believed in karma...so I decided it probably wasn't all that good of an idea, no matter how much money it would make.
posted by dejah420 at 11:11 AM on September 1, 2003


You can't FORCE people to believe anything. I never had to force my teens to believe.

Konolia: Did you give them a choice? Expose them seriously to alternatives and ask which satisfied them best, or just take them to church from an early age? Seriously, attitudes about religion tend almost 100% to come through to children from parents and family until the kid is early-mid teens and starts seeing things outside parental control. While you may not have sat down and Clockwork Orange'd them, I question the truth of your assertion unless you answered yes to my questions.
posted by billsaysthis at 11:23 AM on September 1, 2003


Well, I guess I don't need to make fun of christianity anymore.
posted by angry modem at 11:34 AM on September 1, 2003


The bible as a gay porno mag would be a great spoof web site.
posted by camworld at 11:56 AM on September 1, 2003


I dunno. This may be a touch too oh-sophisticated in its marketing, but I don't think it's a bad thing. The Bible has changed with the times before: I remember versions sold 30 years ago with a hippie/Woodstock motif, and there have been several new translations. (I prefer King James, for the language, but others seem to skew toward versions that remove all the Hes and certainly theology influences whether the Holy Spirit or The Spirit of the Lord or whatever is used.) I think they should be producing versions that are relevant, and I'm aware of plenty of teenage girls who would probably be comfortable with this presentation. The publisher does seem to indicate they're possibly going to back off on some of the more conservative Christian messages toward a more middle-of-the-road presentation.

I don't think it's going to fail. The fastest-growing group of Christians is contemporary evangelicals going to megachurches such as Willow Creek, which seems to have mastered catering to its desired demographic with alacrity.

But heck. I've seen versions of the Bible broken up into praryers-for-this, prayers-for-that, proverbs-for-the-other-thing. Why not shape it as self-improvement, relationship, family, dating advice?

Too bad we can't ever have serious discussions of religion on Metafilter.
posted by dhartung at 12:17 PM on September 1, 2003


Seriously, attitudes about religion tend almost 100% to come through to children from parents and family until the kid is early-mid teens and starts seeing things outside parental control.

ummmm... yeah... and... what are you trying to say? that children are actually INFLUENCED by family/friends/those in authority?

as an atheist parent, i should never have to 'force my teens to believe' in what i believe, but that doesn't mean that i have a definite influence on them.
posted by poopy at 12:26 PM on September 1, 2003


but that doesn't mean that i don't have a definite influence on them.

please excuse the horrible grammar :)
posted by poopy at 12:33 PM on September 1, 2003


To billsaythis:

My daughter's best friend last year (he graduated) was a flaming atheist. She was always talking to him about it, sharing what she believes. (and yes, I let her be friends with him.) These kids of mine went to public school so they've heard plenty of opposing views. I'm too lazy to indoctrinate. Yes, they go to church, and yes, they watch what I do. I never felt like I needed to cram anything down their throats-besides, I don't think that works well anyhow.

condour75, your corruption kit doesn't necessarily work. That list seemed a bit too much like my college years.

Back on topic-I think this version of the OT is unbelievably cheesy. I hate a lot of what I see in the Christian bookstores. Keith Green used to call it "Jesus junk."
posted by konolia at 12:47 PM on September 1, 2003


konolia, i just want to add that although i'm not religious, i don't think that religion - in whatever form it may take (as long as we're not sacrificing anything, u know:)) - equals ignorance, etc. etc. etc... blah, blah, blah. i have a close friend and a few family members who are devout in their faith, as am i in mine; we can discuss the whole mystery of life and disagree with each other, but in the end, we all have tremendous respect for one another and our beliefs.

yeah, the Revolve magazine is an easy target, but like dhartung said, ' Too bad we can't ever have serious discussions of religion on Metafilter'. amen to that.
posted by poopy at 1:11 PM on September 1, 2003


I'm not seeing what the big deal is. Xtianity has re-issued itself so many times since its inception that this is just another logical progression to keep the pews filled. A successful meme like religion must be flexible if it wants to continue to spread.

