Smart people saying smart things (8.14)

Richard Rohr explains his hermeneutic, which is about Jesus, not literalism; Kiese Laymon on “The Worst of White Folks;” Helaine Olen on the victim-blaming “tyranny of personal finance;” Erik Loomis on outsourcing slave-wages and poison; and Cheryl Overs on how dehumanizing sex workers dehumanizes us all. [Read more...]

The bad faith of climate-deniers cannot be denied

Either this Alaskan permafrost is melting due to climate change, or else it is deliberately choosing to melt as part of the design -- the grand "game plan" of a "global warming fraud" intended to produce the big government secretly desired by the malicious Arctic soil.

If ice and dirt are not capable of willfully acting in bad faith, then the House Republican’s claim that “global warming is a total fraud and it is being designed” cannot be true. Unless inanimate objects are capable of fraud and deliberate dishonesty, the bad faith in this dispute cannot lie on the side of those claiming the reality of climate change. If dirt is not purposeful and evil, then the bad faith must lie on the other side. [Read more...]

Mayo Clinic study: Rhino-horn extract killed Michael Jackson

It's really a shame how damaging taking rhinoceros horn as "medicine" turns out to be.

Rhino-horn extract causes liver damage. Rhino-horn extract causes impotence. And baldness. Gout, flatulence, fatigue and lower-back pain. And cancer. The shady dealers trading in rhinoceros horns all secretly work for big multinational pharmaceutical companies. They deny this because they don’t want to be legally liable for the damage that ingesting rhino-horn is doing to the gullible rich people buying it. The bankers are all in on it. And Wall Street. And, um, the CIA. [Read more...]

Senators clarify the terms of the disagreement

With Hollywood's wizardry and George Soros' money behind it, the special effects making the climate-change hoax look real have been especially convincing. (Getty Images photo of a drought-stricken field in Illinois by Scott Olson.)

We can all get along. We can all agree that one side of this issue involves a realistic assessment of the evidence and the other side involves a delusional fantasy based on some perverse need to assert the absolute worst about others. Maybe we can’t agree on which side is which, but at least we can agree that this is the shape of the disagreement. [Read more...]

YouTube and the God of Job


Toward the end of the book of Job, the character of God starts off listing all the incredible things he’s created as a way of bolstering his authority and trustworthiness. But then it starts to get away from him a bit. God starts grinning goofily at the thought of all these amazing creatures and the argument morphs into more of a reverie about just how freakin’ cool all this stuff he created has turned out to be. It’s like part-way through this theological discourse, the character of God wanders off and just starts surfing the Web, laughing with delight at animal videos on YouTube. [Read more...]

In the story of Noah, climate change is humans’ fault

Entrance to the Museum of the Good Samaritan (photo by Josh Envin).

It should be impossible to read the story of Noah’s ark without very clearly understanding that this story is saying that: 1) humans are uniquely capable of destroying all of creation; and 2) humans are uniquely responsible to care for all of creation. But you can avoid that lesson if you decide to treat it as some other kind of story. [Read more...]

Those elusive green shoots of green evangelicals

This year the Evangelical Environmental Network celebrates 20 years of being ignored or marginalized as "controversial." Um, yay, I guess.

Fifteen years ago I believed that white evangelicals’ antipathy to environmentalism was due to a lack of familiarity with the facts and the evidence, or to an innocent failure to grasp the essential idea of stewardship in Christian theology. Ten years ago I thought maybe it was due to our failure to present those facts and that theology in a winsome, persuasive manner. Now I just think, feh. [Read more...]

Another ‘Noah’s Ark,’ but this one might be OK

Screen shot 2013-03-07 at 1.30.58 PM

The story of Noah is particularly tempting for a certain kind of illiteralist reader. The book of Genesis doesn’t just tell us that Noah built an ark, it gives us specs for the project. For the sort of person who reads the Bible with an utter lack of concern for meaning, that passage presents an irresistible temptation. [Read more...]