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What's your genetic fitness, eh?

Breeders are winning. "Conservative, religiously minded Americans are putting far more of their genes into the future than their liberal, secular counterparts." (WaPo link, bugmenot says try fedup@mailinator.com and fedup if you don't care to register. Definition of genetic fitness here.)
posted by jfuller on Sep 6, 2004 - 77 comments

The wisdom or capriciousness of disgust

Conservatives have been talking about the Wisdom of Disgust for a long time -- most recently with regard to human cloning, but usually, of course, homosexuality. Nussbaum counters at Reason Online. (And Kimball rips her a new one at the New Criterion.)
posted by Tlogmer on Sep 4, 2004 - 12 comments

Dawkins speaks!

Richard Dawkins discusses religion with a Darwinian outlook. RD: Could religion be a recent phenomenon, sprung up since our genes underwent most of their natural selection? Its ubiquity argues against any simple version of this idea. Nevertheless, there is a version of it that I want to advocate. The propensity that was naturally selected in our ancestors was not religion per se. It had some other benefit, and it only incidentally manifests itself today as religious behavior.
posted by skallas on Sep 3, 2004 - 35 comments

Godchecker

Godchecker.com -Your guide to the gods
posted by Grod on Aug 23, 2004 - 14 comments

Calling all Hot Women of the LORD!!!

Hello, my name is Tamara! As you can probably tell, I'm a Christian who loves Jesus and cares for all humans, even the wicked. What you probably don't know is that I'm hot.
posted by loquacious on Aug 19, 2004 - 68 comments

It is well known

It is well known among the computer elite, who are mostly Atheists and Pagans, that Pokemon's pro-Darwinism propaganda is inescapable...
posted by isol on Aug 15, 2004 - 23 comments

No communion for you!

Catholic church invalidates girl's first communion because she used a gluten free wafer. Haley Waldman has celiac disease which prevents her from eating wheat. It will also prevent her from receiving one of the most important sacraments of her church. Apparently, this has happened before. According to church canons wafers must be made only from wheat. Despite the Catholic Church's apparent inflexibility, an extremely low gluten wafer has been approved, but still may not be safe for some celiac sufferers.
posted by caddis on Aug 13, 2004 - 112 comments

Mosaikker

A million little pieces. The University of Oslo -- Norway’s largest and oldest institution of higher education -- has put together a very interesting page with amazing images of the (5,000 years old) dying art of Mosaics. Among many master-pieces (heh, sorry, couldn't resist the bad pun) we can admire the Empress Theodora from S. Vitale in Ravenna, the starry sky in Galla Placidia, the Virgin Mary and the famous Jesus of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, St. Peter in Hossios Lucas. There's also the St. Anna of Chios, the harrowing of hell of St Mark's in Venice. Scroll down, at the end of the main page there's a lot of good external links. (more inside)
posted by matteo on Aug 3, 2004 - 7 comments

The Vatican Jumps the Shark

The Pope to Women: "get back in your place" - The Vatican, fearing it may still share some semblance of the same reality as the rest of us seeks to rectify this problem by telling women that they should stop hoping for the same things as men have.

"The obscuring of the difference or duality of the sexes has enormous consequences on a variety of levels," the document said, asserting it has inspired ideologies that "call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father."

It also warned of challenges to fundamentals of church teaching, saying the blurring of differences "would consider as lacking in importance and relevance the fact that the Son of God assumed human nature in its male form."

posted by Space Coyote on Jul 31, 2004 - 128 comments

Belief-O-Matic

We have all seen online quizzes to aid in making important life choices. For instance, this quiz purports to guide you in making career choices. Confused about religion and seeking to find a faith that suits your beliefs, now we have Belief-O-Matic.
posted by caddis on Jul 30, 2004 - 22 comments

G.O.P. D.O.A.

