Tag: fundamentalist

How to follow the Bible literally.

March 2, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More
How to follow the Bible literally.

Writer A. J. Jacobs embarked upon a one-year attempt to follow all of the rules in the Bible. To do so, he first wrote down every rule he spotted in the Bible (he came up with 700). Following those rules was difficult, however, especially when he didn’t quite understand them. For instance, where are the “corners” of one’s beard?

Though his talk is often humorous, Jacobs reveals some serious epiphanies he had along the way. For instance, he found that his behavior sometimes changed his thoughts (he found that visiting sick people made him more compassionate rather than the other way around). He learned to give thanks for the hundreds of things that went right every day, rather than focusing on the few things that went wrong. He learned to have reverence for many aspects of his life, even though he remained an agnostic through the whole experience. He also learned that he shouldn’t completely dismiss that which is irrational, and we all have irrational aspects of our lives (is blowing out birthday candles on a cake rational?).

You’ll enjoy Jacobs’ understated delivery and his respect for those who are different. His talk is well worth a viewing, no matter where you fall on the belief continuum.

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Comments that sour conversation: free speech versus censorship

January 24, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More
Comments that sour conversation: free speech versus censorship

Most of us seek a mutual exchange of ideas in our conversations, but not all of us. Most of us are open to the possibility of intellectual change, but not all of us.

We get many comments at this site, most of them thoughtful, many of them really challenging to my pre-conceived beliefs. I revel in those challenging comments.

In the past few months, though, I have struggled with how much leash to give to several visitors to this blog even though they tried to A) monopolize the conversation, B) preach, C) impose their favorite two issues upon every post, and D) ignore clearly-stated bona fide points made by others. In addition to using these ignorant and aggressive tactics many of these comments clearly have their facts wrong (some claimed that Obama is a terrorist; others claimed that God Himself wrote the Bible in King James English).

When these sorts of people join in-person real-time conversations, almost all of us employ similar strategies. We extricate ourselves from those conversations so that we can join some other conversation. We also take steps to avoid spending time in the same room with those sorts of people on future occasions.

A blog is not exactly a conversation, but it is a lot LIKE a conversation. What, then, should a moderator do when conversation-killers attempt to roost at a blog? For many months, I’ve struggled with this question.

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We atheists and agnostics often have a lot in common with you religious moderates

December 23, 2007 | By | 29 Replies More
We atheists and agnostics often have a lot in common with you religious moderates

I struggle to see through the rampant commercialism, the over-consumption and the glazed-eyed happiness of the holiday season.  But maybe I’ve had a break-through.  It keeps recurring to me this month that kind and thoughtful atheists/agnostics have an immense amount in common with millions of kind and thoughtful people who believe in God.  Too many […]

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They are brain-washing our soldiers!

August 30, 2007 | By | 3 Replies More
They are brain-washing our soldiers!

Who are “they”?  Well, high-level Pentagon officials, who are imposing fundamentalist Christianity on our soldiers.   The following excerpt is from a report by Truthout.org: On the heels of a scathing report issued by the Defense Department’s inspector general that took high-level Pentagon officials to task for allowing an evangelical Christian organization unfettered access to the Department […]

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Who changed the Bible and why? Bart Ehrman’s startling answers

October 22, 2006 | By | 729 Replies More
Who changed the Bible and why? Bart Ehrman’s startling answers

How often do we hear people “explaining” religious beliefs by stating “The Bible says so,” as if the Bible fell out of the sky, pre-translated to English by God Himself?  It’s not that simple, according to an impressive and clearly-written book that should be required reading for anyone who claims to know “what the Bible says.” The 2005 bestseller, Misquoting […]

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