A Bible Book Of Blunders


(Debunking Christianity) – David Madison:

In terms of shattering the credibility of Christianity, the Book of Acts does a pretty good job. Some of the cringe-worthy stuff jumps right out at us, other flaws become more obvious when readers study the texts carefully and try to align its stories with information in the letters of Paul, who is the main hero of Acts.

Was Acts written 30, 40 or 50 years after Paul’s death? We don’t know, but whenever we read something in Paul’s letters that contradicts Act, we can be sure that it was the author of Acts who got it wrong. “…when Acts can be compared with information derived from the undisputed Pauline letters, there is partial or full disagreement upon most major points.” …

debunking book-of-blunders

Papyrus 46 folio


The Apollo 11 Moon Landing


(Guardian Comments) – David Smith:

Michael Collins, 88, Apollo 11 command module pilot, made a striking point. From more than 200,000 miles away, Earth’s national borders don’t matter any more. They are artificial and arbitrary, a human construction. If presidents and prime ministers could enjoy such a view, the astronaut noted, they would probably struggle to identify their own countries.

It’s an argument reminiscent of astronomer Carl Sagan: “The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.”

There was political turmoil in the US and the Vietnam war was raging, but the moon landing drew more people together, watching on TV and listening on radios, than any previous event in human history. And when the three pioneers came home, they and their wives embarked on an exhausting goodwill tour to 24 countries and 27 cities in 45 days. …

theguardian 2019/jul/20 apollo-11

Earthrise, by Apollo 8 on 1968-12-24

Racism Is an Impeachable Offense


(The Intercept) – Shaun King:

Donald Trump has a rich, varied history of racism, bigotry, and discrimination going back to at least 1973, when the Justice Department filed a racial bias suit against him for mistreating Black applicants and tenants all over New York. At the time, it was one of the largest lawsuits of its kind. That was 46 years ago. Since then, the list of offenses has piled up. In a better time, his racist behavior would have prevented him from ever being elected, but here we are. He’s president and now he’s openly carrying that bigotry right into the Oval Office. Not only do I think he is violating his oath of office — I think his open, flagrant bigotry is an impeachable offense. …

theintercept 2019/07/19 impeachment

Donald Trump on 2019-07-16 with photo of Rep. Ilhan Omar

How Notre-Dame Was Saved


(NYTimes) – Elian Peltier e.a.:

Notre-Dame came far closer to collapsing than people knew. This is how it was saved. …

nytimes 2019/07/16 notre-dame

Burnt roof of Notre-Dame de Paris

Trump to Go Back to Russia


(New Yorker::The Borowitz Report) – Andy Borowitz:

Four Democratic congresswomen issued a brief statement on Monday urging President Donald Trump to go back to Russia and improve the dire conditions of that country.

In the tersely worded statement, the four lawmakers – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York; Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts; Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota; and Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan – indicated that Russia was “broken and crime-infested” and required Trump’s immediate attention. …

borowitz-report back-to-russia

The Squad: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib

(R) stands for (RACIST)


(FTB Pharyngula) – PZ Myers:

If you are a Republican, you’re racist. If you vote Republican, you are a racist. If you live in a county that voted for Trump, you live in a racist county. Trump himself is an unabashed racist.

That isn’t name-calling. That’s simply an obvious fact at this point. Our incompetent bigot of a president is letting it all hang out. …

pharyngula r-stands-for-racist


Dead Poets Society


(Guardian Film) – Luke Buckmaster:

From its enthusiasm for literature to its rousing finale, Peter Weir’s film with Robin Williams is a salute to inspiration itself. …

theguardian dead-poets-society

Dead Poets Society, 1989 film



(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

Homeopath Tennessee police have warned about hyper-aggressive Meth-gators. And alligator outbreaks in Chicago, IL and Clearfield County, PA have been contained. …

stderr yeah-riiiiiight


An Epidemic of Disbelief


(Atlantic) – Barbara Bradley Hagerty:

What new research reveals about sexual predators, and why police fail to catch them …

theatlantic epidemic-of-disbelief

Evidence seal

How Christianity Teaches You to Hate Yourself


(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Neil Carter:

If you want to know what Christians believe, don’t watch their debates. Listen to the songs they sing.

There is a song they often played at the gym that was once on my running music playlist back in my Christian days. It’s called “So Long, Self” and it’s sung by MercyMe, the same group that brought us the perennial funeral standby, “I Can Only Imagine.” Here is a sample of the lyrics of the song:

So long, self! Well, it’s been fun, but I have found somebody else
So long, self! There’s just no room for two, so you are gonna have to move
So long, self! Don’t take this wrong but you are wrong for me, farewell
Oh well, goodbye, don’t cryyyy…woahoah so long, self!

Does this strike you as a subculture that teaches people a healthy view of themselves? Me neither. And lest you think I’m making much ado about nothing, I maintain that you can learn a lot by listening to the songs people sing, especially when those songs were specifically written to reinforce centrally important theological ideas the way songs do on Christian radio stations.

I see at least four things that result from this persistent and pervasive message of self-loathing.

  1. It makes you easier to control. …
  2. It teaches you unhealthy self-talk, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy. …
  3. It gives you an overly negative view of the rest of humanity. …
  4. Finally, it damages your ability to have healthy relationships because it teaches you to invalidate your own personal needs. …

In real life, you have to balance the needs of self with the needs of others. That’s the only kind of relationship that’s sustainable. It’s not always about “dying to self” and ignoring your own needs in order to take care of the needs of others. That may be the most “Christian” way to love, but it is a recipe for neglect, dysfunction, and even potentially abuse. …

godlessindixie to-hate-yourself

Jesus wants in