There is no spoon. There are no facts. There is no truth. Here’s what it looks like when you trade reality for power.


The Liar Tony Perkins provides yet another illustration of what David Roberts calls “postmodern conservatism,” the ideology that denies “the very notion of a nonpartisan arbiter of information” and therefore says that “every dispute, even over matters of fact, becomes a contest of power — loudest, best-funded, most persistent voices win.” [Read more...]

We don’t need no


Take some links and hit the road, including: a friendly atheist contribution to a Leadership Network conference; apocalyptic religion and the Temple mount is always in the news; Dante and Veronica and Joseph Smith; and some belated Armistice Day links. [Read more...]

NRA: Can’t wait for the funeral


This discussion of Verna seems intended to be a pep-talk for readers regarding the duty of evangelism. The present-day Christian readers of these books are meant to identify with the members of the Tribulation Force, whose behavior here is meant to serve as a model for how they can witness to or share the gospel with their own unsaved co-workers and acquaintances. But this pep-talk fails to recognize the difference between the starkly supernatural context of this story and the context of readers’ lives here in the real world, where such supernatural evidence is a bit harder to come by. [Read more...]

‘God hates shrimp’: Picking and choosing among abominations


The key thing to notice when asking this question of white evangelicals in America is that they don’t usually try to answer it. They don’t respond with a hermeneutical argument for how to approach the Bible, but rather with a defense of their affirmation of particular commandments. Such non-answers don’t provide an explanation of the principles by which we can determine whether or not a biblical teaching ought to be regarded as binding. They offer, instead, after-the-fact, ad hoc rationalizations — attempts to defend our current practice by creating some retroactive explanation for them. I want to look here at three popular variations on this non-answer. [Read more...]

They’re mixing with the heads of state


A Monday melting pot, including: It seems private charity also promotes “dependency;” an epic correction; De Beers’ scam wears thin; Christian nationalism vs. marriage equality; the Bible insults the prophet Jonah; and new life for an old acrostic. [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (11.9)

Walter Brueggeman on the need for “more honest and abrasive speech;” Judge Martha Craig Daughtry dissents; Dianna E. Anderson on “MRAs for Jesus;” Jamelle Bouie on Mississippi goddam; and Paul Rosenberg on “racial codespeak in the Obama era.” [Read more...]

‘My bad’: Learning from the wisdom of the playground


“My bad.” Admire the efficiency of that. It’s only five letters and two syllables, yet it communicates everything that needs to be said. It acknowledges the infraction and accepts ownership of and responsibility for that infraction. It accounts for the subsidiary matter of intent without allowing that to distract from the more pressing and tangible matter of the foul itself. [Read more...]

‘God hates shrimp’: A case study

Screen shot 2014-11-08 at 5.20.22 PM

The function of that argument is purely internal. It’s not an attempt to persuade others. It’s not addressed to others. It’s a therapeutic, self-help affirmation addressed to themselves — a way of reassuring themselves that they’re not being as cruel and unfair as it sounds. This mantra of self-assurance always includes a denial of personal responsibility: “It’s not me. It’s the Bible. The Bible is making me say these cruel things.” [Read more...]

Sunday favorites

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?” [Read more...]

So, what do we think about ‘Gotham’?


I thought “Gotham” was going to be the story of the lone hero bravely battling against the forces of corruption in the city. Instead, it’s the story of how this lone hero comes to see that the forces of corruption have already figured out how to account for him. He’s realizing that his incorruptibility might serve their ends just as well as if he were a willing accomplice in their corruption. Knowing that, what should he do then? [Read more...]