G.O.P. D.O.A., the new novel by Brooklyn-based Contemporary Press, just got denied a reprinting by St. Louis-based Plus Communications. Although they printed the first edition less than one month ago, the publisher says that their religious clients would be upset by the book's 'language' and have refused to reprint it.

I guess that is in the same spirit as Rev. Breedlove's attempt to rekindle the tradition of book burning earlier this month.
posted by Miyagi on Jul 28, 2004 - 12 comments

Jansenist convulsionaires

You may not have heard of Jansenism. But on May 1, 1727 one of its more prominent members, Francois de Paris, died. He was a popular fellow for his charitable works and lots of people visited his tomb. That's when things got weird. At first it was just a bunch of people claiming to have been cured of things like "cancerous tumors, paralysis, deafness, arthritis, rheumatism, ulcerous sores, persistent fevers, prolonged hemorrhaging, and blindness." Then things started to get really weird.
...The mourners also started to experience strange involuntary spasms or convulsions...the 'convulsionaires,' as they came to be called, displayed...the ability to endure without harm an almost unimaginable variety of physical tortures....
These events lasted years and were witnessed by thousands as well as commented on by the likes of David Hume and Voltaire. Louis-Basile Carre de Montgeron investigated it for the Paris Parliment and published La Vérité des Miracles in three volumes detailing the events. The tortures were asked for by the convulsionaires. Montgeron details one time when while having an iron drill hammered into a convulsionaire's stomach he, "maintained an 'expression of perfect rapture,' crying, 'Oh, that does me good! Courage, brother; strike twice as hard, if you can!'"
posted by john on Jul 23, 2004 - 11 comments

hyper text.

manifestos and apartment tours i can't stop sifting through the 1995-1997 archives for the newsgroup alt.usenet.manifestoes (which its moderator was kind enough to save and from which the entire unibomber manifesto can be downloaded) some 'graffiti from alt.religion.kibology' also resides here as does a hypertext tour of his apartment. Back up to the main index for some other um, nicely-organized presentations.
posted by cadence on Jul 18, 2004 - 2 comments

Bill Moyers on democracy excrutiate.

"How do we nurture the healing side of religion over the killing side? How do we protect the soul of democracy against bad theology in service of an imperial state? OVER THE PAST few years, as the poor got poorer, the health care crisis worsened, wealth and media became more and more concentrated, and our political system was bought out from under us, prophetic Christianity lost its voice. The Religious Right drowned everyone else out. And they hijacked Jesus. The very Jesus who stood in Nazareth and proclaimed, 'The Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.' The very Jesus who told 5,000 hungry people that all of you will be fed, not just some of you. The very Jesus who challenged the religious orthodoxy of the day by feeding the hungry on the Sabbath, who offered kindness to the prostitute and hospitality to the outcast, who raised the status of women and treated even the tax collector like a child of God. The very Jesus who drove the money changers from the temple. This Jesus has been hijacked and turned into a guardian of privilege instead of a champion of the dispossessed. Hijacked, he was made over into a militarist, hedonist, and lobbyist, sent prowling the halls of Congress in Guccis, seeking tax breaks and loopholes for the powerful, costly new weapon systems that don't work, and punitive public policies."
Bill Moyers on democracy excruciate.
posted by fold_and_mutilate on Jul 15, 2004 - 91 comments

Blavatsky Net

Blavatsky Net - Theosophy.
posted by hama7 on Jul 13, 2004 - 13 comments

A separation of Church and State??

The spokesman said its 'Important to reach out to every single supporter' I guess I shouldn't be suprised, and I guess it's not illegal, but I'll try to be bi-partisan here and say this just seems wrong!!
posted by matty on Jul 2, 2004 - 15 comments

Illegal or not?

