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You want something because someone else does

Mimetic rivalry on a planetary scale. Rene Girard is the author of several books developing the idea that human culture is based on sacrifice as the way out of mimetic, or imitative, violence between rivals. When one rival is successful in obtaining the love object, violence is precipitated, which falls on the head of certain scapegoats, of whom Jesus Christ is the archetype. The violence can be traced in literature.
posted by Tarn on Apr 26, 2006 - 19 comments

 

a religion magazine for people both hostile and drawn to talk of God

"Killing the Buddha is about finding a way to be religious when we're all so self-conscious and self-absorbed. Knowing more than ever about ourselves and the way the world works, we gain nothing through nostalgia for a time when belief was simple, and even less from insisting that now is such a time. Killing the Buddha will ask, How can we be religious without leaving part of ourselves at the church or temple door? How can we love God when we know it doesn't matter if we do? Call it God for the godless. Call it the search for a God we can believe in: A God that will not be an embarrassment in twelve-thousand years. A God we can talk about without qualifications." I particularly enjoyed The Temptation of Belief, by a Buddhist exploring evangelical Christianity, and My Holy Ghost People, by an unbelieving daughter in a praying-in-tongues family.
posted by heatherann on Apr 24, 2006 - 21 comments

Full Fathom Nine

Mahler performances were rare in Vienna in those days because Mahler's city had already been contaminated by the acolytes of Adolf Hitler. By their reckoning, Mahler's music was loathsome — a product of "Jewish decadence." To put Mahler's music on the program was therefore a political act. It was to protest and deny the hateful faith that blazed across the border from Germany. That much I understood quite clearly, even as a boy.
The New Yorker's Alex Ross reprints Hans Fantel's New York Times 1989 essay on Bruno Walter's 1938 performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony -- the last performance of the Vienna Philharmonic before Hitler invaded Austria.
posted by matteo on Apr 10, 2006 - 7 comments

Jesus was way cool. But did he exist?

Jesus walked on the water ice. So sayeth... um... well, this guy at Florida State. Doron Nof has released a paper positing that when Jesus walked on the water in Galilee, he was actually walking on a patch of floating ice. What's interesting about science like this to me is that it both validates and invalidates scripture, since if Jesus was walking on ice... no miracle (although, it's a miracle he didn't slip and fall, har har har). But if Jesus was walking on ice, then at least he historically existed, which is still an open question at least in some quarters. In case you think you recognize Mr. Nof's name, you may be remembering his work explaining that the parting of the Red Sea was totally possible (flash video link).
posted by illovich on Apr 5, 2006 - 106 comments

Family Values

Why aren't western marriages arranged? So the Church could make more money. (via fark)
posted by jeffburdges on Mar 6, 2006 - 19 comments

The Mercy Seat. Mapping out a Multifaceted Iconography.

The Mercy Seat. Described in the book of Exodus, the throne of mercy has quite a variety of meanings. Some contemporary Christians are interested in "reconstructing" an image based on Egyptian and Phoenician culture. In Judaism, the kisei rachamim is part of the narrative of Yom Kippur, as God moves from the seat of justice to the seat of compassion. In medieval Europe, and especially in Germany, the Gnadenstuhl was a perfect representation of the trinity, combining the cruxification, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit (usually a bird), into one image of mournful compassion. Nick Cave used the idea of the mercy seat as the frame for a song about murder, sin, capital punishment, and atonement/redemption, which was later covered by Johnny Cash (mp3 clip). The chair of mercy is even visually alluded to Jodorowsky's Montana Sacra, aka Holy Mountain. (Which have been inspired in part by the Ascended Masters of Mount Shasta, but that's technically another story - the bizarro California cultists story.)
posted by jann on Mar 3, 2006 - 25 comments

Praise the Lord and Pass the Petition, Onward Christian Organizers

The Other Christian Activists "Any Christian who believes that homosexuality is a more important issue than justice for the poor just hasn't read his Bible straight." - David Hilfiker
"If you are waiting for a religious left to emerge to offset the power of the religious right, it may already be in your own neighborhood at a local church or synagogue." - Ira Chernus
posted by quonsar on Mar 1, 2006 - 33 comments

A Nation of Saints

One in five Americans consider themselves "holy", according to a recent poll by the Barna Research Group.
posted by bcveen on Feb 24, 2006 - 52 comments

JIHAD COLA: For the Warrior Within!

