New Republic: Crimes Against Humanities.
Haven’t time to read it yet, but my skim-through looks lively and of great interest.
Mail.UK: Skeletal remains of ‘Catholic saints’ that are still dripping in gems and jewellery.
Man, talk about going out in style ...
BBC News: HIV patients told by Pentecostal pastors ‘to rely on God’
“Medical staff told the BBC a minority of pastors in England were endangering young church members by putting them under pressure to stop medication. Healing is central to Pentecostalism, a radical belief in the power of prayer and miracles.” God gave you a brain; use it. Even Martin Luther deferred to physicians before recommending healing through faith. You’d think we haven’t moved forward a step since the 1400’s.
Boston Review: Can Science Deliver the Benefits of Religion?
“Research on the existential and emotional aspects of particular scientific beliefs or of a scientific worldview is in its infancy, but the findings so far suggest we’ve been asking the wrong questions when it comes to understanding the widespread rejection of human evolution in favor of divine creation. The relevant contrast might not be between science and religion but between beliefs that promise an orderly universe—one in which individual humans or some external forces, be they natural or divine, impose structure and corral uncertainty—and those that do not.”
The Atlantic: The Book That Changed Reza Aslan’s Mind About Jesus.
“I think that, obviously, is an enormous threat to the power-holders whose authority came from—precisely as Dostoevsky says—from their ability to appease a man’s conscience. Pay us your dues, your tithes, bring us your sacrifices, submit to our authority, and in return, we will give you salvation. And Jesus’ challenge to that idea was based on the notion that the power for salvation does not rest in any outsider’s hand: that it rests within the individual. I think that’s an idea that a lot of Christians need to remember.” Martin Luther would likely approve.
In These Times: Why the Relentless Assault on Abortion in the U.S.?
Um … because abstinence education and attacks on basic science education have left wide swaths of people with no clue about how pregnancy happens.
BigStory/AP.com: King David’s palace found, says Israeli team.
But wait a minute, there, Tex: “Critics said the site could have belonged to other kingdoms of the area. The consensus among most scholars is that no definitive physical proof of the existence of King David has been found.” Consider this link an update to the previous.
KRQE: Glorieta homeowners facing eviction.
“‘No one recalls ever hearing anything about a 25 year lease,’ said Bud McCrady. However, Glorieta 2.0’s executive director Anthony Scott says the rules were spelled out in the contracts homeowners signed.” Christian or not, this is why you read every contract you sign.
BBC: Turkey protests—Dangerous waters with no sign of compromise
“What began as a demonstration by environmentalists has mushroomed into something far bigger: a fight by disparate groups for greater freedom in Turkey and a preservation of the country’s secular order. They see a government with an authoritarian, neo-Islamist agenda: the highest number of journalists in the world in prison, restrictions on alcohol sales, massive construction projects prioritised over human rights.”
New Republic: Energy Companies Take Advantage of the Amish Prohibition on Lawsuits.
“… extraction companies are buying up the rights to drill on private property with unprecedented speed. At stake are geysers of money. And in the thousands of cases in which the landowner is of the Amish faith, their business partner would never dream of taking them to court should things go awry.” Bad form, bad form! Where are your ethics?!! [I already know.]
Guardian.UK: US tourist gang-raped in northern India.
It’s a cheap shot, but I feel compelled to take it: ‘Eat, Rape, Love.’ We should be just as outraged by the rape of Indian women as we are about Swiss or Americans; unfortunately we’ll only get exercised about it now that it intrudes on the mystical yoga tourism business.
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.