Top Biblical archaeology finds of 2013

Archaeologists keep digging up interesting discoveries.  Christianity Today lists the top 10 finds in Biblical archaeology of the past year. [Read more…]

Satanism is having a Reformation

The group that is trying to erect a statue of Baphomet next to the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma state capitol represents a new strain of Satanism.  It isn’t just about black masses, occultism, and deliberate acts of evil.  The new Satanism is allying itself with atheism in an attempt to destroy traditional religions.  And yet just as the atheists are having a schism, so are the Satanists, with orthodox devil worshipers complaining that the new groups are not real Satanists.  So reports Joseph Laycock at Religion Dispatches, excerpted after the jump.

Think of it as an atheist Reformation, with a greater emphasis on spreading the bad news, replacing ritualism with a personal faithlessness, and de-emphasizing damnation by works.

[Read more…]

When your mother is your sister

A 58-year old woman in Utah is serving as a surrogate mother for her daughter.  The woman had already gone through menopause but she took a treatment of hormone shots to get herself back into the child-bearing mode.  So far, the pregnancy is going well, and the baby will be born in February.

The baby, a girl, will thus have two mothers.  One will be her grandmother and the other will be her sister.

What do you think of this?  Wanting a baby is a commendable desire and the Bible is sympathetic to women plagued by being “barren.”  If a woman wants to have a baby but can’t, due to fertility problems, do you acknowledge any limits as to what doctors or society or she herself should do to make that happen? [Read more…]

Dog whistles vs. smiley faces

In the context of a discussion about  “income inequality” (we’ll discuss that later), Kathleen Parker talks about political rhetoric and the different styles of each party.  Republicans, she says, use “dog whistles,” using loaded terms (big government!  tax-and-spend!  anti-family!) to summon the true believers.  Democrats use “smiley faces” to cover up unpleasant truths with positive emotions (“reproductive freedom” for late-term abortions).

Those are my examples.  What are some others on both sides? [Read more…]

The real Osage County

I grew up in northern Oklahoma, so I’ve been noting with bemusement how Osage County all of a sudden has a presence in popular culture.  First there was Ree Drummond, a.k.a. the Pioneer Woman, whose show on the Food Network has introduced foodies to the cuisine I grew up with and whose blog about her life on the vast Drummond Ranch has introduced a wide audience to Oklahoma culture.  Then native Oklahoman Tracy Letts won a Pulitzer Prize for his play August:  Osage County, which was then turned into a movie featuring a whole army of A-list actors, such as Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, and (of course, since he’s seemingly been in every other movie this year) Benedict Cumberbatch. The film was shot on location, so all of these Hollywood superstars lived for two months in a condo complex in Bartlesville and shot the movie in a house in Boulanger, with scenes in Pawhuska and Barnsdall.  So I had to see this movie. [Read more…]

The Rolling Stone Manifesto

Rolling Stone Magazine published an economics manifesto that “Millennials should be fighting for.”  You can read it after the jump, but I’ll summarize it for you here.

Author Jesse A. Myerson says that “unemployment blows,” so that the government should guarantee work for everybody.  But then he says that “jobs also blow,” so the government could provide a guaranteed income to everyone so that you don’t have to work.  This would give people “‘time to cultivate new needs for pleasures, activities, senses, passions, affects, and socialities.”

Other things that “blow” are landlords, “hoarders” (by which he means owners of private property), and Wall Street, all of which Myerson has a solution for. [Read more…]