Republic World News is a fake news site promoting Robert Ferrigno's contribution to paranoid, apocalyptic literature: Prayers For the Assassin.[MI]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 23, 2006 - 25 comments

I am the son of Earth and Heaven

Oprheus, is said to be the founder of The Orphic Mysteries, or Orphism. While in school most students are taught the Theogony of Hesiod, but as in most religions, a differing account existed: The Orphic Theogony, summarized somewhat in this short video (nsfw? abstract nudity). The Orphic Reform to the Dionysian Mysteries included vegetarianism, abstention from sex, and restraint from eating eggs and beans — which came to be known as the Orphikos bios, or "Orphic way of life". Initiation into the Mystery school was needed to teach the Road to the Lower World, through Bone Tablets and papyrus remnants of Orphic Hymns. The Orphic Mystery has been seen as very similar to other religions. (scroll about 2/3 down the page or search for Orphics).
posted by ozomatli on Feb 17, 2006 - 7 comments

Children of a Flirty God

xFamily Values. A collaborative work by former members documenting The Family/Children of God religion/cult. Uniquely reflecting the sexual revolution, they encouraged prostitution as a means of gaining converts and offerings (Flirty Fishing). Plus they had comic books for the kids. But in concordance with other cults, abuse, incest, mind-control, secrecy, charismatic leaders and leaderettes, insanity, and irreparable harm were in full swing. (No more inside. There may be PDFs involved. Please note that much of this material is not safe for work, or anywhere else.)
posted by cytherea on Feb 10, 2006 - 34 comments

OMeGa

Interpreting Revelation's "Millenium." Outside of the all-too-virulent rapture-crazy pre-tribulational dispensationalist premillenialism permeating JesusLand, some Christians hold to other, more nuanced eschatological alternatives. You've got historic post-tribulational premillenialism, which places the transformation of the faithful at the final judgment rather than before it; amillenialism, which regards Christ's "millenial" reign as a symbolic spiritual reign culminating in the last judgment; and postmillenialism, which sees the millenium as a gradual progression towards goodness and light. Overlapping those, you have the "it's all been fulfilled" preterists, and their prophecy-party-pooping compatriots, the hyper-preterists. It's a debate just slightly more fun than the end of the universe. Meanwhile, the noncanonical apocalypses sit in a corner, sadly ignored, and sunny Megiddo is still waiting for some end times action.
posted by brownpau on Feb 1, 2006 - 76 comments

Alpha

"Who's afraid of evolutionary biology?" (I've linked Bede before, but this piece bears a much more important message to Christians who feel it their biblical duty to get hot and bothered over evolution and origin-of-life issues.) Also see a Christian response to "Young Earth" apologetics, and the Young Earth Argument Index, both from "Old Earth" Creationists who disagree with 6-Day biblical literalism. (Note that Old Earthers may still be Intelligent Design advocates. Heaping spoonsful of salt all around.) If that's still too "Christian" for you, Talk.Origins has a summary of other Genesis interpretations.
posted by brownpau on Jan 29, 2006 - 49 comments

What to do when your sexual harassment suit fails

Naomi Wolf has amused us before with her antics, now it looks like she's found Jesus. Is this a bid for attention in the face of drooping book sales, or is this an earnest extension of a pattern of harebrained logic? [mi] [via]
posted by mowglisambo on Jan 28, 2006 - 69 comments

'Cause The Bible Told Me So

Five Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong. From the magazine "Christianity Today", David P. Gushee, a professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, is against torture. Period. No exceptions. Complete with Bible verses to prove it.
posted by willmize on Jan 27, 2006 - 42 comments

An ex-atheist's testimony

From Skepticism to Worship. "I made a resolution to read the entire Bible again, only this time I was going to read it as I would poetry or fiction, and not as a proposal of fact." An ex-atheist's story.
posted by brownpau on Jan 27, 2006 - 111 comments

The four board games of the apocalypse

Ever wanted to play The Rapture: The Board Game? Well, thanks to Kirk Cameron, now you can. And it's now on sale!
posted by huskerdont on Jan 24, 2006 - 11 comments

Alister McGrath on Atheism, Christianity, Religion and Science

Breaking the Science-Atheism Bond. "When I was growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the 1960s, I came to the view that God was an infantile illusion, suitable for the elderly, the intellectually feeble, and the fraudulently religious."
posted by brownpau on Jan 24, 2006 - 160 comments