Hell, I'm wouldn't be surprised to see the Larry Flynt edition on the bookstands, photos and all.
posted by skallas at 1:18 PM on September 1, 2003


wait a minute -- this isn't a serious discussion of religion? Is there more to this fellow you earthlings call God?
posted by condour75 at 1:23 PM on September 1, 2003


Also, some rebrandings are much more successful than others. Look how the middle age male was targetted not so long ago by the Promise Keepers movement.
posted by skallas at 1:35 PM on September 1, 2003


A successful meme like religion must be flexible if it wants to continue to spread.

not unlike some more recent memes...
posted by poopy at 1:58 PM on September 1, 2003


Revolve girls don't call guys

revolve girls don't, um, revolve, either.
posted by quonsar at 2:13 PM on September 1, 2003


Inside: Top Ten Commandments
posted by uosuaq at 2:46 PM on September 1, 2003


and presumably they don't evolve.
posted by condour75 at 2:54 PM on September 1, 2003


Too bad we can't ever have serious discussions of religion

No such thing I'm afraid.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:28 PM on September 1, 2003


Pretty_Generic, are you saying that mefi is incapable of handling a serious topic such as religion, or are you saying that the concept of religion is just too laughable to even discuss it?
posted by poopy at 3:39 PM on September 1, 2003


I'm saying that religion is by definition beyond serious debate because debate deals with logic and evidence, and religion at its core deals with blind faith.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:44 PM on September 1, 2003


so, you have faith in...

science? logic? reason? the ability of humankind to rise above our own weakness?
posted by poopy at 3:47 PM on September 1, 2003


People use the word "faith" in two ways: a scientist might have "faith" in something because he has evidence that it is the case, but conversely a religious person might not require evidence for something because they have "faith" that it is true. Indeed, attempting to seek out evidence for the thing you have faith in may be considered a sin.

I have faith in chorizo.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:55 PM on September 1, 2003


Im saying that women arent allowed to post comments on this board because they might go over another mans opinion.

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression"

(1 Timothy 2:11-14).
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:55 PM on September 1, 2003


shall I continue offering quotes from the bible?
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:00 PM on September 1, 2003


"Now git in th' kitchen an' make me some pie!"

(1 Timothy 2:15)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:00 PM on September 1, 2003


Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

-- Sylvia Plath
posted by matteo at 4:00 PM on September 1, 2003


PinkSkinlesstail some of the real quotes are better.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:01 PM on September 1, 2003


"Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger" (Isaiah 13:13). "Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth" (Psalms 18:7).

Gee, I always thought earthquakes were the product of tectonic plates moving beneath the earths surface. Oh well, it must be an extension of god! Yes, thats it. An Extension. Because that way you can go through life, experience terrible or great things, and assume it was simply gods will. Will someone call me on this?
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:04 PM on September 1, 2003


“And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money”

(Exodus 21:20-21).

Do you believe in everything the bible says, or is it just the "faith" in god? Dont be escapist. I want to bring out a meaningful discussion about the bible, by using words from the bible itself.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:07 PM on September 1, 2003


My personal favorite, Leviticus 20:13

[God said to Moses] If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
{English Standard Version}

Odd how Jesus and friends chose to repeal the pork-eating thing rather than this rather more distasteful law.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:10 PM on September 1, 2003


Jesus and friends chose to repeal the pork-eating thing rather than this rather more distasteful law.

Pope Paul VI always refused to speak against homsexuals and homosexuality. he knew very well that the Church couldn't possibly change its position very quickly (he came right after John XXIII's revolution, ie the Second Council). but at least he chose silence, a live-and-let-live position very much appreciated -- it was the best he could do at the time.
on the contrary, John Paul II has always been in attack mode on this issue. we'll see with the next Pope, you never know, meybe he'll choose a less hard-nosed stance
posted by matteo at 4:19 PM on September 1, 2003


Keyser, i can assume by your clever lil' schoolboy comments that you're not really 'religious' (at least in the christian sense); neither am i. But, do you have anything that you hold to be right and true? Something that you believe in so strongly that you almost *just almost* feel compelled to preach to others about?

Or, do you just make snide juvenile remarks?

Do you believe in everything science says, or is it just the "faith" in science? Dont be escapist. I want to bring out a meaningful discussion about science, by using words from science itself.
posted by poopy at 4:20 PM on September 1, 2003


Popes come and go, but the way I understand it, God doesn't tend to change his mind on moral issues. If you believe the Bible is true, you believe that God wants us to execute gays. I don't see any way around this.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:22 PM on September 1, 2003


I'm saying that religion is by definition beyond serious debate because debate deals with logic and evidence, and religion at its core deals with blind faith.

