Archive for Religion

Looks like it’s just one of those days…

Pope John Paul II isn’t doing so well and has been given last rites.
I find that I can’t actually pray for him to get better but rather just that God’s will be done.

Terri Schiavo dead

Terri Schiavo died today, 13 days after having her feeding tube removed.
I wonder how much longer the media circus lasts.

Whah?

From the Princeton Review’s College Rankings (with a hat tip to BOTW):

Diversity University Monochromatic Institute
Lots of Race/Class Interaction Little Race/Class Interaction
Diverse Student Population Homogeneous Student Population
Students Ignore God on a Regular Basis Students Pray on a Regular Basis
Gay Community Accepted Alternative Lifestyles Not An Alternative

Can somebody explain how students regularly ignoring God is a sign of diversity? Diversity is having a bunch of people worshipping or choosing not to worship however they wish, not having everybody ignore God. A campus where God is ignored is just as “monochromatic” as one where everybody worships the same god.

Finally…

Someone is finally talking reasonably in the debate between intelligent design and evolution.

Many letters to the editor propose teaching ID and evolution and letting the students decide which to believe. Yet ID and evolution are not rival scientific ideas but answers to two different questions. ID asks who created our world; science asks how life has progressed on our planet.
There is no conflict in believing that an intelligent designer created our world and that evolution is the way life has progressed. Most scientists and science teachers I’ve met believe both. There is no conflict between maintaining a philosophical answer to one question and a scientific answer to a different question.
Barry Riehle – Cincinnati Enquirer

It’s nice that the DDN has the Speak Up column…

It makes it so much easier to find morons.

President George W. Bush and his supporters are supposed to be Christian. Yet, the reason I most often hear for supporting Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security is this: People want to keep “their own” money. C’mon, folks. Have you forgotten the parable of the loaves and the fishes? When we share, there’s plenty for everyone. When we hoard, there is never enough.
Dayton Daily News

First off, the “parable” of the loaves and fishes wasn’t a parable. It was a miracle. It’s called a miracle because those things don’t happen in the normal course of events; they require God’s intervention.
Secondly I’d suggest that the caller/writer refer to the “parable” of the Soviet Communism. It goes something like this: “When people are forced to share it would take a miracle for anybody to have enough.”

Ok, something I don’t get…

How can members of the Church of England have a religious problem with divorced people getting married? The Church was started by a guy solely so that he could get divorced and remarry.

Buying a Bible

Ended up buying a new Bible tonight, the ones I had just weren’t cutting it. I came to find out there are a lot of things to consider when buying a Bible.
What translation did I want? KJV? NRSV? NIV? The Message?
I’ve got a couple NRSV Bibles so I was really looking for something a little more up-to-date and readable. My choice was pretty much between NIV and The Message.
What type did I want? Reference Bible? Study Bible? Student Bible? How big and thick did I want it to be?
The Bibles I have (I should point out that my 2 NRSVs are both the exact same edition, presented to me on the day of my baptism, one by my parents, the other by my church.) are really just pretty standard Bibles, no extensive footnotes or other explanations which I wanted out of the new Bible. The “The Message” Bibles were really all pretty standard, it’s very readable, but it’s not what I was looking for in the added features department. That left me with the NIV, and either a Study Bible or a Student Bible.
I also wanted one that wasn’t very thick. I wasn’t looking for a miniscule one, but I didn’t want a big, honkin’ one. It had to be portable. The NIV Student Bible came in at 1 1/4″ while all the Study Bibles were 3-4 times that and I came to find that I just liked the notes in the Student Bible better.
And with that my search was over, I went with the NIV Student Bible.
(And as an added bonus, it is, as it was dubbed upon returning home, “styligious”.)

Wow

Ramesh Ponnuru brings to light an article in The Amerian Prospect by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. Reich’s conclusion: People who believe in God are the greatest danger we face.

Now I disagree with much of what [Robert Reich] has to say, and consider it uncivil to describe advocates of prayer in public schools, a ban on abortions, and other policies Reich dislikes as “religious zealots.” (I don’t consider myself a religious zealot, although I support several of those policies, and support some of them zealously.) But none of this is especially outrageous or even noteworthy.
But then comes Reich’s conclusion:

The great conflict of the 21st century will not be between the West and terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face.

This goes well beyond the common denunciation of “fundamentalism” where that term is meant to describe an ideology that seeks the imposition of religious views on non-believers. (That’s what Andrew Sullivan means when he uses the term.) It is a denunciation

Can’t say I was expecting this…

‘Under God’ serves good secular cause

A nation should be under something. If not God, then some set of human values, of principles of human behavior that are bigger, even, than a Constitution. To acknowledge being under something is a good exercise in humility.
The “under God” phrase serves that idea, if imperfectly.

Is the phrase constitutional, given the Constitution’s ban on “an establishment of religion?” When the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case challenging the “under God” language this month, most of the justices dodged the constitutional issues….
But Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said the phrase is constitutional. She said the phrase, far from establishing anything, is part of a custom of “ceremonial deism.” Deism is a belief

On “under God”

Personally I wouldn’t be opposed to taking “under God” out of the pledge simply on an argument of “let’s be inclusive” or “let’s not offend anyone”, but if that does happen it should be a free choice, not something forced by the courts. If people want to remove it they should petition their Congressmen to change it rather than running to the courts.
I certainly don’t think having it in the pledge is a breach of First Amendment rights. The First Amendment was put there to keep the government from establishing an official state religion like the Church of England and I don’t see that having “under God” in the pledge does that. And even if one doesn’t believe in a “God”, nobody’s forcing them to say those two words in the pledge, there’s no reason they can’t stand there with everyone else and just say “one nation……… indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.
Any court decision declaring it unconstitutional would, I believe, be a bad one. There’s no Constitutional right to not be offended. I will however fully hold open the possibility of a reasoned debate leading to the conclusion that lawmakers should take it out.