Churchgoers get direction from Bush Campaign: The instruction sheet circulated by the Bush-Cheney campaign to religious volunteers lists 22 "duties" to be performed by specific dates. By July 31, for example, volunteers are to "send your Church Directory to your State Bush-Cheney '04 Headquarters or give [it] to a BC04 Field Rep" and "Talk to your Pastor about holding a Citizenship Sunday and Voter Registration Drive." Isn't this blatantly illegal?
posted by widdershins on Jul 1, 2004 - 43 comments

Am I Evil?

Coincidence or contortion? Ivan Panin deciphered a numeric code in the Bible. Known as Gematria, the 'code' implies the Bible could not have been written without Holy assistance. Panin offered an open challenge for someone to create text using a similar pattern, yet no one was able to create one(nor tried).

However many people doubt the authenticity of the code though. The code is found in the same verses using different translations. It is also claimed that Panin manufactured his own translations to create this mathematical phenomenon.

Whether or not you believe, you can determine how good or evil any text or website is.
posted by JakeEXTREME on Jun 25, 2004 - 30 comments

A View from the Eye of the Storm

A View from the Eye of the Storm. An Arab intellectual in Europe ponders on the Muslim world and comes to some interesting conclusions. Israel is a sideshow. Iran is the most dangerous country in the world.. in the long run the only way for us (the West) to win the war of terror is to force the problem nations to reform both politically and culturally.via Steven Den Beste weblog
posted by stbalbach on Jun 25, 2004 - 45 comments

Pontius Pilate contracted his brows, and his hand rose to his forehead...

"Jesus?" he murmured, "Jesus -- of Nazareth?..." Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea, is the only historical figure named in the Nicene Creed -- Coptic saint or eternally damned, his role in the greatest story ever told has been debated by many of history's greatest minds: St Augustine, Dante Alighieri, Tintoretto, John Ruskin, Mikhail Bulgakov, Monty Python. Unfortunately, there is very little historical evidence about him. His role in the death of a certain charismatic Galilean healer and apocalyptic preacher is still being debated today by theologians and historians alike. He is also, of course, the main character of The Procurator of Judea, the classic short story (complete text in main link) by Anatole France. (France's magnificent story has lately been tragically neglected by publishers, even if the author was one of his era's most acclaimed writers in the world -- he won the Nobel Prize in 1921 over Shaw, Yeats, Joyce, Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, and Proust, and when he died in 1924, hundreds of thousands of people followed his funeral procession through Paris). These last 2,000 years of fascination with Pilatus can be explained, some argue... (more inside, for those unwilling to wash their hands of this post)
posted by matteo on Jun 24, 2004 - 37 comments

WE LOVE THE MOOOOON...

"We fell victim to it; we were duped." A gala meeting at a Senate office building invited 100 "honorees" were invited to receive "International Crowns of Peace", only to watch the Reverend Sun Yung Moon of the Unification Church claim the awards for himself. Amidst finger-pointing and denials, a video depicting Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) coronating Rev. Moon, was removed from a Unification Church website. But a number of bit torrent mirrors of that March 23rd "promotional film" have been popping up....while the February 4th video of a nearly identical Capitol gathering has squeaked by without news exposure or outrage.
posted by Smart Dalek on Jun 23, 2004 - 40 comments

Ecclesiastical Architecture, et al.

The Churchmouse: Ecclesiastical Architecture, Stained Glass, Church Monuments and other Funerary Monuments such as Cast Iron Grave Markers.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jun 17, 2004 - 3 comments

The Kingdom Of God Is Within You

Dear Leo, Dear Mohandas "The longer I live -- especially now when I clearly feel the approach of death -- the more I feel moved to express what I feel more strongly than anything else... the doctrine of the law of love unperverted by sophistries. Love... the highest and indeed the only law of life". The Kingdom of God Is Within You (full text available) is Leo Tolstoy's tractatus of "Christianity Not as a Mystic Religion but as a New Theory of Life", a primer of (among other things) the doctrine of non-violence. Among the many fans of the 1894 book was an imprisoned Hindu barrister, a "half-naked fakir" if you want, a certain Mohandas K. Gandhi who was fascinated by "the independent thinking, profound morality, and the truthfulness" of the book. So he ended up writing fan letters to the great Russian man: who warmly wrote back to his young Indian "friend and brother". The old wise Christian anarchist literary giant and the shy, insecure young man who sparked a revolution: to paraphrase another wise, badly-dressed , pacifist old man, "Generations to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such men ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."
posted by matteo on Jun 17, 2004 - 16 comments

