Guardian.UK: Timbuktu’s literary gems face Islamists and decay in fight for survival.
“We are all Muslims, and in Timbuktu our practical version of Islam has existed for centuries. [snip] But they practise an archaic Islam and do not consider these writings as the authentic Qur’an because they cover not only religion but science, astronomy, history and literature. That’s their ideology and we don’t support it.”
ArtDaily: The central role of the Eucharist in the Middle Ages is explored.
Interesting history within.
Pacific Standard: Thoughts of Faith and God Decrease Tolerance for Ambiguity.
HuffPo: Pat Robertson Tells Wife Of Cheating Husband To Be Grateful For Marriage.
“Responding to a question from a viewer, Robertson said that married men ‘have a tendency to wander’ and it is the spurned wife’s job to focus on the positive and make sure the home is so enticing, he doesn’t want to stray.” And HuffPo expected … exactly what? This from a man surrounded by ladies with beehive hairdos.
Guardian.UK: Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury accused of rape in two new lawsuits.
Tibet Post: China destroys the ancient Buddhist symbols of Lhasa City in Tibet.
“Ignoring both religious freedom and the outcry of the Tibetan people, the Chinese authorities have begun demolishing the ancient capital of Lhasa, including one of the most important Buddhist sites of the city, Tibet’s holiest Jokhang Temple.”
Guardian.UK: The dark side of home schooling.
“The Christian home school subculture isn’t a children-first movement. It is, for all intents and purposes, an ideology-first movement. There is a massive, well-oiled machine of ideology that is churning out soldiers for the culture war.”
ArtDaily: 15th-century illuminated manuscript acquired by The Israel Museum and The Met.
PacificStandard: Emotional Reactions of Atheists May Reveal Echoes of Belief.
“The heads and hearts of atheists may not be on precisely the same page. That’s the implication of recently published research from Finland, which finds avowed non-believers become emotionally aroused when daring God to do terrible things.” Hard to get past the guy with the thunderbolts.
Guardian.UK: The Christian fundamentalism behind Ron Paul’s home-schooling curriculum.
“With the Ron Paul-branded home-school curriculum starting in kindergarten, some future candidates are getting an early start.” Remember that post-Nixon, conservatives used the school-board strategy [a traditional start to grassroots politics) to launch many a political career. That paid off in spades for Reagan. Dems, don’t get caught out again.
The Christian Left Blog: What’s Real About the Rapture?
WaPo: Suicide of star pastor Rick Warren’s son sparks debate about mental illness.
Always beware when other believers notice that your prayers aren’t working.
The Art Newspaper: Mosque conversion raises alarm.
Of course, Christians took over and repurposed thousands of Roman temples and other pagan sites. That doesn’t make it right, but it adds some needed perspective beyond “the Muslims are coming, the Muslims are coming!”
Sometimes I wonder if we’ve progressed even a step.
ArtDaily: Robert Redford condemns tribal mask sale as ‘sacrilege’.
“But while the sale of sacred Indian artefacts has been outlawed in the United States since 1990—legislation which has allowed the tribe to recover items held by American museums in the past—the law does not extend to sales overseas. The auction house, however, has said there are no grounds to halt the sale, stressing that the items being sold were acquired legally by a French collector during a 30-year residence in the United States.” I suspect there’s no real legal barrier to the sale other than a moral one. One could argue that the 1990 law was being circumvented, I suppose, if one could prove premeditation. A terrible shame if this goes through. All American native tribes could use more of their original artifacts to perpetuate and maintain their cultures.
Later: They’ve been sold. Sadly, I can’t show you the whole article here, because of the New Mexican’s new paywall. Some of you will see it, others won’t.
Baghdad Burning (Riverbendblog) is back.
If you hadn’t seen it elsewhere.
Guardian.UK: One in four Americans think Obama may be the antichrist, survey says.
This isn’t news. This is National Enquirer chaff being marketed at way too high a level. A similar amount thought Ronald Reagan the Antichrist. Ronald (6 letters) Wilson (6 letters) Reagan (6 letters). 666. What more proof do you need? Oh, wait … conservative Christians thought FDR was the Antichrist too, for extending Federal programs before the war (becoming like Stalin and Hitler). I can go on and on and on, through religious leaders, kings, emperors, Popes. Find a famous person, find an Antichrist. They’re a dime a dozen. But find the right one fast; the Second Coming is imminent (“since ~33AD”).
More on this most peculiar, and mostly American, obsession.
Times.UK: Pope shocks his flock by washing women’s feet in Maundy ceremony.
Twist it 90 degrees and look at it again: would any refuse the Virgin Mary or Mary Magdalene a foot bath?
Later: Synchronicity. Telegraph.UK on Mary Magdalene.
TG’s Political Wire: Huckabee Warns Evangelicals Could Leave GOP.
Oh please. Where are you going to run to? What power would you have? [Why did I even bother linking this?]
Guardian.UK: Why British critics don’t get The Book of Mormon.
“You can’t really function in America – you can’t even turn on the television – without a high tolerance threshold for people with absurd beliefs.” Amen, brother. As for the actual Book of Mormon, read Mark Twain’s Roughing It. He does a thorough analysis in a chapter or two and castigates the author for plagiarizing the Old and New Testaments sans attribution — while dulling the content down: “He stopped just as he was in danger of becoming interesting.”
Guardian.UK: Creationist stakes $10,000 on contest between Bible and evolution.
“Mastropaolo believes that evolution cannot be proved scientifically. ‘It turns out that there is nothing in the universe [that] is evolving, everything is devolving, everything is going in the opposite direction’ ...”
Guardian.UK: Richard III’s distant relatives threaten legal challenge over burial.
“There is no obligation to consult living relatives where remains are older than 100 years.” Popular opinion’s gonna have a difficult time with that contention.
Guardian.UK: Roman erotica lacks a sense of sin.
“It feels dirty to look at dirty pictures. The ancient Pompeiians plainly did not feel like that. The statue of Pan making love to a goat in the British Museum show comes from a respectable garden. Yet without a sense of sin we, today, would not enjoy sex half as much, and that is why modern sexuality owes more to St Augustine than it does to the painters of Pompeii.” Hmmm. I’ll take Cicero over St Augustine … or Norman Vincent Peale for that matter. But no goats, TYVM.
NY Times: Focus on Benedict Raises Questions on Dual Popes.
Present Pope and Predecessor Pope … pontificating?
HuffPo: Even Top Scientists Believe Everything Was Created by Magic.
“We see the world through a lens of purpose: Why is this happening? Why are we here? Who let the dogs out? It’s comforting—except when it leads to paranoia or fatalism. But one cold fact is unavoidable, particularly in science: Sometimes shit just happens.”
Independent.UK: Islam’s most holy relics are being demolished in Mecca.
“It matters because many of these columns signified certain areas of the mosque where the Prophet sat and prayed. [snip] The historical record is being deleted. A new Muslim would never have a clue because there’s nothing marking these locations now.” When a religion begins to delete its own history, watch out.