Debating to determine something conclusive regarding the existence of God is, yes, very taxing and usually fruitless. However, discussing the affect belief has upon governmental policies and everyday living is actually very useful and enlightening, for all sides. "God" doesn't cause people to have morals, ethics, and ideas..so to question a religious/non-religious person's values is fair game and sometimes effective for understanding ourselves.

My favorite current issues example is the US and its policies concerning Islamic states. Americans don't understand non-secular government, nor do they understand how a belief in God (not OUR God) can be so strong and valuable for a culture or nation, and so an incredible rift exists between the two regions/cultures.

And here on MeFi we see why it's such an incredible problem for the world. Some are complete atheists who think religion is for idiots (Boy, that wouldn't alienate anyone). Some are complete Christians who don't believe in Allah (Telling Muslims, indirectly, that they're going to Hell is, um, dumb). Some are complete apatheists who assume that because they don't give a shit, no one else does (Religious discussion is so passe dude, and I don't care that you base your values upon something I know next to nothing about).

And the world wonders why it has so many problems.
posted by BlueTrain at 4:23 PM on September 1, 2003


God doesn't tend to change his mind on moral issues


yes She does, Pretty Generic, yes She does. for Catholics, at least: the Pope has the gift of infallibility (it's Catholic dogma) when he's interpreting the doctrine. so God tends to change Her mind, yes in a sense -- the interpretation may vary.
also remember that the Church (the Pope) is considered infallible in the definitive teaching regarding faith and morals, -- believers are NOT infallible in their subjective interpretation of the Church's teachings

you seem to be picking a bone only with certain Protestant Fundamentalists who believe in the literal truth of the Bible.
consider evolution for example, I still have to hear a sane, well-read priest trying to sell the Creationism bullshit. of course Catholic doctrine is almost entirely centered on the New Testament, where God seems to be, well, much less of a badass than the Old Testament bloodthirsty Big Guy

for our non-Catholic members:
John XXIII "to the astonishment and horror of aides, ...called an ecumenical council less than ninety years after the controversial Vatican Council. While his aides talked of spending a decade in preparation, John planned to hold it in a manner of months. From the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, came changes that reshaped the face of catholicism: a new Mass, a new ecumenism and a new approach to the world."
posted by matteo at 4:39 PM on September 1, 2003


You seem to speak of the validity of different interpretations as allowing you to ignore what's actually written there in the book. One could choose to interpret Leviticus 20:13 as meaning "I do not like green eggs and ham", but since the book does not and cannot say that, it would make a complete nonsense of the belief that the book contains the truth. We must surely be constrained in our interpretations of the book by the language written down in the book, because if we aren't, the book doesn't really say anything at all, and saying it is "the truth" is meaningless.

What's your interpretation of that passage, matteo? Do you believe that God said that to Moses? If not, doesn't that mean that the Bible contains statements that are not true? If so, doesn't that mean the Bible isn't The Truth?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:48 PM on September 1, 2003


> so, you have faith in...science? logic? reason?

Oh please put that tired straw-man away. Faith is a religious concept, belief in things without proof. The scientific method is based on the providing a burden of proof, a falsifiable thesis, allowing peer-review, objectivity, etc. While the religious approach to knowledge is direct communion with a diety, complete subjectivity, giving in blindly to authority, thus any raving prophet is just as accurate as the next. The crazy "the rapture is coming" crowd is the same as the crazy apostles who believed Jebus to be coming back in their lifetime. Or cultists waiting for the UFO, eating the pudding, or drinking the kool-aid.

Faith in science is like saying "This tastes blue." The two concepts are not compatible. Perhaps you're playing the conspiracy theory card where "science" is this institution out to get you or something. When people use scientific cosmology to define their view of the world they know that its a process and no knowledge is perfect, but it sure as hell beats the alternative.

"I'm saying that religion is by definition beyond serious debate because debate deals with logic and evidence, and religion at its core deals with blind faith."

Exactly. I've found that people serious about religion and serious about their beliefs tend to agree with that and the loud-mouth evangelists are the ones who must try to "make it real" and demonize science to fill the pews. Of course the "serious religious" types is a nice way of saying fundies or near-fundies, but that's how the communion wafer crumbles.

>so God tends to change Her mind, yes in a sense -- the interpretation may vary.