Textual Criticism and the Reliability of Scripture

Reconstructing Aunt Sally's Secret Recipe. Addressing the Retranslations Fallacy, a common misconception about how the Bible we read has been handed down to us. [via]
posted by brownpau on Jan 23, 2006 - 64 comments

Christian challenge to Christian Zionism

Challenging Christian Zionism "We are a group of evangelical pastors, academics and mission executives who have been disturbed by the growing influence of Christian Zionism on the political scene in America..." Detailed critique of the Christian Zionist movement includes a look at Hal Lindsey, "the Father of Apocalyptic Christian Zionism."
posted by mediareport on Jan 16, 2006 - 47 comments

On "The God Who Wasn't There"

Doug TenNapel reviews "The God Who Wasn't There" in three parts: [1,2,3]. (Religion not your thing? He also does comics. And video games.)
posted by brownpau on Jan 15, 2006 - 36 comments

Refuting the Myth that Jesus Never Existed

Did Jesus Really Exist? Also some notes on the doubtful existence of Hannibal.
posted by brownpau on Jan 9, 2006 - 122 comments

100% money-back guarantee!

Guaranteed to hear the voice of God or your money back! (via Effect Measure.)
posted by docgonzo on Jan 8, 2006 - 39 comments

...to help the Jewish people go home...

Philo-Semitism: Just another form of Anti-Semitism? Interesting Wash Post article on Evangelicals turning away from supersessionism -- the centuries-old belief that with the coming of Jesus, God ended his covenant with the Jews and transferred it to the Christian church, and the concerns it is raising. ..."That hope is felt and expressed by Christians as a kind, benevolent hope," ... "But believing that someday Jews will stop being Jews and become Christians is still a form of hoping that someday there will be no more Jews." ... Is it that philosemitism is just as dehumanizing as antisemitism and, because it masquerades as its opposite, more insidious, or just the most recent manifestation of the longstanding appropriation of us Jews as symbols, whether it helps or hurts us?
posted by amberglow on Jan 8, 2006 - 138 comments

06/06/06

The Beast is coming. Director Brian Flemming prepares to bring to the silver screen what might be the most controversial film of the year (if not all time). The cast and crew are all sworn to secrecy regarding the film's actual content, and the central premise easily explains why: What if there was a massive conspiracy in the Christian Church to conceal the fact that Jesus Christ never existed?
posted by deusdiabolus on Jan 6, 2006 - 74 comments

Elvis didn't do no drugs!

"A Helpful Hand" - Penn & Teller call Bullshit! on the "bestselling book in the world," the Holy Bible. (link is to entire episode approx 29mins - *language, flash)
posted by hypersloth on Dec 14, 2005 - 120 comments

Christian Science

"If God does not exist, and if religion is an illusion that the majority of men cannot live without...let men believe in the lies of religion since they cannot do without them, and let then a handful of sages, who know the truth and can live with it, keep it among themselves. Men are then divided into the wise and the foolish, the philosophers and the common men, and atheism becomes a guarded, esoteric doctrine--for if the illusions of religion were to be discredited, there is no telling with what madness men would be seized, with what uncontrollable anguish."
posted by empath on Dec 6, 2005 - 75 comments

Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?

Faith based prisons... Can Gov. Jeb Bush's new drive to introduce God to the inmates make a difference, or was Jesus 'dying for our sins' not enough already? Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?

"Night has fallen. He has died now. A fly crawls over the still flesh. Of what use is it to me that this man suffered, If I am suffering now?" - Jorge Luis Borges
posted by 0bvious on Nov 25, 2005 - 36 comments

Will the real Thanksgiving please stand up?

Thanksgiving sucks. The English went on setting fire to wigwams of the village. They burned village after village to the ground. As one of the leading theologians of his day, Dr. Cotton Mather put it: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day." And Cotton Mather, clutching his bible, spurred the English to slaughter more Indians in the name of Christianity.
posted by j-urb on Nov 24, 2005 - 55 comments

Betraying Jesus

American Christianity has distorted the gospel and become spiritually bankrupt.... “Regardless of what the New Testament says, most Christians are materialists with no experience of the Spirit. Regardless of what the New Testament says, most Christians are individualists with no real experience of community.” He paused for a moment and then continued: “Let’s pretend that you were all Christians. If you were Christians, you would no longer accumulate. You would share everything you had. You would actually love one another. And you would treat each other as if you were family.” His eyes were piercing as he asked, “Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you live that way?”
posted by publius on Nov 9, 2005 - 95 comments

Slip of the Lip

"Pinch his tits." A Freudian slip and not getting over it is bad joo joo for Christians Speakers
[embedded video & some cursing]
posted by Hands of Manos on Nov 2, 2005 - 83 comments

No, you're wrong! No, YOU'RE wrong!!

