The Head Covering Movement

 Posted by on 6 December 2013 at 10:00 am  Christianity, Feminism, Religion
Dec 062013
 

When I first read the whole Bible a few years ago, I wondered when all those Bible-focused Christians would rediscover the very clear command that women cover their heads in church in 1 Corinthians 11:

I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head–it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone is disposed to be contentious–we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

And… it’s happened, as you can see for yourself at the web site of The Head Covering Movement. (The site looks of recent origin, and the domain was only registered earlier this year.) Of course, feminism is to blame:

The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church…? – R.C. Sproul

On a bright note, I’d much prefer that Christians resume the biblical practice of covering or not covering their heads during church than that they resume the practice of stoning people like rebellious sons, suspected witches, and blasphemers!

Three Harangues

 Posted by on 26 November 2013 at 10:00 am  Marriage, Personal, Religion, Sports
Nov 262013
 

Last night, I harangued Paul Hsieh about the following topics:

(1) The wrong of his checking “chicken thighs” off our joint online Costco grocery list, when we need them every trip and I nearly forgot to buy them today due to his checking them off last time. *

(2) The moral wrong of making nasty comments about pro athletes — as opposed to mere observations or criticisms. You can be a sports fan without being a jerk! Alas, I was informed that such a crusade is probably pretty hopeless.

(3) The utter moral insanity of the whole religious mindset in which God creates the universe and mankind, demands that people obey and worship him without anything remotely resembling decent evidence for even his existence, and then condemns people to eternal torment if they fail to do so.

Yup, just another evening Chez Hsieh.

* I decided to harangue Paul about the chicken thighs because I’ve discovered that he has just two modes: (1) ignoring my request, to the point of not remembering that I ever said any such thing to him or (2) remembering and heeding the request, but poking fun at me for making such a big deal of it. I prefer the latter, so I gave him a long and loud hand-wavey diatribe about chicken thighs, which he proceeded to pretend to ignore. However, I know that he’ll remember it… and remind me of said diatribe every time he goes to Costco for at least a few years.

Strange Email Du Jour

 Posted by on 19 September 2013 at 10:00 am  Mental Illness, Philosophy, Religion
Sep 192013
 

On Tuesday, I received an email that began as follows:

I am working with author Steven Colborne on the upcoming publication of his new book ‘Ultimate Truth: God Beyond Religion’ on the 16th September and I thought I would get in touch as thought this might be of interest to you as Steven is currently based in South West London.

Oh right, I’m going to be interested in a book because the author is “currently based in South West London.” REALLY?

Even better, check out the description of the book:

This is the second book from the author, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder. His first book ‘The Philosophy of a Mad Man’ was published in 2012 and documents his desperate search for spiritual enlightenment following the traumatic death of his mother to cancer. The journey ends with a ‘coming home’ to Christianity and the realisation that the quest for enlightenment rarely ends with finding it, but does often reveal what causes one to search for enlightenment in the first place.

Ultimate Truth: God Beyond Religion is the next stage in Steven’s journey. It was inspired by a third spell in a psychiatric hospital in 2011, during the completion of Steven’s postgraduate studies in Philosophy and Religion at Heythrop College in London. During this time, Steven began to question his Christian faith and realised that it didn’t properly equate with his views and experiences of God.

Might I suggest that schizophrenia is a brain/mental disorder, not a ticket to insight into the nature of the universe?

Aug 262013
 

This is horrifying… and fascinating: Third of teens in Amman, Jordan, condone honor killings, study says. Here’s the horrifying part:

Almost half of boys and one in five girls in Jordan’s capital city, Amman, believe that killing a woman who has “dishonored,” or shamed, her family is justifiable, a study of teenagers’ attitudes published Thursday revealed. A third of all teenagers involved in the study by researchers at Britain’s Cambridge University advocated so-called honor murders.

Here’s the fascinating part:

A key finding was that support for honor crimes was not connected to religious beliefs, but is far more likely in adolescent boys with low education backgrounds from traditional families.

It’s easy to blame Islam for honor killings and other atrocities… but it’s not clear to me that such is true or fair. Alas, the case cannot be made by pointing to the violence in the founding of Islam or in its texts. The history and texts of Christianity or Judaism bear little resemblance to the ways that these religions are practiced today.