Church-Turing thesis

Be thankful you are not my student. You would not get a high grade for such a design. Tanenbaum and Torvalds discuss the future of kernel design.
posted by the fire you left me on Jun 17, 2004 - 13 comments

Supreme Court ducks pledge question.

The Supreme Court ruled today that Michael Newdow did not have standing to sue on behalf of his daughter in challenging the recitation of the pledge in a public school classroom in California.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jun 14, 2004 - 81 comments

And I pray you can make it better down here. I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer

Pray For Reason is a call to Americans of all religions and belief systems who want to see their country's policies at home and abroad based on facts, history, and reasonable thought processes.
My favorite: Dear God (in all your forms), protect us from those humans among us who wish to direct the destiny of the world for their own gain. Bring them humility, compassion and enlightenment, and allow them to see the interconnection of all beings. (Or bring down upon them a rain of burning rocks, whichever strikes your fancy.) Amen
posted by amberglow on Jun 11, 2004 - 10 comments

English Literature and Religion

English Literature and Religion.
posted by hama7 on Jun 5, 2004 - 2 comments

Jesus saves (on prescription drugs)

The Son of God has Prozac and Viagra on sale now. Why bother with know-it-all pharmacists when you can get prescription drugs from Jesus Himself? He even sells birth control for only $129.99 a month (loaves and fishes not included.) via The General
posted by trondant on Jun 4, 2004 - 19 comments

Gates of Mercy

Holy Land. Unlike Orlando's, this one's courtesy of Waterbury, Connecticut. Take a tour, read the debate. A few more pics here and here. Also documented in a short video by Albuquerque resident Brian Konefsky and is on tour via the The Itinerant Cinemascape traveling film show. See if it's coming to your town.
posted by protocool on May 23, 2004 - 7 comments

Hey, hey LBJ! How many containers did you ship today?

Cargo cultists versus Christians. Two religions enter, one religion leaves! Differences have led to murder on an island near Oceania. Many of us learned about cargo cults from Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. However, it seems that there's more to the story, including a Lyndon Johnson connection.
posted by Mayor Curley on May 21, 2004 - 15 comments

Ohio Wants God in Schools

A bill currently under consideration in the Ohio General Assembly would force public schools to "display the official motto of the United States of America 'In God We Trust' and the official motto of Ohio 'With God, All Things Are Possible' in each classroom, auditorium, and cafeteria of each school building in the district." Ohio Public Radio reports here.
posted by Otis on May 20, 2004 - 30 comments

What do the Unitarians believe?

Unitarians denied tax-exempt status in Texas. Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn ruled that Unitarian churches don't qualify as religious organizations because they lack a single creed. In issuing this ruling, Strayhorn ignored the fact that lower courts and the Texas Supreme Court have both ruled against the Comptroller's Office in an ongoing lawsuit stemming from a similar ruling (by a former Comptroller) in 1997. Strayhorn has vowed to continue the legal fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that "Otherwise, any wannabe cult who dresses up and parades down Sixth Street on Halloween will be applying for an exemption." (if you run into userid/password issues, use "bugmenot@fastmail.us" and "privacy")
posted by Irontom on May 19, 2004 - 48 comments

Except not every scene in Harry Potter revolves around a cell phone...

