To all those Christians who are planning to rally behind Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson on “Chick-Phil-A” Day and beyond, let’s remind everybody what exactly you’re supporting so that we have a(nother) record of how truly awful you are.
Bouncing off some of the issues about seculars and the need (or lack thereof) for religion and church-like ritual I and others have been posting about over the past couple of days, I tweeted this yesterday:
I thought seculars already had “transcendent” rituals and places. They’re called TED talks and Apple Stores.
— Paul Fidalgo (@PaulFidalgo) December 30, 2013
Ha ha ha, right? If you’ve read more than a handful of my work, you’ve already seen me go on and on about how I half-jokingly consider Apple my “religion” and The Steve (peace be upon him) my prophet. Ha ha ha. Old news.
But when I made that tweet, I had no idea that this piece by Benjamin Bratton in The Guardian would go up hours later (thereby confirming my psychic powers). The subject? How TED talks have become, as Bratton describes them, “middlebrow megachurch infotainment.”
Even if you never saw The Passion of the Christ when it first hit theaters (and I have yet to see it), you probably couldn’t escape hearing about it. The Mel Gibson-directed, hyper-violent, all-Aramaic-and-Latin telling of Jesus’s last days was an enormous hit, with the faithful showing up to see it by the busload. Recently, the ironically-named History Channel had its biggest hit yet with a miniseries based on the Bible. The lesson here is that giving religion the Hollywood touch can mean big, big bucks.
Well, get ready, because there’s about to be a flood (ahem) of biblical blockbusters coming our way. But this time, they won’t be subtitled or relegated to basic cable. As reported by Nick Allen at The Telegraph, the A-listers are about to take on several episodes of God’s book. [Read more…]
Apparently it’s not enough to have invented the World Wide Web, but Tim Berners-Lee also has to infect the airwaves of the United Kingdom with his godless propaganda.
For some time now, nonbelievers have been clamoring for representation on BBC radio’s “Thought for the Day” segment, which is always presented from a religious viewpoint. But in a stint as guest-editor for BBC 4’s Today, which hosts the segment, Berners-Lee was able to at least get an “alternative thought” for Boxing Day an hour earlier in the show, but notably, still wasn’t able to co-opt the “Thought for the Day” segment itself on behalf of atheism. [Read more…]
There is no shortage of exasperation about the hypercommercialism of Christmas. Secular or devout Christian, it’s not news that the Dickensian ideal of enjoying time with one’s family with some drinking and music and feating upon a big goose is gone, replaced with an overwhelming and mind-numbing consumeristic orgy of overspending, overeating, and over-stressing.
Or maybe that’s just me.
But one aspect of the holiday season that gets less attention is just how Hanukkah managed to get lumped in with the whole mess. [Read more…]