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Atheist bus ads’ ‘Probably’ is allegedly required

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It probably doesn’t please most atheists to have their disbelief qualified as it is in the text of the bus ads. And philosopher A.C. Grayling makes it unequivocally clear that he is among the unhappy.

He wrote:

I would question the rationality of anyone who thought that there is probably no Father Christmas, or probably no fairies at the bottom of the garden, etcetera, and since such beliefs and beliefs in the gods of Olympus and Ararat and all other religions are on a par, there is no “probably” about it.

Atheist Bus Campaign innovator Ariane Sherine told him, however, that bus companies would not accept their ad sans "probably."

Well oh my, er … probably goodness, it’s true. As Grayling learned and reported:

According to Tim Bleakley, marketing director of CBS Outdoor, which handles advertising for the bus networks, “advertising guidelines” require the word “probably”; to say that there is no God, he said, “would be misleading … So as not to fall foul of the code, you have to acknowledge that there is a grey area”.

Parity, Grayling demands. Parity requires something like inserting the word “allegedly” into every ad assertion which suggests “the existence of supernatural agencies.”

Results might include “Jesus allegedly saves” and “God is allegedly king.” Or would it be “The alleged Jesus probably saves” and “The alleged God is probably king”?

Uh huh. Ungood..

I probably can’t stand that for any religion or other belief. Much less my own. Can you? Really? No. The outdoor advertising regulators were and are just probably wrong to make that alleged requirement.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Atheist bus ads’ ‘Probably’ is allegedly required

Rick Warren: Theocrat (dangerous?)

Martin E. Marty of the University of Chicago Divinity School explains in his current Sightings column that Rick Warren appears to be a theocrat, unlike President-elect Barack Obama.

Marty observes that in his May 28, 2006, “Call to Renewal” Obama said “Democracy requires” of “the religiously motivated” that “their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason.” Obama further said that basing government policy-making on uncompromising adherence to “God’s edicts” is “a dangerous thing.”

While Warren has said:

. . . But for those of us who accept the Bible as God’s Word and know that God has a unique, sovereign purpose for every life, I believe there are five issues that are non-negotiable. To me, they’re not even debatable because God’s Word is clear on these issues.

Marty explains that the “five issues” have to do with abortion, stem-cell harvesting, homosexual “marriage,” human cloning, and euthanasia,” and responds:

He chose these five, about which the printed Bible displays only a few inches of text that can even be used as inferences to support them, as “non-negotiable” themes. He shelves as negotiable the multiple yards of printed biblical texts on some social issues which to him seem negotiable. With the President-Elect I affirm that Pastor Warren’s “uncompromising commitments may be sublime,” but I do see that “to base our policy-making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.”

Marty concludes:

What Pastor Warren and millions in his camp advocate works only in a theocracy, where the whole population accepts or is forced to accept one faith’s “God’s Word.”

The rest is here.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Comments Off on Rick Warren: Theocrat (dangerous?)

This morning

  • Christa Brown explains what the recently replicated Milgram experiment tells us about how clerical sex abusers abuse their authority and the trust of their victims.
  • Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe writes that “The Christian Science Church faces declining membership and a series of unsuccessful ventures … .
  • Dan Gilgoff at God & Country defends Rick Warren from unflattering comparisons with Billy Graham.
  • Mark Silk notes Spiritual Politics of Billy Graham’s struggles with the “formidable” Christian right of the 1950s.
  • Kyle reports on yesterdays call to arms against the administration of President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic majorities in Congress by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Gary Bauer, president of American Values.
  • Jonathan D. Sarna at On Faith says the only solution to the Hamas/Israel conflict is to temper inflexible religion with flexible politics.
  • Holy Weblog is creeped out by the numbers of flag-waving angels on the heads of pins.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , | Comments Off on This morning

IMB trustees refused money-saving reform

Enid, Okla., Southern Baptist Pastor Wade Burleson argues that the International Mission Board (IMB) system of trustee oversight is unnecessarily expensive in structure and process.

Frink summarizes:

The 89 IMB Trustees who are ultimately responsible for the statistics serve, Burleson reports, eight-year terms rich in expense-paid travel whose “costs are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.”

Burleson, a vocal former IMB trustee who has blogged about the Southern Baptist Convention agency for years, recently wrote that during his tenure:

The waste associated with such an archaic system of oversight caused me and a handful of other trustees to advocate the reduction of trustees meetings to two a year; the first would be in January and held in Richmond and the second would be in June in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention. I further argued that the “commissioning” service for each missionary should be held at missionary’s “home” church, and that the “selection” of qualified Southern Baptist applicants should be up to the professional missiologists at the IMB who are paid to interview, train, and support missionaries across the Convention.

The money-saving proposals got nowhere:

Trustees opposed to such a radical reduction in trustee meetings and numbers argued against it by spiritualizing, as is the Southern Baptist habit, by saying: “We have such a HUGE ministry at the IMB that we have to constantly meet to provide proper oversight.”

This from a board whose “key mission numbers are inflated and some are fabricated” as a result of the pressure of a long-standing SBC drive to reverse decline.

With their budget tight and tightening, making such logical changes toward greater efficiency of board operation seems like the least they could do.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , | Comments Off on IMB trustees refused money-saving reform