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Showing posts from October, 2007

Fact and myth

A comment on my latest posting reflects misunderstandings so common among Christians that I address it here.

That Jesus lived in Palestine two thousand years ago is accepted as history. That God is a male individual, a father who had a son without the involvement of any female, is myth. It is an imaginative story with inspirational power, not factual history.

Facts are right or wrong; religious myths are symbolic. They must not be confused either with facts or with “myth” in the popular understanding of a worthless, mistaken belief.

A careful reading of God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky should help to clarify these distinctions. Please read the book carefully to understand why it is not an insult to say the Christian story is myth. Understanding our own myth as myth will, I hope, facilitate abandonment of our exclusive claims and promote harmony between religions.

With regard to pagan resemblance to and influence on Christian belief, the factual evidence for this is too abundant to summari…

Why go to Mass?

In the past week I have spoken to several groups and individuals about God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky and am gratified to learn that I articulate what people have vaguely intuited. Their search for spiritual meaning propelled them past the barrier built by religious authority.

But I received a very good question. If I confess disbelief in a Christian god, don’t I feel odd or even guilty participating in the Mass? How do I justify it? How do I reconcile my informed consciousness with the traditional liturgy? After all, scholarship tells me the Mass is descended from liturgies in honor of Hellenistic pagan gods.

Bear with me while I seem to digress. When I learned that the Bible is not factual history, I tried being an atheist. To overstate my reaction, I thought religion was duping the naïve and I wanted none of it. Then the pain of life threw me into a loving religious fold, the warmth of which overpowered my desire to be intellectually cool. My need kept me in that fold.

I observed…

Ahmadinejad and Desmond Tutu

Check out this excellent article: “Ahmadinejad's U.S. visit was a missed opportunity for us” by Joan Chittister at http://ncrcafe.org/node/1357.


I have to correct a detail in my previous blog post. Tutu’s address at Metropolitan State has not yet happened. The speech I quoted was given in Boston in 2002, on which basis St. Thomas banned him. The issue is the same: Tutu’s daring to criticize Israel’s human rights abuses brought him the charge of anti-Semitism.

Inappropriately, according to Jewish Voice for Peace. It reported on October 3 that “St Thomas Justice and Peace Studies program were thrilled when Bishop Tutu agreed to speak at the University" but administrators did a scientific survey of the Jews of Minneapolis, which included querying exactly one spokesperson for Minnesota's Jewish Community Relations Council and several rabbis who taught in a University program" and concluded that Tutu is bad for the Jews and should therefore be barred from campus.”

I add one …

Tutu insulted by St. Thomas

Shame on the University of St. Thomas for canceling Desmond Tutu’s appearance there.

Tutu is a bishop who helped to end apartheid in South Africa. A Nobel laureate, he has won many other prizes for his work in human rights, peace and justice. Why would St. Thomas do this to a man of stellar credentials? Because, like American politicians, it caved in to the Israel lobby. Here is some of what Tutu said at Metropolitan State, where he had to give his address instead of at St. Thomas.

“I have been very deeply distressed in all my visits to the Holy Land, how so much of what was taking place there reminded me so much of what used to happen to us Blacks in Apartheid South Africa.”

“I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at the road blocks and recall what used to happen to us in our motherland, when arrogant, young white police officers would hector, and bully us, and demean us when we ran the gauntlet of their unpredictable whims – whether they would let you through or not. When they…