Aeon Magazine: Godless but good.
“After all, there are plenty of people in this world who don’t believe in God but nor do they behave like sociopaths. Of course, one might reply that such atheists are confused: given that they don’t believe in divine punishment, they should act like sociopaths, whether they realise it or not.” Ethics and morality exist quite comfortably outside of religious framework. This bit I’ve quoted out struck me pretty hard … I recall when I first worked in NYC, I was ostracized for not seeing a shrink weekly. It seems just about everyone in Manhattan of the ‘80’s needed a psychiatrist to verify their normalcy. They firmly believed that since I was not ‘one of them’, I was going to ‘pop’ at some unpredictable point.
Given the subject matter of the article, imagine what would happen if you told someone you were unbaptized in today’s culture!
ArtDaily: More than 3,000 year-old pyramid belonging to Egypt pharaoh’s vizier discovered.
“The monument was largely dismantled in the 7th and 8th century AD, when the tomb was transformed into a Coptic hermitage.” Christians co-opted and repurposed so much. Lucky it wasn’t destroyed.
One of my favorite photos of the day.
Just a simple black and white. San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in America. You’ll notice I’m going to be dropping the use of vignette and filters. Instagram has given me the mental trots. I can’t stand anymore. Filters and vignette are so cliche as to be completely useless as artistic expression. No more, unless it’s in the nature of the lens.
The Christian Century: How the Antichrist reflects an era’s anxieties.
“In the modern era, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, U.S. presidents, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, England’s Prince Charles, and even megachurch pastor Rick Warren have all made the Antichrist list.” So did Ronald Reagan. So were various heretical bishops, until their bribes and machinations made their writings orthodox. Whoever is ‘other’, is Antichrist.
ArtDaily: At Princeton U’s Art Museum, “Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe.”
PU’s Art Museum consistently comes up with really interesting exhibitions.
HuffPo: Celebrating Darwin—Religion And Science Are Closer Than You Think.
MailOnline.UK: First Pontiff in 600 years to stand down; ‘no longer has strength to carry on.’
Linked purely so I could make this punnish title: “Too Pooped to Pope.”
WaPo: The bizarre stories of the four other popes to have resigned in the last 1,000 years.
Bizarre today, perhaps. SNAFU, for their eras.
Discover: Foodies Find Common Cause with Anti-Abortion Activists.
New Scientist: The dragon that evolved into a pterosaur.
“Sadly for creationists and dinosaur-loving dreamers everywhere, the beast was, of course, a fake, cobbled together from animal parts and fancifully sculpted fabrications The skull and jaw came from different dogs, the ribs from a fish, and the hind limb is the arm of a bear.”
ArtDaily: Most Timbuktu texts saved, say curators.
“A vast majority was saved… more than 90 percent.” Thank goodness.
The Economist: Islam and science: The road to renewal.
“Research published in 2008 by Salman Hameed of Hampshire College in Massachusetts, a Pakistani astronomer who now studies Muslim attitudes to science, found that fewer than 20% in Indonesia, Malaysia or Pakistan believed in Darwin’s theories. In Egypt it was just 8%.” Tough climb ahead.
NY Times: The Way of the Agnostic.
“Atheism may be intellectually viable, but it requires its own arguments and can’t merely cite the lack of decisive evidence for religion. Further, unless atheists themselves have a clearly superior case for their denial of theistic religion, then agnosticism (doubting both religion and atheism) remains a viable alternative. The no-arguments argument for atheism fails.”
SciAm: Louisiana senator asks if E. coli evolve into persons.
CNN: Sundance 2013 - Robert Redford answers conservative critics.
If you’re unwelcome in Utah, Mr Redford, bring it to Santa Fe. I believe you have, or used to have, a home here.
S+R Today: Why Do We Tend to Exaggerate How Liberals and Conservatives Differ Morally?
“This could still be a consequence of people thinking of the most polarized examples from the media and extrapolating from that. It could also be a consequence of a general wish to see oneself as less extreme than the ‘typical’ ideologue (even for people who say they are at one of the ends of the political spectrum).”
SciAm: A Science Teacher Draws the Line at Creation.
“The danger is that 40 percent of the American electorate seems to have forgotten what science is. Considering that our nation put a man on the moon and invented the airplane and the Internet, this development is extraordinary. Yet when much of the electorate faces the complex scientific questions of our day, they do not reject science wholesale, they cherry-pick it.” Nothing earth-shattering here, just well-written.
The New Republic: The Rise Of DIY Abortions.
Long read, bookmark for when you have time.
SF New Mexican: Solstice celebrants welcome sunrise at ancient pueblo.
The sense of interconnectedness, when you stand at one of these ancient ruins during one of these celestial events, is incredible.
CNN: Apocalypse believers’ big finish predictions vary.
The Dead Sea Scrolls.
Even more of the Scrolls have been digitized.
The Global Sociology Blog: On the Guns Thing, I would Just Like to Point Out …
Design You Trust: Dutchman Launches Life-sized Replica of Noah’s Ark.
“He followed Biblical instructions precisely to create a boat 427 feet long and 75 feet high, which he has filled with a menagerie of stuffed and plastic animals, as well a petting zoo with live animals and an aviary of exotic birds.” I’m wondering how much time/manpower it would take to clean up all the spoor.
NY Times: The Puritan War on Christmas.
“The Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony went one step further and actually outlawed the celebration of Christmas. From 1659 to 1681, anyone caught celebrating Christmas in the colony would be fined five shillings. Well into the 18th century, those who attempted to keep the tradition of wassailing alive in New England often found themselves arrested and fined. Indeed, the Puritan War on Christmas lasted up to 1870, when Christmas became a legally recognized federal holiday.” Well, after all, the Puritans were saturnine about their Bible history …
Religion News Service: ~4 in 10 Americans see signs of end times in extreme weather.
“More than a third of Americans believe the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in the ‘end times’ described in the New Testament—a period of turmoil preceding Jesus’ Second Coming and the end of the world.” Which means they can sit back, wring their hands, thump their Bibles, and do nothing about it because it’s “God’s will”.