Whenever the media highlights an event which is even remotely Christian, the pundit-believers scramble to use it as part of their theological, propaganda machine. Never mind about the details. A blogger, and self-proclaimed “philosopher and scholar of modern western religious thought, a writer and columnist,” named Dr Timothy Dalrymple sees majesty and affirmation of the Christian faith in the silliness of the British Royal Wedding of William and Kate.
You’ve got to hand it to the Brits: they know how to do pomp and circumstance. The entry of Catherine Middleton into Westminster Cathedral is something to behold… I confess: I’m a sucker for weddings.
…The Christian theology of marriage — in which two truly become one — implies that those of us who are called to marriage will only become ourselves fully and truly when we have found the one for whom we were intended.
Yes, you are a sucker for a wedding. First, a minor detail that’s not so minor if you call yourself a “scholar of modern Western religious thought.” Westminster Cathedral is the Catholic Church down the street from Westminster Abbey, the Protestant Church, where the Royal Wedding actually took place. Why would the Queen Of England, who’s the Head of the Church of England, hold the wedding in a Catholic church? Second, the Church of England is a perfunctory Christian organization filled with many closeted and open atheists. The writer Philip Pullman summed it up in a New Yorker interview — “Although I call myself an atheist, I am a Church of England atheist.”
It’s funny to look for everlasting faith in a declining organization that’s only held up by pageantry and a nod to tradition from the pensioners.
A survey asking about people’s knowledge of religion has some not-so-surprising results. Protestants and Catholics are less knowledgeable about their own religion’s doctrines than atheists, Jews, and Mormons.
Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn’t know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ. [Yahoo News]
In addition, Americans don’t grasp the secular laws that protect both government and religion, the separation of church and state.
The study also found that many Americans don’t understand constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools. While a majority know that public school teachers cannot lead classes in prayer, less than a quarter know that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.
“Many Americans think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are tighter than they really are,” Pew researchers wrote. [Yahoo News]
Questions concerning Charles Darwin and evolution were included in the survey.
Respondents were also asked, “And which of these court trials focused on whether evolution could be taught in public schools?” and offered the choice of the Scopes trial, the Salem witch trials, and Brown vs. Board of Education. Only 31% of respondents selected the correct answer of the Scopes trial, 36% selected Brown vs. Board of Education, 3% selected the Salem witch trials, and 30% said that they didn’t know. [Nation center For Science Education]
Nothing particularly surprising in the results. The Pew Research Center’s report is here (PDF).
No matter how well a person states something, no matter how eloquent, mild mannered, and straightforward they are, religious drones will find some way of belittling and warping the initial message. Promoting a reverence for Christianity only protects Christians; promoting freedom of speech protects everyone. But some Christians miss this point entirely and criticize writers like Philip Pullman for writing an “offensive” book they don’t have to buy or read. And then some of them sometimes ask why Western atheists don’t speak blasphemously of Allah, too. What’s most disturbing is the envy that question betrays.
When in Rome do as the Romans do. PZ Myers is in Australia eating the food paste called Vegemite, which I believe is the by-product of the brewing industry –the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. What’s interesting –and apropos– is that he’s using a Eucharist wafer as a vehicle for the smear. Why not just spread liquid gold on a wedge of cardboard and be done with it?
I invariably regret it when I check out the insipid stories linked through AOL News. (Old e-mail accounts are a burden.) Not only is the quality of the reporting from these junior outlets surpassed by that of any high school newspaper, the comments left, which I can’t help from browsing — are inherently vacuous. This time the story I fell upon is about an unfortunate 4-year-old boy, named Luke, who was struck by a foul ball at a baseball game. He suffered a skull fracture and is currently in a medically-induced coma. The reporter and several of those who left comments couldn’t help but stick religion in the reader’s face. The reporter said:
Luke was hit Sept. 2 at a minor league game in Niles, Ohio. We may never know why it happened, but what’s happened since should restore your faith in people. It might even restore your faith in faith.
Maybe this nutwing will never know why it happened, but I already know. And I think I may speak for all reasonable people when I say they know, too. It was a mere accident. Even the distraught mother said so in the video. And why would a well trained and responsive medical team restore my faith in faith? A commenter took the god slant further:
May God’s healing hand touch this precious young boy. I pray God is with his parents, giving them strength and faith in this critical time of his recovery. Also, prayers for the ballplayer, may he find comfort and peace.
In tragic cases such as this, religious minions are quick to grab credit for their non-existent deity. If the boy survives god will receive their praise, even though god didn’t prevent the accident. But if the boy dies, I’m sure the same minions will lay blame elsewhere, on the non-existent devil, perhaps. It’s not like the god of the Old Testament ever killed a child –well, except in some of those fire-and-brimstone stories, which are simultaneously and conveniently open to wide and narrow interpretation. That worldwide flood must have killed millions of innocent children. On the other hand, modern medicine has saved countless. Who to trust?
When tragedies occur and people insist on praying for deliverance, the one thing I find most insufferable is that humans can’t admit to themselves that they are sometimes helpless. Prayer is the delusion of certainty that humans have control over everything just by asking the Sky Daddy to intervene. And encouraging children to believe in prayer sets them up for disappointment when god doesn’t provide. Pray to your heart’s content, but don’t expect me to join in, and don’t condemn me as a heartless bastard when I don’t. Supporting modern medicine and reason is the best way to help children like Luke.
The entertainment world is on fire with the rumor of another creation movie from Kevin Miller, the maker of Expelled. The story is to be based on the life of evangelist creationist Kent Hovind, a.k.a. Dr. Dino, the tax dodger, the prison bitch.
In September 2009, Resurrection Pictures is partnering in the release of The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry—a heartwarming coming-of-age story about three 12-year-old boys who are shown how to apply Scripture to daily struggles—and is a 2009 Silver Sponsor of the 168 Hour Film Project & Festival. Creation, Resurrection Pictures’ first original film project— a humorous and tearful story of a high school biology teacher’s struggle to expose the lie of evolution, based on the life of creation evangelist Dr. Kent Hovind and written by Kevin Miller the writer of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is scheduled for production in 2010.
My reaction to this news can’t be expressed in mere words, so I offer you this video. Just pretend I’m the talk show host, and Kevin Miller and Kent Hovind are the guests. The fact that it’s in Dutch is irrelevant, for laughter is an international language.