Or more likely those who define doctrine and define god are usually forced to change their positions because changing social attitudes. No need for any dieties here, its most likely a purely human driven event. Though, don't let reason get in the way of bullshit and sophistry.
posted by skallas at 4:56 PM on September 1, 2003


pretty, why do you want me dead? ; >

(and I think the "thou shall not kill" thing takes precedence over that one)
posted by amberglow at 4:57 PM on September 1, 2003


(well amberglow old pal, since God is omnipotent he surely knew the confusion that would arise between those two conflicting statements, and could have clarified them beyond doubt if he chose to... looks like he wants you homos stirfried I'm afraid.)
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:04 PM on September 1, 2003


>Some are complete atheists who think religion is for idiots (Boy, that wouldn't alienate anyone).

Or the bigger problem of people who can't handle an opinioned atheist and must assume that that person thinks of them as an idiot.

Atheism is a strong position to take and many people don't react kindly to strong opinions, mainly because they've never evaluated their own beliefs like so many atheists and agnostics have. This doesn't mean they are idiots but it does mean there's a certain amount of ignorance, especially when people casually say things like "faith in science" or "atheism is another religion."

I'm ignorant of many things, but I don't assume an expert in Latin American Economics must think I'm an idiot if I disagree with her.

>And the world wonders why it has so many problems.

Humans have always had problems, but its interesting to note the enlightenment ideals of secular states and individual rights which are the polar opposite of what the religious have been giving us for millenia usually equals better living. So if we're going to play the "the world is a sad sad place" game, we'll have to give points to the non-religious secularists and civil libertarians for helping make it a better place and negative marks to the religious organizations which help keep humanity back somewhere near the dark ages. In America this new vs. old dynamic is often called the culture war.
posted by skallas at 5:06 PM on September 1, 2003


(I meant omniscient of course.)
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:09 PM on September 1, 2003


...looks like he wants you homos stirfried I'm afraid

aw...I just bought fall clothes too! : <
posted by amberglow at 5:13 PM on September 1, 2003


We must surely be constrained in our interpretations of the book by the language written down in the book...

Which book? There are at least two very different OTs, one in use by the Jews, one by Christians. There are at least two flavours of the Christian OT, one with and one without certain chapters. There are also books missing from the NT, rejected for clearly political reasons.

So, really, which book? Pick and choose as you please: the only reason that slab of dead wood in your hotel drawer contains what it does is because someone else picked and chose.

Keyser: NT only, please.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:14 PM on September 1, 2003


Don't forget to checkout the t-shirts.

Here are some additional shirts from "Original Jesus" that are supposed to appeal to the youth.
posted by valerie at 5:21 PM on September 1, 2003


There are a lot of different concepts of religion, and many are worthy of serious discussion. There is God as abstract concept (ultimate truth, unmoved mover, etc.), the great pantheons as representative of forces of nature, or as phenomena of the human spirit. Even as an atheist, I find lots to talk about, and common ground with people of all different faiths (after all, we're all asking the same questions)

Then there's Sad Clown Religion. Sad clown religion is the weary, unquestioning, adherence to scripture as instruction manual for life. Sad clown religion is Flanders and Noah's ark, and Bob Jones banning rock and roll and kissing. Sad clown religion puts burkas on women and tells homosexuals that they're unnatural. It provides the poor with just enough schaedenfreude (the rich are evil, but they'll burn) to keep them docile. Intolerance is either implicit, or explicit in this sort of religion.

This dumbass magazine is certainly the latter. Obviously the people who print this are trying to shelter their flock from the rest of us, and as a member of the rest of us, I resent that thorougly. Does anyone here really find this worthy of defense, beyond its basic right to be printed? It's an affront to everything that's actually worthy of discussion in the Bible.
posted by condour75 at 5:32 PM on September 1, 2003


skallas, first of all, please don't throw down the 'straw man' card so haphazardly.

you're confusing the argument by comparing the validity of religion via scientific reasoning?

the question isn't: which is more valid: religion vs. science... it's, which do you believe will bring about a better world?

