Southern Religion

Isolation and death alone in the connected society

There is something worse than being invited to spend Christmas with difficult relatives. Being forgotten:

Two hundred thousand people disappear every year in the UK; of those, 2,000 will remain missing. Some, of course, are murdered; some just wish to disappear, which is easy if you really want it – move home, move job, toss your telephone into the river. The US has 40,000 sets of what are called “unclaimed remains”. Many more are simply forgotten by their friends or family – according to a Help the Aged report of 2007, hundreds of thousands of elderly people in Britain go without visitors from month to month; more than a million said they were often or always lonely

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Cultural | , , | Comments Off on Isolation and death alone in the connected society

Dr. Who: A God for our times?

Stephen Kelly seems to be quite serious, and makes an interesting argument:

You may scoff, but if atheism functions on the idea that the Bible is a work of fiction, then what’s to stop us from taking our values from other works of fiction?

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Cultural | , | Comments Off on Dr. Who: A God for our times?

Celebrating the King James Bible?

The 400th anniversary of the King James Bible will be celebrated next year in Britain. As Giles Fraser warns, the KJB is:

…an attempt by the Church of England to control the religious and cultural agenda. A team of academics was established in 1604 to translate the Bible in such a way that it bolstered the authority of the established church. James I gave the specific instruction that the translation must toe the official line on the importance of bishops. The Greek word ekklesia was to be translated as “church”, rather than “congregation” or “assembly” – the translators thus giving the impression that the Bible proposes a top-down form of ecclesiastical authority. James insisted no notes were to be made in the margins of the text; it was in this dangerous commentary that the previous, more radical Geneva Bible had dared to question the divine right of kings.

December 21, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, History | , | Comments Off on Celebrating the King James Bible?

Thanksgiving music

George Winston’s “Thanksgiving:”

November 25, 2010 Posted by | Cultural | , | Comments Off on Thanksgiving music

Frankenstein, briefly

The first Frankenstein film and inception of the American horror movie, is 12 minutes long. It is a century old.

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Cultural | | 1 Comment

The religion of witches and witch hunters

Halloween debunking a few myths about witches, University of Edinburgh Reader in History Julian Goodare writes:

I’m sometimes told that witches practised a pagan religion that had gone underground with the coming of Christianity. This idea was popularised in the 1920s and had some scholarly credibility until about 1975, but has been recognised as a myth ever since. Most witches were executed in the 16th and 17th centuries (about 50,000 of them – not nine million, by the way). There were still survivals from paganism (a few traditional charms had pre-Christian origins), but witches and witch-hunters alike were Christians.

Many of these myths are attractive because they enable people to sympathise with the victims of witch-hunting. However, we historians wish to extend the same understanding to all the people we study – witch-hunters as well as witches. There’s little evidence that witch-hunters were considered wicked; many were considered pious. And although “wickedness” may be a plausible description of an activity, it cannot explain causation.

October 30, 2010 Posted by | Cultural | , | Comments Off on The religion of witches and witch hunters

A message from *this* creator

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, Law | | 2 Comments

Free expression

The Center for Inquiry had a Campaign for Free Expression contest:

The Center for Inquiry is pleased to announce that Gregory Walsh and John Schmid of Maryland are the Grand Prize winners of its Campaign for Free Expression Video Contest, which asked contestants to submit short videos in the form of a public service announcement that addresses the importance of free expression.

They’re all about secularizing society, which in the context of this publication space, underlines the message.

October 2, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, Politics | | 1 Comment

Young evangelicals lag behind age peers in acceptance of same-sex marriage

Young evangelicals and acceptance of same-sex marriage

Sociologist Darren Sherkat explains his analysis:

While conservative Christian activist scholars have touted the myth that younger sectarians are less homophobic and just like everyone else, actual analyses of data show that the gap between sectarians and other Americans has actually grown across [age] cohorts (even though younger sectarians are less homophobic than older Sectarians).

Mark Silk at Spiritual Politics astutely amplifies:

But it’s still the case that the under-30s are somewhat more liberal on the issue than their evangelical boomer parents–and way more liberal than over-60 evangelicals. So even though they look at this point like over-60 non-evangelicals, the evidence is of a liberalizing generational trend within the evangelical community. What the data show is most segments of American society moving quickly (the younger they are) towards acceptance of SSM, with a few–under the influence of conservative religion–moving more slowly in the same direction.

We’re all in the same parade, but some are dragging their ideological feet.

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, Religion | , | Comments Off on Young evangelicals lag behind age peers in acceptance of same-sex marriage

The opening cannonade of this year’s war on Christmas

We overlooked that barrage, but Susan Campbell heard it:

… I just won $25. I bet a friend (a member of the clergy in a mainline church, no less) that the first salvo in the fake War on Christmas would be launched prior to Halloween this year — the traditional time for retailers to start hanging their garlands.

And I was right. Gary L. Cass, of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commssion, sent out a warning email at 12:07 p.m. Tuesday.

So we skipped the war on Halloween this year? Well, in any event, “Yes, Virginia, there is a” WarAClaus.

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, Satire | , , | Comments Off on The opening cannonade of this year’s war on Christmas