Archives for October 2006

Spirituality in Higher Education

I stumbled on the web site for a project engaged in studying Spirituality in Higher Education, based at UCLA. It gives an interesting look at the state of religion on US college campuses, both with regard to students and faculty.Now, I don't know how much to trust their findings. Many of the publications and reports I've looked at on their web site are permeated by a combination of saccharine spirituality-speak and the equally stupid language that academics lodged in schools of "education" … [Read more...]

How Europe could get religion again

Take a look at Polly Toynbee's column in The Guardian (major British newpaper) last week. She has many interesting things to say about the official religiosity emanating from Britain lately.It also gets me thinking about how irreversible European secularization really is. I've generally been impressed with the work of sociologists such as Steve Bruce, who argue that since the institutional structures that help reproduce organized religion in Europe have been severely disrupted, the population … [Read more...]

Religions don’t deserve special treatment

A.C. Grayling writes under this title at Guardian Unlimited:It is time to reverse the prevailing notion that religious commitment is intrinsically deserving of respect, and that it should be handled with kid gloves and protected by custom and in some cases law against criticism and ridicule. It is time to refuse to tip-toe around people who claim respect, consideration, special treatment, or any other kind of immunity, on the grounds that they have a religious faith, as if having faith were a … [Read more...]

Taliban Take Two

Jerry Sutton, pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church said at a political rally in Nashville yesterday:"'We have every intention of out-praying, out-thinking, out-working, out-serving and out-loving our opponents,' Sutton said. 'And we will by the grace of God make this a Christian nation.'" [link]Dominionism is alive and well... … [Read more...]

How not to understand Islam

I've been getting questions about what's wrong with trying to figure out Islam by sitting down with the Quran. I'll go ahead and start a new heading—this deserves a significant rant, not burying in a comment on an entirely different topic.Indeed, this is especially worth talking about, since trying to understand Islam by reading the Quran seems to be a favored practice among many nonbelievers. Sam Harris does it: read the Quran, point out that it contains a large number of disgusting (not to m … [Read more...]

Infidel Bestsellers

After reviewing The God Delusion yesterday, I checked how it was doing on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. Number 8—not bad. Also intriguing: Sam Harris's latest is number 6. Better than Thomas Friedman's silly The World is Flat (9), but worse than Bill O'Riley (2—sigh).One reaction I have, naturally, is envy. I just received the sales report on the first six months of my latest book, Science and Nonbelief, and it seems it's already sold 250 copies. Whee. (OK, so it's obnoxiously pr … [Read more...]

The God Delusion

I got hold of and immediately read through The God Delusion last week. As always, Richard Dawkins is a delightful writer. I recommend the book to everyone. It's a more popular-oriented book rather than something that presents detailed examinations of various versions of "God," but that makes it all the more valuable. And it does not lack in substance—Dawkins sketches some interesting arguments that I found thought-provoking, even if I ended up disagreeing with a few.I wasn't sure what to expect f … [Read more...]

Bush just using Christians, says former faith office leader

Cross-posted from my blog.MSNBC has the story, about David Kuo's new book, Tempting Faith:More than five years after President Bush created the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, the former second-in-command of that office is going public with an insider’s tell-all account that portrays an office used almost exclusively to win political points with both evangelical Christians and traditionally Democratic minorities.The office’s primary mission, providing financial support to charities that serve … [Read more...]