The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown
is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn
to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf)
by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 8, 2014 -
For years, Fred "Slacktivist
" Clark has been dissecting, page by page
, the Left Behind
series of Evangelical Christian potboilers. Clark, a Christian himself, goes far beyond merely mocking them but also analyzes the theology, philosophy, and politics underlying them. As an aside, he's looked at other Rapture narratives and is asking, "Why are Rapture stories always so dull?"
To this end he examines The Missing Christians
, a 50-minute 1952 movie about the Rapture, which is available to watch on YouTube
. Clark warns: "This is far, far worse than you’re expecting even if you take into account that it will be far, far worse than you’re expecting."
As usual, Clark goes beyond (but certainly by way of) just mocking the film to get at the core of what he argues the Rapture idea is really about, and why, despite the Apocalyptic material, these stories always end up so dull.
Part of the problem here, as in Left Behind, is that the “storytellers” of Evangel Films aren't nearly as interested in telling their story as they are in settling the score with their perceived enemies. These are the same enemies that haunt the sleep of Tim LaHaye — those sophisticated “liberal” Christians who refuse to concede the expertise of “Bible prophecy” experts. Just like Left Behind, The Missing Christians is a revenge fantasy in which those evil sophisticates are “proved” wrong and the righteous are proved right.
posted by Legomancer
on Feb 12, 2014 -
If Jesus and company were around today, the Bible may look like a art & fandom Tumblr project
, complete with meta essays
, and playlists
. Their writers aim to "follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition of questioning, evolving, and shaking up the status quo in order to update scripture for a secular audience, offering it up as a volatile mix of narrative, social commentary, spirituality, and punk rock."
In this version Jesus is a cat-loving activist
, Mary Madgalene is a hijabi punk
, and the mystics are spoken word artists, musicians, and bloggers
posted by divabat
on Feb 3, 2014 -
"I'm making it official and embarking on a new journey. I will "try on" atheism for a year.
For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else's circumstances. (I trust that if there really is a God that God will not be too flummoxed by my foolish experiment and allow others to suffer as a result)."
posted by paleyellowwithorange
on Jan 15, 2014 -
Alaska is home to two small villages of Russian Orthodox "Old Believers," whose ancestors left the church and their home in Siberia in 1666 in the face of state-issued church reforms. They have traveled more than 20,000 miles over five centuries in the search for the perfect place to protect their traditions from outside influences. Now, assimilation into American culture is slowly overtaking them. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on May 5, 2013 -
To say that Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur L'Enfant-Jesus (Twenty Contemplations on the Infant Jesus) is a masterpiece is a gross understatement. Over sixty years after its composition, it has rightfully earned the recognition of being one of the most important piano works of the 20th century. ... [It] is one of the most personal and intimate pieces Messiaen ever wrote, and it gives the listener a close look at Messiaen the person. Messiaen was a deeply religious person, and although his faith influenced every single piece he wrote, the Vingt Regards is almost like his own personal spiritual diary.
- Keith Kerchoff [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen
on Dec 13, 2012 -
From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader.
Jerry DeWitt is a former Pentecostal pastor in the evangelical parish of DeRidder, Louisiana who slowly lost his religious faith. Last Fall, he went public with his atheism, committing what he calls "identity suicide," and instantly becoming "the most disliked person in town." Since then, Mr. DeWitt's lost his job, his wife, his community and may be losing his house, but is still persevering and working
to help others
who find themselves in similar circumstances. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 27, 2012 -
Fred Clark posts at a blog called "Slacktivist
", so he is often referred to by that name. But this left-wing Christian is far from a slacker. His blog is a powerful voice against the usual conservative Christian presence in America, and the best distillation of his strength is his series of posts analyzing the Left Behind
novels of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Fred savages these books for their "bad writing and bad theology" but it's not the usual Internet snark; Fred has a larger mission here than just pointing and laughing. He just finished dissecting book two, Tribulation Force
, so it's a great time to jump on if you already haven't. (He has promised that after a holiday break, he's going to do the Tribulation Force
movie, and then on to book three.) [more inside]
posted by Legomancer
on Dec 20, 2011 -
Some lives are exemplary, others not; and of exemplary lives, there are those which invite us to imitate them, and those which we regard from a distance with a mixture of revulsion, pity, and reverence. It is, roughly, the difference between the hero and the saint (if one may use the latter term in an aesthetic, rather than a religious sense). Such a life, absurd in its exaggerations and degree of self-mutilation — like Kleist’s, like Kierkegaard’s — was Simone Weil’s.
- Susan Sontag [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Dec 19, 2011 -
"If they simply professed unusual beliefs, movement leaders wouldn’t be remarkable.
But what makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government. The new prophets and apostles believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take 'dominion' over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the 'Seven Mountains' of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they’re intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an 'army of God' to commandeer civilian government. In Rick Perry, they may have found their vessel. And the interest appears to be mutual." Previously. Via.
posted by brundlefly
on Jul 14, 2011 -
A bridge builder, a student of how societies hold together; an advocate of dialogue. Standing against polarized and simplistic styles of thought. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor is Canada's best known and most widely read contemporary thinker. In books like Sources of the Self and A Secular Age, he has attempted to define the unique character of the modern age. He maps the fault-lines in our modern identity, and points to both the pitfalls and the promise of our condition. Learn about his life, history, upbringing, and... ideas.
Now available, CBC IDEAS in five one-hour parts: the malaise of modernity
(this special program has the same title as the 1991 Massey Lecture of the same name, but is not the same [MP3's, get them now, they will go away, and then you can only stream them]).
. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation
on May 20, 2011 -
(some NSWF images) has made controversial art for decades, with his piece Piss Christ
causing controversy shortly after it was created in 1987. In 1989, the photograph initiated outrage against the National Endowment for the Arts because of "anti-Christian bigotry"
. Then the piece was physically attacked two times in one weekend
, when it was first shown in the National Gallery of Victoria
in 1997. In December 2010, the Collection Lambert museum of contemporary art
in Avignon, France opened a show called "I Believe in Miracles"
that includes pieces of minimal art, conceptual art and land art, and includes Piss Christ
. The photograph had been shown in France before without disturbance, and had been shown without incident in Collection Lambert for four months, but around 1,000 protesters marched to the museum on Saturday, and on Sunday vandals succeeded in attacking the picture
, breaking the plexiglass shield and slashing the photograph. The museum is open again, and the damaged work is still on display
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Apr 19, 2011 -
Dare 2 Share Ministries offers profiles and tips
on how to "share your faith" with fourteen different types of friends a teen Christian might have, such as Andy the Atheist
, Marty the Mormon
, Jenna the Jew
, Sid the Satanist
, Mo the Muslim
and Willow the Wiccan
. If none of those strategies work, they also offer articles
on how to "use the buzz in current teen culture to initiate God-talk with your friends" by "sharing your faith" through Indiana Jones
, Halo 3
, Brokeback Mountain
, Kung Fu Panda
and The X Files
posted by jardinier
on Apr 8, 2011 -
Deacon Dodge has a couple of posts (here
) about religion, freedom and democracy amid the turmoil of Egypt. [more inside]
posted by KMH
on Feb 4, 2011 -
In a five part series he wrote a few years ago, blogger J. Brad Hicks breaks down how, in the mid-1960s, the Republican party made a conscious decision to rebrand themselves as the party of Christians, and in doing so, how they had to shift the ideology of the churches to what he calls a "false gospel
". [more inside]
posted by quin
on Sep 15, 2010 -