That’s not to say that I regard Islam in any kind of positive way. My point is simply that I don’t regard it as inherently or inexorably worse than any other religion. Like all religions, it’s influence will run from mildly bad to horrifically awful, depending on the ways in which people choose to attend to, interpret, alter, and apply its ideas.

People have free will, and they exercise it in all kinds of strange and unexpected ways… even with regard to their fundamental religious and philosophical beliefs.

The Natural World Through Christian Eyes

 Posted by on 20 August 2013 at 10:00 am  Christianity, Religion, Science
Aug 202013
 

I just finished listening to the classic allegorical novel of protestantism, The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. It was truly atrocious, even aside from the Christianity. I cannot imagine Christians finding any value in it… and yet it is a classic.

The worst — and hence, the best — bit was the following passage on the proper Christian interpretations of natural phenomena:

It was told you before, that Prudence bid the boys, that if at any time they would, they should ask her some questions that might be profitable and she would say something to them.

Then Matthew, who had been sick, asked her, why for the most part physic should be bitter to our palates.

Prudence: To show how unwelcome the word of God and the effects thereof are to a carnal heart.

Matthew: Why does physic, if it does good, purge, and cause to vomit?

Prudence: To show that the word, when it works effectually, cleanseth the heart and mind. For look, what the one doth to the body, the other doth to the soul.

Matthew: What should we learn by seeing the flame of our fire go upwards, and by seeing the beams and sweet influences of the sun strike downwards?

Prudence: By the going up of the fire, we are taught to ascend to heaven by fervent and hot desires. And by the sun sending his heat, beams, and sweet influences downwards, we are taught the Saviour of the world, though high, reaches down with his grace and love to us below.

Matthew: Whence have the clouds their water?

Prudence: Out of the sea.

Matthew: What may we learn from that?

Prudence: That ministers should fetch their doctrine from God.

Matthew: Why do they empty themselves upon the earth?

Prudence: To show that ministers should give out what they know of God to the world.

Matthew: Why is the rainbow caused by the sun?

Prudence: To show that the covenant of God’s grace is confirmed to us in Christ.

Matthew: Why do the springs come from the sea to us through the earth?

Prudence: To show that the grace of God comes to us through the body of Christ.

Matthew: Why do some of the springs rise out of the tops of high hills?

Prudence: To show that the Spirit of grace shall spring up in some that are great and mighty, as well as in many that are poor and low.

Matthew: Why doth the fire fasten upon the candle-wick?

Prudence: To show that unless grace doth kindle upon the heart, there will be no true light of life in us.

Matthew: Why are the wick, and tallow and all, spent to maintain the light of the candle?

Prudence: To show that body and soul, and all, should be at the service of, and spend themselves to maintain in good condition that grace of God that is in us.

Matthew: Why doth the pelican pierce her own breast with her bill?

Prudence: To nourish her young ones with her blood, and thereby to show that Christ the blessed so loved his young, (his people,) as to save them from death by his blood.

Matthew: What may one learn by hearing the cock to crow?

Prudence: Learn to remember Peter’s sin, and Peter’s repentance. The cock’s crowing shows also, that day is coming on: let, then, the crowing of the cock put thee in mind of that last and terrible day of judgment.

What can anyone say to that?!? Except perhaps… LORDY!

Jul 242013
 

Um, wow:

What will the Catholic Church be like in AD 2,978? My New Novel

I’m writing a new novel and I’m excited about it. I feel alive when I write it.

What if the global economy and currency collapsed and all first world nations lost control?

What if the Pope were the only global leader who could rally humans to order and civilization?

Add to all this a world-wide miracle of the sun in fulfillment of the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart. A miracle that converts billions to the Faith and reveals the way to clean, inexhaustible energy.

By AD 2900, humans have discovered inhabitable planets in the distant corners fo the galaxy. All humans are Catholic. They speak Latin as the universal common tongue of humanity. But they eventually discover something in space that could undermine the very foundations of humanity and the Catholic Church – or perhaps secure it. Pope Gregory XIX resigns the papacy in AD 2978 for the first time since Pope Benedict XVI in AD 2013. What had become an intergalactic Christendom begins to crumble.

That’s the plot. It’s an apocalypse that takes place in the distant future with technology that we have never experienced.

