Auden and Christianity
"The notion that religious faith and serious thought are mutually exclusive categories always struck Auden as risible and unintelligible. But he would have bristled at an effort to separate out his religious beliefs and restate them as systematic propositions, or examine them independently or thematically, rather than see them as players in his rich and various inner symbolic drama."
The Interpretative Dance Theocrats.
Inspired by Salon's excerpt
from Michelle Goldberg's new book, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism
, this handy guide will resolve your confusion over Christian theological jargon. [via]
is just one name for that ideological and aggressive species of Christianity just may be more organized, ambitious, and successful than you imagined. The dream transcends the elimination of abortion, the teaching of intelligent design, and the preservation of marriage within American politics, but instead reaches out to restore America to an imagined Christian state. Or more? "World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish.
" Or maybe just 29% of it
. But some resistance from within Christianity
is starting to appear.
the youth arm of the Christian Reconstructionist (also called Dominionist
) movement, is holding a rally in Philadelphia
this weekend. They've already had events in San Francisco
. Create your own Battle Plan
or just chat
with other soldiers in God's Army. But not everyone
is happy about it
Do you ever get the calling to witness to atheists but don't respond because you don't know how to start? Have you ever tried, but got pulled around from one point to the next spending hours getting nowhere? Are you just too chicken to do it? Well fret no more - help is here! The Chat-O-Matic
is specifically designed to get you started on the right foot when debating skeptics on the Christian faith. It will also help you obey Jesus' command in not throwing your pearls before swine. (An Atheist Witnessing Tool for the rest of us)
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
"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.
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.
Jesus walked on the
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).
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.)
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
One in five
Americans consider themselves "holy", according to a recent poll by the Barna Research Group.
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".
into the Mystery school
was needed to teach the Road to the Lower World
, through Bone Tablets
remnants of Orphic Hymns
. The Orphic Mystery has been seen as very similar to other
(scroll about 2/3 down the page or search for Orphics
. 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
they had comic books
for the kids
. But in concordance with other cults, abuse
, charismatic leaders
, 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.)>
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
"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.
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
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.
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
Ever wanted to play The Rapture: The Board Game?
Well, thanks to Kirk Cameron, now you can. And it's now on sale!
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."
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]
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
reviews "The God Who Wasn't There"
in three parts: [1
]. (Religion not your thing? He also does comics
. And video games
Did Jesus Really Exist?
Also some notes on the doubtful existence of Hannibal.
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?
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
"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)
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
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.
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?”
"Pinch his tits."
A Freudian slip and not getting over it is bad joo joo for Christians Speakers
[embedded video & some cursing]
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!
Actor Stephen Baldwin on his skateboarding ministry
and why it's OK to call the Lord 'dude.'
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 ....
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" ?
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
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
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
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
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."
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!
is a Texan warrior-academic
who's well-known as an apologist on many Christian
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)
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
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"