The Harry Potter series and the Left Behind series are more alike than you might think...
posted by PinkStainlessTail on May 18, 2004 - 8 comments

Interactive Church Music Player

Interactive Church Music Player The LDS Church has created a cool new tool for exploring its hymnbooks: a Flash application that not only shows the sheet music, but allows transposition, tempo changes, part selection, and all kinds of other nifty things.
posted by oissubke on May 16, 2004 - 13 comments

The Hillbilly Housewife.

The Hillbilly Housewife. "I am just a humble, barefoot, hillbilly woman with too many irons in the fire like most folks...You will not find nutrional information with these recipe because I do not beleive that God intends normal, everyday eating to be a burden for His children."
posted by bingo on May 15, 2004 - 78 comments

Virtual church

Church of fools No time for church? Like sleeping in on Sunday? Worship the virtual way with Church of fools. Wander the crypt and sanctuary, chatting with Ned Flanders looky-likey's. For real, and sponsored by the Methodist church. Shockwave required. via linkdup
posted by backOfYourMind on May 13, 2004 - 5 comments

ad aspera per astra

Ad Aspera Per Astra - an interview with Brother Guy Consolmagno, one of several full-time Vatican astromomers at the Vatican Observatory. He talks about the Church's take on astrobiology and the eventuality of encountering an alien race. The idea of the Church's mission beyond the Earth is something that's come up in a few good books, like The Sparrow and A Canticle for Leibowitz. Interesting to hear an actual Jesuit's take on the matter. [Via BoingBoing]
posted by ubersturm on May 13, 2004 - 8 comments

Allah forgive them--they're imbeciles

Have You Prayed Today?*
Today is the National Day of Prayer in the US (I had never heard of it). Oliver North!?! is the honorary chairman this year. Here are the President's remarks today. Meanwhile, Larry Flynt is calling for a different sort of prayer today.
*Muslims and Mormons need not apply.
"We're in an election year, and we believe God cares who's in those positions of authority," said Mark Fried, spokesman for the National Day of Prayer Task Force. "But we're not endorsing a candidate, just praying that God's hand will be on the election." The private task force, which operates from the Colorado headquarters of the Christian organization Focus on the Family ....
... since the mid-1980s the ceremony has been organized by the nonprofit task force headed by two prominent evangelical women: Vonette Bright, widow of Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, and Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. She also made no apologies about the task force's exclusion of Muslims and others outside of the "Judeo-Christian tradition" from ceremonies planned by the task force on Capitol Hill and in state capitals across the country. "They are free to have their own national day of prayer if they want to," she said. "We are a Christian task force."

posted by amberglow on May 6, 2004 - 26 comments

Brutal Honesty

Pat Tillman's memorial ceremony was going as planned: John McCain spoke, American flags waved, the Army and the NFL stood together, all mourning their lost colleague. It was going as planned until Pat's brother spoke: "Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.''
posted by falconred on May 4, 2004 - 115 comments

The Mind of the Fundamentalist

The mind of the fundamentalist (streaming RealAudio) is an hour-long radio show featuring excerpts from talks given at a psychoanalytic psychotherapy conference in Sydney. Three speakers discuss experiences with fundamentalists, and driving factors behind their beliefs. It includes an amazing first-hand account of fundamentalist terrorism by a journalist whos plane was hijacked, and who later tracked down the hijacker and attempted to understand what drove him. The RealAudio-squeamish can find a transcript here.
posted by Jimbob on Apr 29, 2004 - 20 comments

What's in a name?

One God, Many Names. An intriguing short paper (pdf) from the Nawawi foundation on names given to God within the Abrahamic faiths and beyond.
posted by Mossy on Apr 27, 2004 - 13 comments

Biometrics are coming .... or not?