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

You can read more here.

Grumpy Cat Versus Illiterate Religious Spam

 Posted by on 15 May 2013 at 2:00 pm  Funny, Religion
May 152013
 

I always delete random illiterate religious spam from Philosophy in Action’s Facebook Page … but not until I’ve made proper fun of it.

 

Back in January, the internet was agog over the report that a pastor objected to the 18% gratuity added to her bill for being part of a large party by writing on the receipt, “I give God 10% why do you get 18?”

The proper answer, of course, is provided by Grumpy Cat:

Your waitress offers you a genuine service, in exchange for your tip… God, not so much.

However, what I find particularly interesting about the story from an ethical perspective lie in the details of what happened at the restaurant and afterwards.

[Chelsea Welch's co-worker [at an Applebee's in the St. Louis area] had waited on a large party hosted by Pastor Alois Bell of the World Deliverance Ministries Church in Granite City, Ill. As is common at many restaurants, an 18 percent tip was automatically added to the bill.

Pastor Bell crossed out the automatic tip and wrote “0″ on the receipt, along with this message: “I give God 10% why do you get 18?”

Welch, who did not wait on Pastor Bell’s table took a photo of the bill and uploaded it to Reddit where it soon went viral. “I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical,” Welch told TheConsumerist. “I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining.”

Bell, who did not see the humor in this, complained to the restaurant’s manager. Bell told The Smoking Gun she did not expect her signature to be all over the Internet.

Applebee’s confirms that Welch was fired. In a statement, the company says:

“Our Guests’ personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the franchisee.”

Pastor Bell told The Smoking Gun she is sorry for what happened and points out that she left a $6.29 cash tip on the table.

“My heart is really broken,” she told them. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and my ministry.”

As this story makes clear, the waitress didn’t intend for anyone to be able to identify the pastor in question, and she took measures to prevent that identification. Alas, the power of the internet was too great. Also, the waitress reports that the pastor “contacted her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers.” (That’s a quote from the article, not from the waitress.)

On the one hand, I understand why Applebee’s fired the server who posted the receipt. The restaurant wants its customers to feel secure in their privacy while on premises, particularly in their dealings with their employees, particularly in their financial transactions.

Nonetheless, in this age of social media, people’s expectations of privacy must change… or they will get burned. If you’re in public, your antics might be broadcast far and wide across the internet for other people’s amusement. Then, if you act petulant and bossy about that, as this pastor seemed to do, you’ll be lambasted even more.

Ultimately, a person needs to be responsible for his own privacy. That requires thinking in advance about what he wishes to keep private or not. That requires attention to what he says and does in view or earshot of other people. That requires being selective about what he emails or posts online. That requires providing appropriate context for public actions if he wants to avoid being misjudged.

A rational person does not broadcast his private activities to the world, then blame others for taking notice.

Tim Minchin: Thank You God

 Posted by on 4 April 2013 at 2:00 pm  Atheism, Funny, Health, Religion
Apr 042013
 

Oh Tim Minchin, how I do love thee!

I saw Tim in concert in Boulder a few years ago… and he was awesome! If he comes to your area, don’t miss him!

The Virtue of Blind Belief?

 Posted by on 13 February 2013 at 10:00 am  Epistemology, Religion, Sports
Feb 132013
 

I just ran across this passage in an otherwise merely annoying sports column on athletes and steroid use:

This past Christmas Eve, my son and daughter made Santa cookies, wrote him a letter, even left four carrots for his reindeer. As we were putting them to bed, I remember thinking, Man, I wish they could always stay like this. And by “this,” I really meant, I wish they could always just blindly believe in things being true despite mounting evidence against them.

Oy vey! The “blind belief” of faith is not a virtue — neither in adults not in children. It’s the rejection of reason’s requirements of empirical evidence and logical argument. To the extent that a person lives by faith rather than reason is the extent to which he imperils his life and his happiness. (For more on what’s wrong with faith — including why faith and reason cannot be reconciled — I strongly recommend George H. Smith’s Atheism: The Case Against God.)

Interestingly, the sports writer indulges in fairly arbitrary doubts about athletes and steroid use in the rest of the column. Given that kind of irrationality, it’s hardly surprising that he longs to enjoy the comforts of the opposite kind of error.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha