This week at Unequally Yoked, I’ve been discussing the three questions/concerns that best summarize why I do not believe in Christianity. I started with questions about conversions and ended up, unsurprisingly, on the subject of math. (Again).
I really appreciate your comments, and I’ll be writing a talkback post today, so if you have questions/disagreements, please speak out. I’ll announce the topic for next week’s series this weekend. (Right now, I’m leaning towards a discussion of how I think about/classify the morality of actions with a possible focus on why the idea of Original Sin makes sense to me. Would this be of interest?)
Speaking of sin, Kwame Anthony Appiah has written a much discussed op-ed about which current practises will be regarded as abhorrent by our grandchildren. His criteria:
First, people have already heard the arguments against the practice. The case against slavery didn’t emerge in a blinding moment of moral clarity, for instance; it had been around for centuries.
Second, defenders of the custom tend not to offer moral counterarguments but instead invoke tradition, human nature or necessity. (As in, “We’ve always had slaves, and how could we grow cotton without them?”)
And third, supporters engage in what one might call strategic ignorance, avoiding truths that might force them to face the evils in which they’re complicit. Those who ate the sugar or wore the cotton that the slaves grew simply didn’t think about what made those goods possible. That’s why abolitionists sought to direct attention toward the conditions of the Middle Passage, through detailed illustrations of slave ships and horrifying stories of the suffering below decks.
Ross Douthat thinks that this shift only occurs once increased wealth/new technology makes the moral choice easier to choose.
Any nominees for what’s likely to change? I’m with Douthat that industrialized slaughterhouses will be taboo once we work all the kinks out of vat-grown meat.
And what better way to solve our moral problems than by indoctrinating our children through board games. Like this one:
Blacks and Whites was a board game intended…
…to demonstrate how the odds were stacked against black people in society by having different rules for each race in the game.
Whites started out with $1 million, blacks with $10,000 and each race had different opportunity decks. While whites could buy property in any part of the board, blacks were limited to certain areas until they had accumulated at least $100,000 and were outright banned from property in the ‘suburban zone’.
Blacks and Whites was inspired by Monopoly which itself was the de-radicalized version of The Landlord’s Game, which was meant to illustrate how rental systems could impoverish tenants.
(h/t Mind Hacks)
Of course, today, there are other ways to neutralize people you disagree with, as this gonzo comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal makes clear.
I have an op-ed in The Yale Daily News today about my discomfiting brush with sexual harassment this summer. Here’s a quote from the article:
I knew what I was supposed to do, of course. I should have gotten his medallion number and phoned in a complaint to his dispatcher. I ought to have told him, firmly, using ‘I’ statements: “I feel uncomfortable when you talk to me this way. I would prefer that you stop.” But, instead, I just pressed my head against the window, watching the empty streets flash by and wondered if I should get out a block early, so the cab driver wouldn’t know where I lived.
The whole situation felt horribly unfair. Yes, I was getting a cab after 11 p.m., but I was sober; I was wearing pants, not a short skirt and my hair was in a ponytail, for heaven’s sake. Hadn’t he seen that I had a math book by Martin Gardner under my arm? I glanced down at my top, trying to work out if a polo shirt rather than a T-shirt qualified as showing too much cleavage.
Milwaukee is now the home of my favorite airport in the world, now that I know they are the source of this sign:
(h/t “Things You Wouldn’t Know if We Didn’t Blog Intermittently“)
[Seven Quick Things is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]