After all the hoopla about increasing security, it seems that the requirement for biometric data to be included in passports of those entering the US from visa waiver countries will need to be extended for two years to allow other countries to catch up with the technology, as it seems most countries are unable to meet the deadline. Some countries have put on hold the new technology, while others seem committed to going ahead with it, despite doubts about the readiness of the technology. Of course, if civil liberties groups get their way, the biometric passports may never see the light of day. Specific religious issues complicate the matter to some extent, also. Given that, if the technology to produce biometric passports is available, will it really be that hard for forged passports to be created? Unless a massive world-wide database containing the biometric details of every person was used for data-matching, it is hard to see how these new measures will really make much difference to anyone apart from the companies selling the technology.
posted by dg on Apr 26, 2004 - 4 comments

What Did Jesus Do?!

I shared life's Growing Pains with him, and even winced through a video taped copy of Left Behind after finding the books interesting enough, but even my Christian friends think that this is just plain over the top. Ah, the born-again B-list celebrity.
posted by robbie01 on Apr 21, 2004 - 83 comments

Gays versus God?

MillionForChrist.com? Gays versus God? Looks like there's a race between people who support Christ and people who support same-sex marriages. They're both looking for a million signatures. Conincidence? Any bets on who's gonna win?
posted by ChristFollower on Apr 12, 2004 - 41 comments

Saints of Graphic Design

In these days of reflection and prayer, graphic designers would do well to seek the intercession of their patron saints.
posted by brownpau on Apr 9, 2004 - 9 comments

pnac vulcan;s empire iraq factions

Some said it could'nt be done, but the U.S. seems to have suceeded in uniting Iraq's different ethnic and religious groups. Now perhaps its time for the Vulcan's to begin to reign in their dreams of empire.
posted by thedailygrowl on Apr 8, 2004 - 28 comments

Are you shouting?

To capitalize or not to capitalize a deity? As far as I know Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic and the modern descendants of Sanskrit use no capital letters, so for those languages the point is moot. I can’t speak for too many of the other language families, but I don’t know of any syllabaries or abugidas that use majuscules, so the question seems to be most relevant to the alphabetic languages that use capitals such as the Latin, Greek and Germanic families (including English). Some people even completely capitalize the name of their deity, apparently disdaining minuscules completely.
posted by snarfodox on Apr 8, 2004 - 6 comments

Saved by Islam.

Rwandans turn toward Islam. A NY Times story (reg. req.) describes how Islam has become the fastest-growing religion in Rwanda, partly because people are disgusted with the priests and nuns who helped with the killing ten years ago, partly because Muslims saved many people at that time.
Muslim leaders credit the gains to their ability during the 1994 massacres to shield most Muslims, and many other Rwandans, from certain death. "The Muslims handled themselves well in '94, and I wanted to be like them," said Alex Rutiririza, explaining why he converted to Islam last year.
Food for thought for those who think of Islam as a "religion of violence."
posted by languagehat on Apr 7, 2004 - 29 comments

Render Unto Ceasar?

What America Can Learn From Its Atheists -- by Leon Wieseltier. Taking the Supreme Court case being decided on the "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, he wonders what happens to God and religion when it's pressed into service and has all meaning bleached away. For the argument that a reference to God is not a reference to God is a sign that American religion is forgetting its reasons. The need of so many American believers to have government endorse their belief is thoroughly abject. How strong, and how wise, is a faith that needs to see God's name wherever it looks?
posted by amberglow on Apr 6, 2004 - 155 comments

Paul Kurtz on the Enlightenment

Paul Kurtz on the Enlightenment. Unfortunately, there has been a massive retreat from Enlightenment ideals in recent years, a return to pre-modern mythologies. There has been a resurgence of fundamentalist religions worldwide—Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Orthodox Judaism. Added to this are occult-paranormal claims, which allegedly transcend the existing scientific paradigm. In the United States—the preeminent scientific-technological-military superpower in the world—significant numbers of Americans have embraced primitive forms of biblical religion. These focus on salvation, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. Evangelical Protestant Christians have made alliances with conservative Roman Catholics and neo-conservative Jews, and they have captured political power—power they have used to oppose secular humanism and naturalism. via the council for secular humanism
posted by skallas on Apr 5, 2004 - 75 comments

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