If You're a Christian, Muslim or Jew - You are Wrong - A rant over at the Huffington Post.
And let's be clear about this, it IS a rant, and a beaut at that. But it's a sentiment that's run through the head of everyone who isn't a member of the three mentioned groups. No one in the mainstream media says things like this, I wonder why?
The post is made. Let the emphatic agreements, and the vicious denials... begin!
posted by JHarris on Oct 23, 2005 - 259 comments

Stephen Baldwin is Born Again

Hardcore Faith. Actor Stephen Baldwin on his skateboarding ministry and why it's OK to call the Lord 'dude.'
posted by matteo on Oct 10, 2005 - 125 comments

God Talks to Bush

BBC confirms the story That box on his back, that earpiece? He's never said exactly how God talks to him, only that He does ....
posted by hank on Oct 6, 2005 - 133 comments

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Oliver North's advance publicity for a US war on Iran : Over 25 years have passed since the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. Now, accusations that the organization fosters a Theology of War, call attention to SBC head Bobby Welch's new campaign to "baptize a million people in one year and develop “warrior leaders”. This conflation of Christian faith with military terminology is - some feel - quite intentional. Will "Christian soldiers" once more go into battle with Bibles in hand ? And, is faith best advanced by the bayonette point of "discipleship" ?
posted by troutfishing on Oct 1, 2005 - 46 comments

who will send this

Who will send this -er- Apology letter to us- um left belowers if all the predispensationalist and milleniest fundies are raptured? via the awesome growabrain
posted by svenvog on Sep 28, 2005 - 35 comments

Robert W. Funk, 1926-2005

We are going to inquire simply, rigorously after the voice of Jesus, after what he really said.
Robert Walter Funk, who died September 3, was the founder of the Jesus Seminar and one of the most influential New Testament scholars of his generation. The Jesus of Nazareth discovered by the Jesus Seminar was a wisdom teacher whose parables proclaimed the arrival of God's kingdom. He was not, in the judgment of the Seminar, the messiah of the end-times (.pdf file, go to page 5 and 6). Also: Funk's 21 theses.
posted by matteo on Sep 26, 2005 - 34 comments

I never knew the Bible could be so funny

I encountered The Queen James Bible recently while searching for something else completely on Google. Since then, I have been looking for parodies of the Bible and have encountered several. Some are older and filled with conspiracy theories. Some are just plain bad. Some are effectively vaporware (with it's contemporary commercial sibling). And then some are just really funny. (Be sure to check out the Begat Tree.)

Of course, looking for this sort of thing will always bring up random bits and pieces, most notably the Bible according to Cheese (kind of like the Brick Testament) and Don't Dis Ejisha (flash).
posted by Hactar on Aug 28, 2005 - 12 comments

Cosmic Dancer

Did the Devil bury dinosaur bones to trick people? No longer the Devil's handiwork, dinosaurs are being embraced by Christians, who have reclaimed them for Jesus.
posted by The Jesse Helms on Aug 27, 2005 - 110 comments

Curse you Mr. Fantastic, and your pal Jesus Christ too!

The Antichrist Checklist : The most recent entry in Slacktivist's extremely insightful and entertaining series on mocking and deconstructing the Left Behind books. Being written from the perspective of a non-fundie Christian just makes it even more powerful. Slacky reveals how manufactured the cooked-up, hacked-together "prophecy," that fuels the series is. If you believe all that nonsense, and can make it through this series with your wacky premillennial dispensationalist beliefs intact, then I'm sorry but there is no hope for you.