The scientific method is based on the providing a burden of proof, a falsifiable thesis, allowing peer-review, objectivity, etc. While the religious approach to knowledge is direct communion with a diety, complete subjectivity, giving in blindly to authority, thus any raving prophet is just as accurate as the next.

hehe, yes, you're absolutely correct... and call me a prophet because i have a feeling that this miracle drug called penicllin will change the world! the question is: for the better?

aside: of course this magazine is laughable, much like
posted by poopy at 5:39 PM on September 1, 2003


Poopy: I dont have faith in science. I have faith in facts. Even then its kind of a hypocrisy.

"Or, do you just make snide juvenile remarks?" Whos being snide and juvenile now? Maybe you read it as childish, but I didn't write it like that.

Faith without proof is blind. And im not talking about blind in the sense that justice is blind. I'm talking about people being killed, as I speak, over something they believe in. Last time I checked, science didn't start any religious war.

Also, in agreement with Skallas, I do not think people who are religious are idiots. And I can understand how my words may be construted to someones whim so they may make assumptions of me. Im not trying to make assumptions of you poopy. But I feel your making assumptions of me.

Im not a schoolboy. I also wasn't trying to make remarks. Im more or less reciting scripture. Heres a remark:
"Do you believe in everything science says, or is it just the "faith" in science? Dont be escapist. I want to bring out a meaningful discussion about science, by using words from science itself."

This background tastes blue.
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:41 PM on September 1, 2003


i'm sorry Keyser Soze for being so flippant and, yes, juvenile.

but i have a question... science might not have started any wars, but can you think of any instances in history where science hasn't been the instrument of war?

IMO, religion doesn't cause war, and it isn't the culprit of our suffering,... humans are.
posted by poopy at 5:49 PM on September 1, 2003


Exactly! I agree completely. I also believe humans invented religion.
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:50 PM on September 1, 2003


yes, me too. science and religion are tools; that is all they are.

well, and sometimes i'm a tool also. sorry again for the silly squaking.
posted by poopy at 5:54 PM on September 1, 2003


Cool. Guess that makes us Metafilter friends.
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:56 PM on September 1, 2003


"The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision."
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:59 PM on September 1, 2003


it's what tools do with those tools that makes all the difference.

and elwood! i love that! where's it from?
posted by amberglow at 6:04 PM on September 1, 2003


see, now you made me all weepy, you bastard... group hug :)

praise jesus! ;)
posted by poopy at 6:04 PM on September 1, 2003


>science and religion are tools

I certianly wouldn't go that far. At best religion is a social construct like a tribe, with its lore and rules. I think at one point part of the religious pie was about explaining things; sort of a proto-proto-science, but its role in distilling useful information from the world has been disastrous, inaccurate, and thoroughly replaced by the scientific method.

As far as the ethical argument goes, well science tends not to deal with ethics as much as it deals with finding facts. If a poor diet has been found to cause early death its up the individual/society to decide if eating that way is good or bad. With religion, ethics are decisions made for you and the reasoning on how they got there is either non-existant or revealed through some kind of hocus-pocus communion/prophesy/divination.

Not to mention there are valid secular moral systems too.
posted by skallas at 6:23 PM on September 1, 2003


Your diet-poor health-societal function argument is very solid.
posted by Keyser Soze at 6:27 PM on September 1, 2003


i have no beef with that argument skallas, except for one thing: it seems that the scientific method has become our new crutch. i'm not saying science is 'bad', just like i wouldn't say religion by itself is bad.

but we all strive to make the world a better place, believing that we have finally found the answer (in this case, the answer might be science), not realizing that the same thing that has given us hope (jesus/penicillin) could be the catalyst of our destruction (satan/the bomb).
posted by poopy at 6:42 PM on September 1, 2003


Religion is the OxyContin of the masses.

Quoting a well-known fictional Prince of Denmark:

Who would these fardels bear
To grunt and sweat under a weary life
But that the dread of of something after death
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others we know not of?

(Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1)
posted by rdone at 7:36 PM on September 1, 2003


Please describe how science is used as a crutch, poopy.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:41 PM on September 1, 2003


well, fff, just like anything other drug really... see, it gets you 'high'... if u begin to depend on it too much and build a tolerance, well, things have a way of getting outta control.
posted by poopy at 8:07 PM on September 1, 2003


This only begs the question as to when they begin distributing the Old Testament in boxes of tampons.

"For those unclean and lonely times. . ."

