Easter Week: What Really Happened?

In comments on earlier posts Bradley Bowen offers some speculations about what really happened at the crucifixion. In his view, Jesus might have survived the crucifixion, and so was discovered alive on Easter morning, prompting stories of a resurrection.As I have argued elsewhere (see my essay in The Empty Tomb), I do not think that we have enough information to establish ANY account about what really happened during "Easter Week."If I had to conjecture, I would imagine a scenario (and a … [Read more...]

Is Critique Secular?

I've just read Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury and Free Speech by Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood. Asad and Mahmood make some interesting observations, but the contributions by Brown and Butler consist largely of postmodern, Foucault-genuflecting pseudoradical posturing.A couple of interesting points that stick with me after what was largely a waste of time:Asad makes a good point that the standard liberal distinction between coercion and reasoned choice is not … [Read more...]

Awake!

In the mail last week, I found a copy of November 2010's Awake! magazine sent to me by a Jehovah's Witness. It has a cover story on "Is Atheism on the March?" and the person who sent it to me politely indicated that it may be to my benefit.I have no idea how I became known as an atheist deserving to be on whatever list whomever has for sending proselytizing literature. The proselytizing doesn't bother me, and neither do the Jehovah's Witnesses. As far as I can see, whatever harm they do is … [Read more...]

Victor on Weird Stuff

Victor Reppert has been kind enough to reply on his Dangerous Idea blog to my comments on his earlier posting. I'm replying to his reply, which will evoke a counter-reply, which will get a counter-counter-reply...until one or the other of us has some real work to do and has to break it off. Sigh. That is the damn problem with these discussions. They could go on for lifetimes, but we academics have to work them in between grading papers, committee meetings, publishers' deadlines, etc. … [Read more...]

Skeptics and Miracles

On his "Dangerous Idea" blog Victor Reppert offers the following story and queries:"Spelling Bees, Violin Teachers, and ESP"When I was in the seventh grade, I won the District Spelling Bee. The defending champion, somewhat to my surprise, went out when there were six people left, stomped off the stage, and went crying to his mother. After winning the Bee (and qualifying for the state finals), I was asked to provide a picture for the newspaper. As it happened, my violin teacher had a Polaroid … [Read more...]

Creationist theme park

Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham's creationist outfit, appears to be following up their successful (and scientifically hilarious) creation museum with a full-scale theme park:The theme park, to be called Ark Encounter, . . . is envisioned as a full-scale wooden ark that would include associated museums, theaters, amenities, event venues and outdoor parking.That alone would be enough to show that Kentucky is immune to embarrassment. But to really emphasize the point, governor Steve Beshear … [Read more...]

Desecrating the Quran

In light of recurrent news items concerning desecrations of the Quran, I thought I should contribute.After all, I don't treat the Quran as a special book. In both my offices—at home and on campus—it's not unusual to see books strewn and stacked on the floor. And it occurs to me that I have, in the past, created sights that would shock some of my more devout Muslim friends. I have had, I will confess, a copy or two of the Quran lying on the floor, tossed aside. Worse, I have had other books on top … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the nicer USAnian holidays: it's very light on the religion and nationalism, and the consumerist frenzy is postponed to the day after.Still, on the Christian radio channels I occasionally listen to, I've noticed an effort to Christianize Thanksgiving—to inject some Jesus into it. Sigh.I don't mind if they want to do it for themselves. There's a certain logic of monotheism that drives it to put religion at the center of everything. It's just unfortunate that conservative C … [Read more...]


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