Doctor Who: Heaven Sent

This episode begins with a monologue about the sense of life being lived in constant threat of danger and death. The Doctor thinks about Clara’s death, and is angry in a way that we have rarely seen. The Doctor has been brought to a castle, but with TV screens on the walls. The Doctor realizes [Read More...]

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Do All Creatures Go To Heaven?

Too often people accept concepts and ideas without ever taking the time to think through the implications. From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. HT Jerry Coyne. [Read more...]

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Chappie

I recently watched the movie Chappie. It poignantly conveys a point that I also sought to get across in my chapter on “Robots, Rights, and Religion” in Religion and Science Fiction: that what is most scary about artificial intelligences is that they will resemble us in all our shortcomings. But it also makes other crucial [Read More...]

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The Hand on the Mirror

I confess that when I was included in the book club discussing Janis Durham’s book The Hand on the Mirror: A True Story of Life Beyond Death, I was not entirely enthusiastic. I had blogged about books about near-death experiences by Eben Alexander and Mary Neal, and they left me skeptical. I was delighted to [Read More...]

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LOST Rewatch: The End

Rewatching LOST from the beginning has been an interesting experience. We have to go back – to the island, to stories that we knew. They are never the same on a second experience. Reaching the end, part of me wants to find a way to watch the stories in chronological order – to start with [Read More...]

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Wow Factor

Today's Non Sequitur. One of life's mysteries is where the missing socks go. But apparently not everyone is so focused on that particular question. If you could have the answer to one great mystery as your final reward, what would you choose?   [Read more...]

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LOST Rewatch: What Kate Does

The episode begins with the fact that Sayid died and now is alive. Sawyer sarcastically comments on the fact that Sayid gets another chance, being an Iraqi torturer who shoots children. Left unspoken is the fact that Juliette did not live. The Japanese-speaking man Dogen tortures Sayid as a test, “to be sure,” but he [Read More...]

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LOST Rewatch: LAX

The first episode of the final season of LOST begins with reminders of last season, and then from the explosion of the hydrogen bomb, we are shown clouds, and a disoriented Jack, in Oceanic 815, having the conversation with flight attendant Cindi, and then with Rose, that we saw previously. Turbulence starts, and then stops, [Read More...]

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The Concept of Heaven

I am pretty skeptical of ideas of an afterlife. So is one of the characters in this SMBC comic. But perhaps we simply aren’t using our imagination sufficiently. Is there a depiction of the afterlife that you have encountered that seems to you particularly problematic? Is there not one that you can imagine that would be [Read More...]

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I Love Heresy

The title of this post refers to the class called “Heresy,” which I am teaching this semester. We had a wonderful and interesting conversation in a recent class, on the subject of ideas about an afterlife, based on one of the readings for that class period, which was the Apocalypse of Peter. We discussed notions of retribution and [Read More...]

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Prophetic Blizzard

I had students reading some of the Hebrew prophets recently. I pointed out to them that they never threaten people with punishment in an afterlife. Instead it is always judgment within history. Plagues, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, war, and so on. Do you know what else the Israelite prophets never threaten their nations with? Blizzards. Freak snowstorms. That is worth [Read More...]

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