"Insert and absorb the myth"
posted by crasspastor at 8:22 PM on September 1, 2003


using perception, experimentation, inspection to rationalize and understand nature and reality = crutch

believing whatever is an old book = ?
posted by mcsweetie at 8:27 PM on September 1, 2003


good point mcsweetie... we have learned quite a lot from observation, experimentation, etc...

but please don't tell me that we (americans or first world countries, at least) have not become accustomed to our lives and that we now depend on certain technologies to 'feed' us. that if, for instance, the electricity goes out, well... you know the end to that one.
posted by poopy at 8:36 PM on September 1, 2003


>we now depend on certain technologies to 'feed' us.

Crude and basic tool use.

Domestication of animals.

The plow.

Crop rotation.

Crop fertilization.

The spear.

The arrow.

Bronze tools.

The knife.

Iron tools.

Steel tools.

Intercontinental sailing ships.

Germ theory.

etc.

Where do you draw the line? Humans have always been dependant on tools and knowledge for their existance.
posted by skallas at 9:01 PM on September 1, 2003


But that's not what you said, poopy. You said that the scientific method is a crutch. How so?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:17 PM on September 1, 2003


Humans have always been dependant on tools and knowledge for their existance.

there is no debate about this of course., but you know the routine:

according to scientific analysis, it seems that a Mother/Female religion was the first to flourish only to be eventually smothered by the more dominant male agricultural/civilized society: religion began to change as the science behind our so-called 'progress' changed our way of life. [causation is not necessarily the issue, but the timelines match up]

IMO, religion and science have been interconnected as soon as we learned how to use a stick, and we're kidding ourselves by seperating the two. it's currently convenient to blame religion on all our problems (it's an easy out), but why is it so difficult for us to place any (just a tad) blame on science/technology?

fff. i thought i had already explained the entire crutch thing?
posted by poopy at 9:43 PM on September 1, 2003


Are crutches bad?
posted by wobh at 10:13 PM on September 1, 2003


>and we're kidding ourselves by seperating the two.

No, you're kidding yourself if you believe a rational method of analysis and a social construct based on the unknowable are the same thing. It looks like you're trying really hard to equate the two or provide some kind of outsider's persective on how society needs religion. Frankly, you're not pulling it off.

Relgion as cosmology has been decimated by scientific cosmology to the point where Rome has acknowledged evolution.

Religion as an ethical system has been unable to change quickly enough to keep up with real social change and often holds it back. See Also: Culture War in the US

Not only is it one's benefit to seperate the two, but its been going on for quite a while. It took quite a while to seperate the astrologers from the astronomers. The chemists from the alchemists. The founding of a working scientific method that recognizes when something is a proto-science or psuedoscience is a remarkable human achievement.

I'm sorry to say that there is no going back, the genie is out of the bottle and the hackneyed arguments about science and religion being opposite sides of the coin simply aren't true. This concept may make some feel better about being theists and avoid the cognitive dissonence of living in a modern world while holding ancient beliefs, but its just more sophistry and nonsense. Like the classic, "God made the big bang happen. Its all in the bible" BS rationalization.
posted by skallas at 10:14 PM on September 1, 2003


What Mother/Female religion? Sorry that link's a bit light on the details, but it's pretty well accepted by most scholars that there never was any ancient, pre-Abrahamic "mother-goddess" worshipping religion that was replaced by modern-day Paternalistic ones.
posted by Jimbob at 10:52 PM on September 1, 2003


The wider site that I linked to is actually kind of interesting. Although it is, in reality, a protestant christian "cult awareness" site, and displays expected bias (Catholicism is included in their A-Z list of cults), it has detailed information and links on any cult / sect / religious schizm you might want to learn about.
posted by Jimbob at 11:09 PM on September 1, 2003


yes, you're right Jimbob: not only is the link light on details, it's extremely biased.

and skallas, i most definitely see your point, i just have to disagree when it comes to completely disconnecting science and religion: it's like saying the light and dark are completely separate things: yes, in a way, but one cannot exist w/o the other. IMO (it's just an opinion), they have more in common than what we would like to admit.

