Really Recommended Posts

Really Recommended Posts 5/22/15- Mars, Hinduism, Prosperity, and more!

postI’m pretty sure we’re not going to get nice weather here in MN for anything more than one 5 hour period at a time. Alas. Anyway, I took the chilled days to find you some more good reading. As always, be sure to let the authors know you appreciated what they wrote and let me know what you think here.

Curiosity Rover Update: Diverse Geological Formations on Mars– Not only does this post have some really beautiful imagery from Mars (seriously, it’s like a science fiction story come true!), but it also discusses how the geology of Mars might pose an interesting problem for young earth creationists.

Self-knockout: A Twitter dialogue with a Hindu against Christian Evangelism– The Nepalese Earthquake led to many Christians praying not just for the physical but also spiritual needs of those impacted. This led to major pushback from many Hindus who argued that Christians are “soul vultures” and should not evangelize. Here’s an interesting look at a dialogue with one of these Hindus who attacked Christians for sharing their faith.

The Biology Professor Who Hated our Outreach Exhibit– Pro-Life advocates continue to show how embryology and related sciences help support the case against abortion. Here’s a post about one biology professor who took issue with the use of scientific evidence against abortion.

How “faith” works in the prosperity gospel (Comic)- A nice flowchart depicting the way faith allegedly works according to the prosperity Gospel.

Upon the Ground of Men– There is a lot of anger (I don’t think this word is to strong) towards those who argue for gender-inclusive translations of the Bible and the like. Here’s a post that looks at some of the difficulties gendered translations face.

Bonus Link: Sam Harris’ performance in a discussion with Noam Chomsky left much to be desired. Sam Harris, one of the “new atheists,” has activated wanton violence against Muslims and other peoples of faith. Here, he had a dialogue with a noted activist against state-sponsored violence. How did it go?


About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick is a Lutheran, feminist, Christ-follower. A Science Fiction snob, Bonhoeffer fan, Paleontology fanboy and RPG nerd.


7 thoughts on “Really Recommended Posts 5/22/15- Mars, Hinduism, Prosperity, and more!

  1. Sam Harris, one of the “new atheists,” has activated wanton violence against Muslims and other peoples of faith.

    First, why the quotation marks around ‘new atheists’? The term ‘New Atheists’ is used to distinguish those who intentionally and without apology publicly criticize religious privilege.

    Second, what do you mean with the word ‘activated’? In all my reading of Harris, I have yet to encounter this ‘activation’ of violence. The only substantial reference he makes is to consider whether or not foreign policy should be willing to make a nuclear first strike against a hostile government dedicated to doing the same (End of Faith). He think such a hypothetical action would be morally correct. It’s quite a reach – if not an unrecognizable distortion – to consider this hypothetical consideration a very real call to committing intentional acts of violence against Muslims and other people of faith.

    You make it sound as if Harris is advocating for people to go forth and do violence to people of faith because they are people of faith. Obviously, this is not true and it is a very slanderous accusation against Harris that, oh by the way, just so happens to suggest that there really is a link between New Atheism and promoting violence. That is a complete fiction of your own making.

    Posted by tildeb | May 22, 2015, 11:27 AM
    • The quotation marks are because I was trying to ensure that people read that as a distinct term. The “activation” was a typo which was supposed to say advocate. He clearly advocates a view of Islam in which those who are non-violent are the fringes while he centralizes the concept of jihadists as the true Islam. Moreover, a “nuclear first strike” as he has put forward even in hypothetical thinking is, I would think, fairly obviously the advocating of violence against other people. It’s the kind of reasoning of “let’s bomb them because they’re violent” that is truly terrifying. This discussion with Chomsky is of interest for exposing some of this reasoning. Chomsky is pretty over-the-top in some of his wording and the like though. I’d like to see a more formal discussion.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 22, 2015, 11:43 AM
      • Thanks for the clarification. Capitalizing the term New Atheists usually denotes membership to this purpose by the original group of authors, Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, and Dennett and added to by many other fine thinkers and authors.

        As for advocating violence, perhaps it might help to understand the issue as explaining why self defense that can only be carried out by pre-emtive and violent means is morally justifiable. I wouldn’t call this justification ‘advocacy’ for violence because it avoids the very important intention behind the act that is its central justification: self-defense. By omitting this intention of defense, one presents the violence as if it were the reason, the justification, and this isn’t true. Nor is it true that Harris advocates violence against people of faith… again misrepresenting the intention as if faith were the reason, the justification, rather than responding to the stated promise to carry out violence in the name of religion.

        There is a Western narrative being promoted about Islam that utterly fails to grasp its central role in attacking and overthrowing Western secular enlightenment values. To my deep disappointment, this is a favourite meme by what I call illiberal liberals… liberals in name only who think reducing our rights and autonomy in law is somehow a welcome sign of tolerance for some underdog rather than what it is: an attack against Western secular enlightenment values. And we see this narrative in action daily… by media, by spineless university presidents who go along with banning speakers who might hurt the feeling of delicate students called ‘snowflakes’. We see it in news reports about the latest atrocity carried out by Islamicists against other Muslims… very often the very Muslims needed for reformation, Muslims who try to keep sharia law out of government. We see the death of liberal Muslims charged and convicted of apostasy before being killed and we hear no outcry from these supposed liberals; instead, we get the narrative… that different cultures have the right to exercise different values and, besides, we’re guilty of colonialism, donchaknow, and we support businesses, donchaknow, and so on. The narrative is the lie. The very real danger are Islamists who threaten and carry out attacks against those who criticize it. And so Harris has this double target: the Islamists who use the Koran and its passages to justify their bullying, and the illiberal liberals who excuse it and paint it over in nice rainbow kumba ya colours.

        The danger is real… as was demonstrated when two gunmen showed up to commit mass murder in Texas. Their motives were underplayed and repackaged to be almost acceptable because, well, they were religiously offended, donchaknow. The real culprit was the woman putting on the draw-a-Mohamed cartoon event. She was supposedly the real problem, the extremist, the islamophobe, the fundamentalist. This danger is what Harris is writing about, and one of the biggest promoters of the false narrative that is obfuscating the real danger is the illiberal liberal champion Noam Comsky.

        In that light, reread the emails.

        Posted by tildeb | May 22, 2015, 12:51 PM
      • Sorry to take so long to get back to you. I think that I’ll let your comment stand as the argument for that side and let readers decide for themselves. Thanks for stopping by.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 26, 2015, 9:03 PM
  2. Thanks for sharing those links. The one about the prolife dialogue was great. I like what Justice For All is doing, having been involved with a local campus outreach myself with them.

    Posted by SLIMJIM | May 22, 2015, 11:53 PM


  1. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg - May 26, 2015

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