September 16, 2019

Bruce Gerencser shared something that a proponent of young-earth creationism recently said. Bodie Hodge of Answers in Genesis claims: Where Did a Young-earth Worldview Come From? Simply put, it came from the Bible. Of course, the Bible doesn’t say explicitly anywhere, “The earth is 6,000 years old.” Good thing it doesn’t; otherwise it would be out of date the following year. But we wouldn’t expect an all-knowing God to make that kind of a mistake. God gave us something better…. Read more

September 15, 2019

Those who know me personally or through my blog know that I love language learning, as well as having a passion for gamification. You also know that I’m teaching a course that includes a unit on China this semester, and that I’ve been increasingly enjoying audiobooks. And so you won’t be surprised to learn that, putting all of the above together, I looked to see what language-learning resources my public library has for those who want to learn Mandarin. One… Read more

September 14, 2019

To the extent that the point of this cartoon by David Hayward is that spiritual growth hurts, I agree – it can hurt. Surely that is the reason why many prefer to remain immature, not merely childlike (which can be positive) but childish. Spiritual growth, like any growth, is a painful process. However, I suspect I am not the only one who also has qualms about the depiction of God kicking someone off a cliff. That, I think, is part… Read more

September 13, 2019

I’ve been thinking more about the dogs or puppies in the story about the Syrophoenician woman. One aspect that is rarely discussed is the likelihood that the conversation – even if the woman was a “Greek” – that a Galilean and a Syrian or Phoenician would have had their conversation in Aramaic. The Syriac New Testament simply uses the word “dog” in its version of the story, even though Aramaic had a diminutive form of the word. Interestingly, the New… Read more

September 12, 2019

Here’s an interesting call for papers from an organization in Spain, the International Congress of Fantastic Genre, Audiovisuals and New Technologies, which is an academic wing of the Elche International Fantastic Film Festival – FANTAELX, in collaboration with the Miguel Hernández University. Some of the English is a bit garbled, but I’m sure that calls for papers for conferences in the English-speaking world regularly make it into other languages in comparable form. See their website (and Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube… Read more

September 11, 2019

Bob Cargill shared this meme that illustrates the problem with the so-called paradox of tolerance nicely: As you may recall, Ankur Gupta and I use precisely this illustration in our article about the need to prioritize various ethical commitments that we have. Here’s the relevant part of our article: [W]hen the United Federation of Planets claims to embrace the Vulcan ideology of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, and yet fights against the Borg, it is not showing that inclusivity is… Read more

September 10, 2019

Call for proposals for Strange Novel Worlds? Star Trek Novels and Fiction Collections in Popular Culture Since James Blish published his novelizations of Star Trek episodes (Bantam, 1967sq), over 840 tie-in novels, anthologies, novelizations, and omnibus editions have made their way to fans eager to follow the continuing adventures of their favourite Starfleet officers and aliens. Though none are to be considered canon, Star Trek tie-in books have supplemented the franchise, providing more stories starring favourite and original characters, furthering plotlines… Read more

September 9, 2019

I will be involved in this year’s Spirit and Place festival, which always has lots of interesting and meaningful things happening around Indianapolis, and yet which I’ve not tended to be directly involved with in the past for some reason. What am I doing exactly? Talking about composer John Rutter’s Requiem. Here is the blurb from the website: Explore how art and music can help heal the soul through a performance of John Rutter’s Requiem, a visual art show, and a discussion… Read more

September 8, 2019

From an interview in USA Today with Guillermo del Toro: His religious grandmother instilled a passion for both the supernatural and separating right from wrong. “It was a lot of Catholic scare about sin and hell. ‘You’re going to be in purgatory if you’re not careful, and blah, blah, blah … Maybe even if you are careful!’ ” he says with a laugh. … “I’m eager to explore themes that lend themselves easily to metaphor,” he says. “The fantastic is the only tool we… Read more

September 7, 2019

I wonder how many scholars, including everyone from feminists to old-fashioned male chauvinist defenders of patriarchy, aren’t even aware of the scarcely-acknowledged contributions women in general and wives in particular have made to some of the best-known works in their fields. A recent blog post by Carol Christ offers one example. She writes: I found Rebekah Miles’ article “Was Ursula Niebuhr Reinhold’s Coauthor?” Miles suggests that after Reinhold’s stroke in 1952, it is probable that Ursula played a large role… Read more

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