Religion as an ethical system has been unable to change quickly enough to keep up with real social change and often holds it back.

ok, but i can think of (just off the top of my head) a few so-called 'non-religious' people in the past one hundred years who would be great scapegoats to counter that argument. and by individuals, i mean 'institutions'.
posted by poopy at 11:19 PM on September 1, 2003


and please don't misunderstand my position: i'm not religious, i have no faith (in anything really) and i certainly don't think that the way to salvation lies within the hands of... a ghost (although that would be wicked cool).
posted by poopy at 11:32 PM on September 1, 2003


While I doubt this argument will win anyone over, it's demonstrable that religion could easily be an genetic adaptation. Consider that there are many situations where faith is palliative:

1. Attribution of cause to misfortune.
2. Rationale for destruction of competing tribes.
3. Irrationality affords advantage in game theory scenarios. (an opponent in combat or trade will concede more to someone unlikely to concede anything. Berzerkers, for instance, scared the shit out of their opponents.)
4. Protection against paralyzing fear in scenarios where little control is available (there are no atheists in a foxhole)

It's clear that the brain is arranged with some flexibility along these lines. Hypnotic anaesthesia, the placebo effect, meditation, fire walking, assorted yogi tricks, etc. Add to this the burgeoning field of neurotheology and it becomes clear that science can contribute greatly to the natural study of what makes "god" tick.

Does this mean there is no god? Well, I wouldn't put money on His existence, but your mileage may vary. It does mean that the idea of society completely abandoning any notion of spirituality is both infeasible and could even have dangerous consequences. (Though the idea has appeared in science fiction; see Margaret Atwood's new Oryx and Crake)

For the rational, scientifically inclined person, this might all pose a paradox: is ignorance bliss? Would I feel better if I could somehow accept the efficacy of a sugar pill? Either way, the actual existence of the big man is inconsequential.

So, even the atheist can have a blast with religious thought. But this cosmo thing is the most nauseating piece of religious kitsch since Tammy Faye discovered mascara. If you feed this shit to your kids, just remember, garbage in, garbage out.
posted by condour75 at 1:09 AM on September 2, 2003


But , poopy, you do believe that in ancient times society was matriarchal?
posted by Jimbob at 2:16 AM on September 2, 2003


enough! I have a headache!
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:28 AM on September 2, 2003


I'm reading the Life of Pi right now, and last night hit on a spot that applies here--about "dry, yeastless factuality" vs. "the better story" (the subject of the story is a Hindu, Muslim, and Christian all at once)

Facts and theories and science aren't enough...we've always needed more (love, awe, surprise, wonder, community, a grand plan, etc.). These make for "the better story" to many people in the world.
posted by amberglow at 5:45 AM on September 2, 2003


I don't see how love, awe, suprise, wonder, community or even a grand plan are incompatible with science.
posted by Summer at 6:01 AM on September 2, 2003


define those terms scientifically and you'll see what i mean, i think
posted by amberglow at 6:07 AM on September 2, 2003


Well, you see I have no problem with something like love or awe being described scientifically (in terms of neurons firing I suppose). It doesn't lessen the impact for me. But then I made peace with my materialist self a long time ago.
posted by Summer at 8:12 AM on September 2, 2003


Jimbob: Try this site: University of Virginia's Religious movements homepage
posted by wobh at 8:31 AM on September 2, 2003


poopy: you said the method is a crutch. Not the actual products of science, but the very means by which those products were discovered and refined.

I fail to see how a fact-, test-, and logic-based method is a crutch. You're basically saying that reality itself is a crutch. I don't understand what you mean by that.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:21 AM on September 2, 2003


oh, i see what you're saying and you're probably right. maybe i should have said 'science' rather than the scientific method, which is getting a little too specific. and by crutch, i'm not defining science itself, but - as with many things - our tendency to use it as a crutch at times.
posted by poopy at 10:15 AM on September 2, 2003


There was some discussion here recently that touched on the limits the scientific method and what can known by it.
posted by wobh at 11:13 AM on September 2, 2003


K. Now, pray tell, what's wrong with a crutch? When you've got a broken leg, a crutch is a wonderful, wonderful tool.

I say this as a fellow who's providing a lot of home-care for his recently-disabled wife, who has a couple of broken arms. Anything we can do to make her more able -- a seat in the tub, raised toilet seat, hospital bed, wheelchair -- is deeply appreciated.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:26 PM on September 2, 2003


the previous discussion that wobh pointed out is much better.
posted by poopy at 3:18 PM on September 2, 2003


You weren't kidding about the truck, then. Your poor wife-but it sounds like things could have been a lot worse.
Hope she heals quick and feels better soon.
posted by konolia at 7:46 PM on September 2, 2003


>Facts and theories and science aren't enough...we've always needed more (love, awe, surprise, wonder, community, a grand plan, etc.).

This role is often fulfilled by the arts. I don't see why there needs to be a religious connection here. Humans had art well before what we would call organized religion.
posted by skallas at 8:11 PM on September 2, 2003


Why would I kid about my wife being run over by a truck? My god.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:24 PM on September 2, 2003


why not all sorts of connections? there shouldn't just be one way to explain things in and about the world...some use art to try, others science, others religion, etc...
and i think cave art, if that's what you mean, is thought to have been part of communal religious ceremonies, no?

sorry about your wife, fff
posted by amberglow at 8:42 PM on September 2, 2003


also, since we became smart enough to (2 million years ago? 1 million? less?), we've been telling stories to explain ourselves, the world, and everything that happens...why stop now?
posted by amberglow at 8:47 PM on September 2, 2003


Why would I kid about my wife being run over by a truck? My god.

what kind of truck?
posted by quonsar at 10:42 PM on September 2, 2003


>and i think cave art, if that's what you mean

Before cave art, before that too. Art in the end is another form of tool use.

>.some use art to try, others science, others religion, etc...

Oh please, religion doesn't explain much, its more of a philosophy and a tradionalist conservative one at that.

As far as the argument about life not being dramatic enough, take a look around you for Pete's sake! The world is a smorgasbord of problems begging for solutions, begging for participants, begging for anyone to pitch in. The problem with your argument is that "ordinary boring secular" things like politics, civil rights, autonomy, etc are seen as nothing compared to the great dramas of myth, yet these are the things that really give meaning, that make real heroes.

Instead of praying or giving your dollar to Rome, give a shit about your environment, get involved in politics, volunteer your time, etc. You might find that getting your hands dirty now and again is a lot more dramatic and fulfilling than clasping them together every Sunday.
posted by skallas at 3:32 AM on September 3, 2003


Why would I kid about my wife being run over by a truck?

Hon, this IS metafilter.
posted by konolia at 5:23 AM on September 3, 2003


skallas, most people who have some sort of faith do all of those things in the world, and more...next time you're at a soup kitchen volunteering, or a rally, or donating blood, or canvassing for a candidate, ask around and see. It's not that you either have faith, OR are engaged in the world, and i can't believe you would think so...

and it's not that people don't feel life is dramatic enough or not--it's about which philosophy fulfills more wants and needs and desires and hopes--the better story, as Martell says.

I'm sorry you have such a limited view of religion, and faith and it's uses in general...

oh, and billions of us on this planet are not Catholic or Christian.
posted by amberglow at 7:36 AM on September 3, 2003


oops, "its uses in general..."
posted by amberglow at 7:38 AM on September 3, 2003


>The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision

>>and elwood! i love that! where's it from?

lynne lavner, comedienne.
posted by t r a c y at 10:03 AM on September 3, 2003


thanks!
posted by amberglow at 10:51 AM on September 3, 2003


>most people who have some sort of faith do all of those things in the world, and more

That wasn't your point. You claimed people need myth for purpose I say it isn't so. I say purpose is what one makes of it and religion per se has nothing to do with that. Just because there are religious people doing socially beneficial things doesn't necessarily mean they're doing it because of religion and it would be a sad day if they were. "I'm only doing this because of what dusty old tome says and fear of displeasing the diety that controls me."
posted by skallas at 2:17 PM on September 3, 2003


skallas, i think that amberglow makes a valid case and it seems like you're just trying to twist his/her words and motives.

skallas: You claimed people need myth for purpose I say it isn't so.

from amberglow:

'(love, awe, surprise, wonder, community, a grand plan, etc.)'.

'and it's not that people don't feel life is dramatic enough or not--it's about which philosophy fulfills more wants and needs and desires and hopes...'


when did amberglow say that we depend soley on myth for purpose? at one time you mention that 'This role is often fulfilled by the arts.' and later state (re:religion) that the 'purpose is what one makes of it and religion per se has nothing to do with that. Just because there are religious people doing socially beneficial things doesn't necessarily mean they're doing it because of religion and it would be a sad day if they were.'.

be honest, it looks like you have some serious issues with religion/myth, no? or is it the insitution of religion that bugs you?

I'm sorry you have such a limited view of religion, and faith and it's uses in general...

think about that skallas.
posted by poopy at 5:17 PM on September 3, 2003


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