TV Review: Cosmos, Episode 11

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(I've decided to review the new Cosmos series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson that's airing on Fox. If you missed it, you can stream full episodes online.)Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Episode 11, "The Immortals"As the new Cosmos approaches its final episode, it's about time that the series started looking back on the ground it's covered and drawing some larger lessons. This episode accomplished that, and while it treads into more speculative territory than earlier outings, I think that's … [Read more...]

Is the Internet Killing Religion?

HumanityInSpace

In recent weeks, we've seen a fierce debate ignited by a study which argued that the Internet is responsible for the dramatic growth in American religious disaffiliation over the last two decades. Since 1990, the number of Americans with no religion has skyrocketed by almost 25 million people. The study's author, Allen Downey, believes that the increasing uptake of the Internet is the best-correlated causal factor.While I'm not committing myself to Downey's conclusion, I find it very … [Read more...]

Help Coin a New Word

I've been thinking for a few days that there's a gap in the language that needs to be filled, and as always, I turn to the hive mind of the internet to help out.In fact, it's the internet that's created the need for this word. It's made possible a new kind of career: a person who has a purely web-based job, like freelance writing, programming or web design, who has no fixed address and who constantly travels because they can do their job from anywhere, and because they can. I know several … [Read more...]

How to Eradicate Militant Islam

It's said that nothing is harder to kill than an idea. Trying to stamp out a deeply felt belief by force, especially a religious belief, not only makes its followers cling to it more tenaciously, it gives them an aura of martyrdom that makes the belief look even more attractive to outsiders. And when the belief in question is a religious belief whose scriptures claim that persecution of the faithful is a sign of their righteousness, these tendencies become all the stronger.This is more than … [Read more...]

Jealous Gods

For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous god.—Exodus 34:14Many verses in the Bible, such as the one above, state unequivocally that Yahweh is a jealous and vengeful lawgiver. They warn of how he loathes idols, and graphically describe the dreadful punishments he will inflict on any of his chosen people who go astray and worship false gods. In fact, the prohibition on worshipping false gods is the very first of the Ten Commandments - more … [Read more...]

The Bubble

The Evangelical Outpost, a major Christian blog, last week published a positive review of Nancy Pearcey's book Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity. In it, Pearcey argues that true Christians must purge their thinking of evolution and all other secular ideas and philosophies:Most Christians are more secular then they realize, and this must change if the Church is to have any sort of significant cultural impact... Christians must counter the affects [sic] of … [Read more...]

The Reason for the Season

As the solstice holiday draws near, the annual complaints by the religious right about the alleged "War on Christmas" are ramping up in volume, as usual. Every store greeter who says "Season's Greetings" is bitterly denounced; every municipality that erects a "holiday tree" is reviled with a level of shrillness that used to be reserved for schismatics and heretics. Some religious right figures such as Jerry Falwell are actually encouraging their followers to boycott stores that do not … [Read more...]

Infectious Memes

Hi! I am a .signature virus. Copy me into your .signature to join in!—seen on UsenetAnd these words which I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign upon your arm, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and … [Read more...]


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