Archive for the ‘Religion – The Right Way’ Category


Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

This morning, scientific and evangelical leaders announced a collaborative effort to protect our environment from anthropogenic threats.

“We dare to imagine a world in which science and religion cooperate, minimizing our differences about how Creation got started to work together to reverse its degradation,” Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, said at the announcement in Washington, D.C.

The coalition released a statement signed by 28 prominent evangelicals and scientists—including biologist Edward O. Wilson and climatologist James Hansen—that calls for a “fundamental change in values, lifestyles, and public policies required to address these worsening problems before it is too late.” The coalition sent the statement, titled an “Urgent Call to Action,” to George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi, congressional leaders, and national evangelical and scientific organizations.


The Synthesizer

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Let the waters teem with countless living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of heaven.'” E.O. Wilson is quoting from the biblical account of the fifth day of creation. “Isn’t that lovely?” he asks, his voice lilting with pleasure. “Whether you believe that there is a god who touched the universe with a magic wand or not, it’s a command—[one] I think scientists could respond to as well as religious folk.”

Wilson sits in his office on the fourth floor of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard, across the hall from the university’s world-famous ant collection. His hands move in animated gestures, his shoulders falling forward into a natural hunch—the “lifetime posture” he developed by his late teens from stooping low to the ground to inspect small creatures.

The reference to biodiversity in the seminal text of Judeo-Christian culture resonates deeply with Wilson. Raised a Baptist and “born again” as a teenager, he has championed biodiversity as an academic and a writer for more than 50 years. His new book, The Creation, is an appeal to the religious right to “consider forming an alliance to do something that science and religion, the most powerful social forces in the world, are uniquely prepared to do: save the creation.”


Bible Publisher Tyndale House Faces Boycott Over Anti-Christian Game

Monday, August 21st, 2006

It is unprecedented for conservative and progressive Christians alike to close ranks in condemning a Bible publisher. It is unheard of for Christians to call for a boycott of a Bible publisher for licensing a real-time strategy videogame that caricaturizes Christianity as a crusade, puts modern military weapons in the hands of children, sends them on a mission to convert or kill infidels, and even lets children role play commanding the armies of the AntiChrist, unleashing demons that feast on Christians.

“Does it sound like fun, or does it sound like the way homicidal Muslims think?” asks Marvin Olasky, editor of the conservative Christian World Magazine in a blog post dated August 21, 2006, and titled Convert Them Or Kill Them? That’s Not Christianity. His piece links to a recent Washington Post article, “Fire and Brimstone, Guns and Ammo.” But the Post and World Magazine have barely touched the hem of the garment, in terms of understanding and exposing the game for what is truly is. Yet word is getting out, and a boycott is picking up steam.

It is unprecedented, and to date unheralded by the mainstream media. But it is happening. It is sparking, sputtering, glowing and growing like a prairie fire. There is a growing movement among conservative and progressive Christians alike to boycott Tyndale House, the Christian publishing house that publishes the Living Bible and Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind novels and also licenses the controversial videogame Left Behind: Eternal Forces, along with any chain stores or megachurches that plan to distribute the game.


Poll: 70% of evangelicals see global warming threat

Saturday, August 5th, 2006

WorldNetDaily – February 16th, 2006

Majority of respondents want government to take action even if economy is harmed

A poll released today shows 70 percent of American evangelical Christians see global warming as a “serious threat” to the future of the planet.

Conducted by Ellison Research, the survey indicates a majority of evangelicals agree with 85 Christian leaders who signed an Evangelical Climate Initiative unveiled Feb. 8 that calls for government action to deal with so-called global warming. The initiative includes a campaign of newspaper, TV and radio ads.

Signers of the initiative include, among others, Rick Warren, pastor and author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” Rich Stearns, president of World Vision, Commissioner Todd Bassett, national commander of The Salvation Army, and David Neff, executive editor of Christianity Today.


Evolution Opponents Lose Kansas Board Majority

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

By Ralph Blumenthal – NY Times – August 2nd, 2006

Kansas voters on Tuesday handed power back to moderates on the State Board of Education, setting the stage for a return of science teaching that broadly accepts the theory of evolution, according to preliminary election results.

With just 6 districts of 1,990 yet to report as of 8 a.m. Central time today, two conservatives — including incumbent Connie Morris, a former west Kansas teacher and author who had described evolution as “a nice bedtime story” — appear to have been defeated decisively by two moderates in the Republican primary elections.


Reasonable Doubt – Spinoza redux

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Ever since I began reading widely in college, the name, Spinoza, has been coming up among the ranks of significant thinkers in western history. So, I’ve known he was out there and that he was important but much more than that I couldn’t have told you until I read the following article by Rebecca Goldstein in the NY Times.

