Showing posts from October, 2009

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins was on Kerri Miller’s Midmorning (MN public radio) again but I called too late to get in my comment. He and other atheists say they reject God, but they really reject the Christian god and not what thoughtful religious people think of as God. Misleading Christian language—the monopolistic “Father” and “he/him/his”—gives the impression that God is a humanlike individual. The atheist André Comte-Sponville in The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality rejects belief in “a God,” in a “subject,” “in something,” “in Someone,” and “in his existence.” And I don’t believe in that god either! Each of his phrases indicates an individual something, an object or subject, something alongside other individual things in the universe, and that’s not God. One of the foremost theologians of the twentieth century, Karl Rahner, explains that, the mysterious and the incomprehensible . . . can never be defined by being distinguished from something else. For that would be to objectify it, to un

Virgin martyr & Lost Christianities

One of several books I’m reading is Bart Ehrmann’s Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew . Ehrmann presents variant forms of Christianity, showing that this religion could have developed in other ways and that present doctrine was not carved in stone. Among the book's tantalizing facts is information about the Acts of Thecla, a popular Christian work I’d known about. Ehrmann finds it fascinating and adds it to his list of “forged” Christian documents. He applies the term “forged” to all literary works that are not what they purport to be, a standard that would indict many writings in the Bible. The Acts of Thecla was the equivalent of a novel in a time that did not strictly distinguish fact from fiction. Thecla was “a household name” in Christian antiquity, the most famous convert of Paul, and the heroine of outlandish miracle stories. Enraptured by Paul’s message of sexual renunciation, she devotes herself to Paul and to chastity, but this dis


A reader put my post “Papal investigation” on Facebook and got this response. The Catholic Church is one of the longest running soap operas in history. It's got sex, violence, torture and intrigue, all dressed up in costumes that are better than Dynasty. It's also got cover ups, centuries long scandals, inquisitions, cultural genocides by the dozen and a blind eye about dozens of other things besides molestation, genocides and systematic suppression of women. If we saw it on TV, we'd all say that it can't be true, it's so over the top. All true, and I’ve written about some of it, but I was delighted when someone corrected my saying in “Spong and more” that my writings point to the worst. He said they point to the best. Yes, I believe that to be true too. I try to portray the religion I happened to be born in honestly, to show both its best and its worst. Now another follow-up to a previous post. In my first one on Bible study, I was not optimistic about a new law r