Highlights of this week's installment, the best I've seen in a while: the antichrist, the paucity of the biblical evidence for him/it, and this sentence: "The composite sketch derived from all these descriptions yields a portrait that looks a little like Nebuchadnezzar, a little like Antiochus Epiphanes, a little like Nero or Diocletian, and a little like Victor von Doom."
posted by JHarris on Aug 19, 2005 - 24 comments

A mime is a terrible thing to waste

Gospel Mime to the EXTREME!!! Only the power of Jesus can help you escape from the box! Breaking though the barriers of religion and tradition, K&K Mime Minstries electrifies!
posted by Robot Johnny on Aug 12, 2005 - 34 comments

Metacrockfilter

Metacrock is a Texan warrior-academic who's well-known as an apologist on many Christian and atheist forums. I've had hours of fun trying to rebut the modal ontological arguments he promotes. Lazy atheists who are used to arguing with more naive flavors of Christianity will soon find themselves overwhelmed by Metacrock's relentless logic and philosophical scholarship. However, he's the furthest thing from right-wing fundamentalism you can find among Christians and you might find yourself agreeing with his points much of the time or at least being surprised by them. (pardon the spelling, it's not his strong suit)
posted by fleetmouse on Jul 19, 2005 - 118 comments

Taking that "Peace Be With You" Stuff Seriously

Why does the National Council of Churches hate America? The NCC -- a coalition of 36 Christian denominations -- makes a firm statement against the war in Iraq: "This year our nation is at war as we observe the 4th of July, a day that honors those founders who spoke out for independence from tyranny. Today in Iraq a cruel dictator has been deposed, yet the suffering of the Iraqi people continues. Mandated elections have been held, yet the future of Iraq remains as uncertain as ever. Day by day the cost of this war for the United States, for Iraq, for peace grows clearer. No weapons of mass destruction have been found; no link to the attacks on September 11, 2001 has been shown. It has become clear that the rationale for invasion was at best a tragic mistake, at worst a clever deception." Mainstream Christians are starting to take back Christianity from the theocrats.
posted by digaman on Jun 30, 2005 - 74 comments

Bibliture

Reason #48713 for teaching the Bible in schools: "The classics of British and American literature are filled with biblical allusions that would be lost on a reader without basic knowledge of the Bible"
posted by afx114 on Jun 22, 2005 - 200 comments

Catholicism

Some MeFites have expressed an interest in learning more about the Catholic Church's positions on abortion, the death penalty, and other issues. I hope you will all find these links interesting and enlightening. The people and the Church. But, what about how other Christians see Catholics? Can Catholics respond to these claims? Of course, some claims have to be taken with a very large chunk of salt. Some Christians are even changing their minds. Though there is no single kind of Catholicism. Finally, here is a source for further research.
posted by oddman on Jun 21, 2005 - 58 comments

Behind the scenes at TBN

"So I just went buck wild Jesus style on them!" What really goes on behind the scenes at TBN. (Some flash, some NSFW language.)
posted by pxe2000 on Jun 9, 2005 - 11 comments

Christian Video Games set to make comeback?

Christian Video Games set to make comeback? Tired of destroying the same old cliched monsters, day in day out? Want to engross yourself in a more morally sound, Religious video game experience? Well if the Christian gaming community has their way, we'll soon all be playing them (or at least a few % of gamers): "As believers in Christ, we pray that God will be glorified through our work and that each of us draw nearer to him as we develop and grow as a business," the Christian game company says
posted by 0bvious on May 24, 2005 - 57 comments

Something about Mary

Mary, quite contrary The Christianity Today weblog offers a fabulously dense post (pegged to this recent UK news story) about the Protestant embrace of Mary. Lots of fascinating links - including one from the blog of the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - will bring you up to speed on "the 'Protestants and Mary' deluge of the last three years." Hours of provocative reading for anyone interested in Christian sects.
posted by mediareport on May 23, 2005 - 25 comments

Porn-again Christian

'I haven't seen a porno film in 20 years or more. No need to. I got my wife'.
Harry Reems tells about his struggle to survive Deep Throat.
posted by matteo on May 22, 2005 - 17 comments

Evangelicals in America

Earthly Empires: How evangelical churches are borrowing from the business playbook - "The triumph of evangelical Christianity is profoundly reshaping many aspects of American politics and society... This year, the 16.4 million-member Southern Baptist Convention plans to 'plant' 1,800 new churches using by-the-book niche-marketing tactics. 'We have cowboy churches for people working on ranches, country music churches, even several motorcycle churches aimed at bikers', says Martin King, a spokesman for the Southern Baptists' North American Mission Board... Many of today's evangelicals hope to expand their clout even further. They're also gaining by taking their views into Corporate America. Exhibit A: the recent clash at software giant Microsoft."
posted by kliuless on May 15, 2005 - 35 comments

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