I probably always avoided delving into the man because such journeys into deep philosophy are generally taxing and may end up feeling unproductive after you’ve exerted the effort to see what the buzz was about and deciding it wasn’t worth the effort or it was impenetrable or whatever.

Well, in this case, I think I by passed an important figure out of laziness.

Spinoza, was excommunicated by the Jewish community of Amsterdam in 1656 at the age of 23 for making the assertion that no group or religion could rightly claim infallible knowledge of the Creator’s partiality to its beliefs and ways.

Think about that for a moment in the context of today’s world of fundamentalists – each claiming exclusive divine authorization and approval and each believing everyone else is wrong. The man was clearly ahead of his times and paid dearly for expressing his vision then.

Spinoza’s collected works belonged to both Thomas Jefferson and to John Locke and through them, his thoughts influenced the composition of one of the founding documents of the United States – The Declaration of Independence.

The following article is an easy read and it will place Spinoza’s thought in its proper context for you.


THURSDAY marked the 350th anniversary of the excommunication of the philosopher Baruch Spinoza from the Portuguese Jewish community of Amsterdam in which he had been raised.

Given the events of the last week, particularly those emanating from the Middle East, the Spinoza anniversary didn’t get a lot of attention. But it’s one worth remembering — in large measure because Spinoza’s life and thought have the power to illuminate the kind of events that at the moment seem so intractable and overwhelming.

The exact reasons for the excommunication of the 23-year-old Spinoza remain murky, but the reasons he came to be vilified throughout all of Europe are not. Spinoza argued that no group or religion could rightly claim infallible knowledge of the Creator’s partiality to its beliefs and ways. After the excommunication, he spent the rest of his life — he died in 1677 at the age of 44 — studying the varieties of religious intolerance. The conclusions he drew are still of dismaying relevance.


Note:  to read articles on the NY Times website, you’ll need an ID and Password.  You can obtain these for free by going through their sign-up process once.

Faith, Reason, God and Other Imponderables

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

As someone who sits astride the fence between science and religion, I found this article particularly interesting.   For me, I think that the physically manifest world is simply embedded within a larger spiritual existence and I have little trouble with the relationship between the two domains.  I find it fascinating to see how other people square their spiritual feelings with their lives in science.

By Cornelia Dean – NY Times

Nowadays, when legislation supporting promising scientific research falls to religious opposition, the forces of creationism press school districts to teach doctrine on a par with evolution and even the Big Bang is denounced as out-of-compliance with Bible-based calculations for the age of the earth, scientists have to be brave to talk about religion.

Not to denounce it, but to embrace it.

That is what Francis S. Collins, Owen Gingerich and Joan Roughgarden have done in new books, taking up one side of the stormy argument over whether faith in God can coexist with faith in the scientific method.


No regrets

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

This is from an excellent blog named Life 2.0:

I think there are two principles that govern the course of our lives.

The first principle, and for most of us the default one, is one where we continuously   recreate our past. We recreate the past in the present by recalling it…. and the consequence of this is that our future becomes a reflection of our past.  When we harbour regrets we are simply reinforcing those aspects of our lives that we don’t like.

Everything that gets created gets created in the present moment…. the past and the future are just mental constructs – figments of our memory and imagination. But when we allow our present to be clouded by past memories this is the juice that is fueling our life.  When we allow ourselves to become hostage to our past thought patterns we might think we are OK and having fun, but we are about as free as lab. rats spinning in their wheels.

The second principle is  transcendence  – we can transcend the consequences we have put into motion. Cause and effect are suspended. Past actions do not become manifested in future outcomes. The past, no matter what it has been, is no longer a dynamic that must play itself out. Not only do we recognize the past is over, it is no longer at issue. We are able to re-create our lives anew.


The Science of Being

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

This is one of the clearer things I’ve ever read on the relationship of spirit and physical existence:

Traditional knowledge informs us that there are fundamental Laws according to which the entire Universe is made manifest.

This Universe, in turn, is composed of many ‘Worlds’ which could be said to be ‘nested’ at vastly varying levels within and among each other. In this respect an order of greater materiality develops along with the ‘descent’ toward Worlds of a ‘lower’ or ‘denser’ scale; reciprocally a ‘lightening’ occurs with the ‘ascent’ toward ‘higher’ or ‘finer’ Worlds. With this condensing of materiality that occurs as we approach Worlds of a lower order, there is a corresponding ‘condensation’ of the Laws regulating their existence. Thus it can be said that Worlds of differing levels will be subject to a correspondingly greater or lesser number of Laws—those of the Primary order as well as all laws corresponding to Secondary and Tertiary, etc. orders of existence inclusively.