The Talibangelist Conspiracy to Rule America and the West

Talibangelists (aka (aka the pseudo-Christian, far right) would love to force everyone believe in and obey their highly-adulterated pseudo-religion, and to punish those who don’t.  Or won’t. Punishment is big on their agenda: unbelievers, those who stray, followers of a real faith, scientists, intellectuals, people of colour, gays, people with an “R” in their name — they love to punish anyone not among their … (more)

Trump plays the god card

For a nation that allegedly separates church and state, Americans sure love to splash religion all over everything, their elections especially. So this week, Donald Trump made headlines by accusing the frontrunner, Joe Biden of being “against god.” Cue the angels with trumpets. Americans make big oompah sounds about their politicians having religion — Christian religion specifically and preferably protestant — although curiously, as … (more)

Why are American evangelical Christians so cruel?

The article in Forbes’ Magazine, March 11, didn’t ask that question I used in my headline. Instead, the headline simply stated the piece would explain, “Why White Evangelicalism Is So Cruel.” (The author later republished this on his own site under the less pointed title, “Why the Religious Right is so cruel.”) In America, where theocracy is a more powerful political force than free … (more)

Prayer isn’t stopping the violence

An acerbic piece in Maclean’s Magazine from June had the title “America’s mass delusion.” The subtitle read, “Surprisingly, the strategy of praying to God is not stopping the mass shootings in the U.S.” That piece was recirculated when the news of the latest and largest mass shooting in the USA broke. Fifty nine (so far) people were killed and more than 500 wounded by … (more)

TEOTWAWKI, New Year’s Eve

Some religious wingnuts aren’t planning to celebrate the ringing in of the New Year, 2017. Nope: they’re going to await the arrival of their zombie deity who, one can only suppose, will be bringing the champagne to his own party when he returns from the dead. The end of the world party, of course. And another day that, for the rest of us, will … (more)

Godless – The Truth Beyond Belief

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfwuvMpmQJM “Godless – The Truth Beyond Belief” investigates one of the last frontiers in civil liberties and human rights: Atheism. So reads the opening sentence on the website of a new film about atheism and society. It asks, “can you be good without god?” Well, yes, you can. That’s the whole point of secular humanism, philosophy and the entire Buddhist faith. Morality is a choice … (more)

Fake Ark, Fake Religion

Well, it finally opened: the $100 million-dollar Noah’s Ark theme park in Kentucky that features an allegedly life-size model of the mythological boat described in the Bible. It’s 510 feet (155.4m) long, 85 feet (26m) wide, more than three storeys (51 feet) tall, uses 3.1 million board-feet of lumber, steel and other modern materials, on a base of rebar-reinforced concrete.* The only two materials specifically … (more)

Type amen, click like and share…

I created what proved an interesting discussion on Facebook recently when I threatened to ‘unfriend’ anyone who continued to out those obnoxious ‘type amen and share’ posts on their timelines. Now if you’re a FB user, you have seen these things endless times. They’re as common as the “50% will get this math question wrong” and “you won’t believe what happened next!” or the “Nine … (more)

The Myth of Persecution

Myth of PersecutionI just finished reading The Myth of Persecution by theology professor Candida Moss (Harper One, New York, 2013). I picked it up because of my general interest in theology, but also my more specific interest in early church history. I didn’t realize when I started to read it that this book was at the centre of a huge kerfuffle in the Christian community over its message and its accuracy.

In short, Ms. Moss argues that while the early Christians in the first four centuries were often the victims of violence, and even some persecution, they were not the targets of systematic persecution by the Romans for the duration. In fact, the periods of legislated persecution were short and intermittent. She tries to distinguish between persecution and prosecution, and identifies situations where Christians were among the groups, but not singled out, targeted for oppression by various Roman emperors and their edicts.

Further, she argues that the majority of stories of martyrs from this time are fictional, not historic records, created to serve a political or social purpose. She deconstructs some of them, looking at historical records, literary records and internal logic.

And, she concludes, the modern cult of persecution – such as the faux ‘War on Christianity’ promoted by several right wing commentators recently – is based on both a flawed view of history and a dangerous perspective on world events that prevents dialogue and compromise between people. That perspective, Moss writes, is based on the defensive and dangerous notion of persecution and martyrdom. In a film review posted on The Daily Beast, Moss called modern Christian belief in its own persecution a “paranoid fantasy.”

With which I pretty much agree. While not by any means a scholar, what I have read over the years about the creation of the early church, the battles between sects and cults to frame orthodoxy, the arbitrary way the canon was cobbled together, the exclusion of the Gnostics, and the whole business of pseudepigrapha and fake documents supports her contention that the early stories of martyrs were part of this process.

Continue reading“The Myth of Persecution”

The Rational Gods of Iceland

While 61% of Icelanders say they believe in God, according to a recent poll, absolutely none  under the age of 25 believe that their personal hairy thunderer created the world: Less than half of Icelanders claim they are religious and more than 40% of young Icelanders identify as atheist. Remarkably the poll failed to find young Icelanders who accept the creation story of the … (more)

What Would $101 Million Buy?

The answer to that question could be very long. I’ll bet among all the things you thought of buying with that much, you weren’t even once thinking it could buy a 510-foot replica of the mythological Noah’s ark. But that’s what it is buying the folks who run the Ark Encounter theme park in Williamstown, Kentucky. You can see video “encounters” of it being built. Sort … (more)

One Small Step, One Long Whine

The Supreme Court of the United States made a landmark decision last week that states cannot constitutionally (i.e. legally) ban same-sex marriage. The bottom line: under the Constitution, every citizen is entitled to the same rights and freedoms regardless of sexual orientation. Most of the world celebrated with the USA over this decision (the US thus became the 21st nation to legalize same-sex marriage). … (more)

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