Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Well Played, Yann LeCun!


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

Yann LeCun is the director of AI research at Facebook and an expert on many aspects of deep learning. As such he receives many invitations to speak at institutions around the world. He recently received one from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and here is his response. …

singham 2017/05/23 well-played

Yann LeCun to KAUST

The Curse of Blasphemy Laws


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

The outgoing governor of Jakarta in Indonesia, who is a double minority in that he is both Christian and ethnic Chinese in a country that has the largest Muslim population in the world and is 85% Muslim, was sentenced to two-years imprisonment for blasphemy. His crime? Quoting a verse from the Koran which he said that opponents were using to mislead people that Muslims should not vote for a non-Muslim. …

singham 2017/05/09 blasphemy-laws

The Handmaid’s Tale


( – Valerie Tarico:

If The Handmaid’s Tale offers any sign, Margaret Atwood has read more of her Bible than many Christians. Superficially, Atwood’s dystopian novel is littered with biblical names and phrases: Gilead, Mary and Martha, Jezebel, Milk and Honey, All Flesh, Loaves and Fishes, Lilies of the Field, the Eye of the Lord, Behemoth, and many more.

At a deeper level, Atwood grounds her plot in gender scripts that pervade Abrahamic scriptures. One story in particular brings the pieces together: a tale of two sisters named Rachel and Leah, who marry the same man (Genesis 29-31). …

valerietarico the-handmaids-tale

Alexis Bledel as Ofglen in The Handmaid's Tale

Fabricating Jesus


( – Valerie Tarico:

David Chumney spent almost three decades as an ordained Presbyterian minister before quietly exiting the ministry and Christianity itself. He now describes himself as agnostic, but his exodus from the Church didn’t end his fascination with New Testament studies or his quest to separate history from mythology in the biblical record. He tackles the fraught topic in his new book, Jesus Eclipsed. …

valerietarico fabricating-jesus

David Chumney: Jesus Eclipsed: How Searching the Scriptures Got in the Way of Recounting the Facts



(Jesus and Mo) – Jesus:

Ok, I’ve got it now – here’s how Christianity works: Man sinned against God so, like a child who disobeys a parent, deserves punishment.” …

jesusandmo saved

Jesus and Mo 2017-05-03: Saved

Those Evil Girl Scouts


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

If there is one organization that conjures up images of wholesomeness, it is the Girl Scouts. When my daughters were young, they were members of that inclusive and welcoming group and selling their cookies was the easiest thing because everyone loved the Girl Scouts. And the cookies were pretty good, too.

Patricia Miller writes that the archdiocese of Kansas City of the Catholic Church has seen through that façade and recognized the evil that lurks within and demanded that all its parishes cut off all ties with the Girl Scouts. …

singham 2017/05/03 girl-scouts

Girl Scouts

The Corrosive Effect of Darwin


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

Williams Jennings Bryan, the famous protagonist in the Scopes Monkey Trial, warned that this would happen. He said back then, “If Darwinism could make an agnostic of Darwin, what is its effect likely to be upon students to whom Darwinism is taught at the very age when they are throwing off parental authority and becoming independent? Darwin’s guess gives the student an excuse for rejecting the authority of God, an excuse that appeals to him more strongly at this age than at any other stage in life.” He also saw evolution as a slippery slope, saying “Evolution naturally leads to agnosticism and, if continued, finally to atheism.” …

singham 2017/05/02 darwin

Daniel C. Dennett: Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Wikipedia: Daniel C. Dennett: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea

My Deconversion, Part 2


(Patheos::Excommunications) – Rita Forbes:

I tried to see reason in the New Testament. Perhaps the nature of God changed with Jesus. But throughout the New Testament we see God threatening punishment on practically all of humanity, save for the few who obey him and worship him correctly. He sends most of his human creation to eternal hellfire. …

excommunications 2017/04 searching-2

Moral Relativist


(Jesus and Mo) – Moses:

“I’m a moral relativist. I don’t judge people like you guys do.” …

jesusandmo basis

Jesus and Mo 2017-04-26: Basis

Religion – Symbiote or Parasite?


( – Valerie Tarico:

Given that our world is plagued by religious conflict and cruelties, some antitheists have suggested that religion as a whole is a form of pathology. But as worried and angry as we may feel about religious harms, here is a reason this way of construing religion doesn’t quite work: The term pathology implies illness and disability, and not all forms of religion appear to cause harm, even when they contain contagious ideas that are false. …

valerietarico bacteria-religion-part-4