That’s the title of an article at The Science of Relationships. The article itself covers a few different topics related to this theme, but the thing that struck me was a recognition by secular professionals that a lack of chastity (not the way they put it, of course, but still) is bad for relationships. To [Read More...]
Talking about the “things that matter most” on September 18
4:00 – 6:00 – Direct to My Desk
Today we open the phone lines and let you set the agenda with your questions and comments. As always, we have topics we will bring up for discussion but the show only works with your input. Some topics include the complete lack of any context when reporting in “priestly sex abuse,” an Evangelical leader saying Catholics are not Christians, the continued ignorance over the Pope’s remarks on celibacy and the trend of young people knowing less and less about religion in general. Be ready to call 877-573-7825.
Ah, Garry Wills. My favorite professorial poseur and religious rebel-without-a clue. He’s back with a new argument for using books as kindling in the form of a doorstop titled, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition. Stephen Colbert has some fun with him on the topic the other day and does a fairly good job responding (although [Read More...]
I came across this article that summarizes recent developments in positive psychology research into a list of 21 habits happy people cultivate. Taken individually, each item has been shown to empirically boost our baseline happiness level a bit. But as I looked at the list, it occurred to me what a powerful effect cultivating even a handful [Read More...]
See the Holy Land as never before, thanks to the wizards at National Geographic.
Jerusalem is one of the world’s most important cities, held sacred by three religious traditions, and it’s now possible to virtually visit its holy places in an unprecedented way thanks to the vision and daring of the team behind “Jerusalem,” a new IMAX film presented by National Geographic Entertainment.
Producers Taran Davies, George Duffield, and Daniel Ferguson faced huge challenges to gain access to sacred spaces as well as the airspace above the holy city, which is usually a no-fly zone. They stated in a press release, “Our goal is to look at the roots of the universal attachment to Jerusalem: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. We hope the juxtaposition of these different religions and cultures — all with profound spiritual and historical connections to the city — will reveal how much Jews, Christians and Muslims have in common and inspire all of us to better understand each other.”
But how to tell the story of Jerusalem without just focusing on politics? Enter three teenage girls from each faith: Farah Ammouri, a Muslim, Nadia Tadros, from a Greek Orthodox and Catholic family, and Revital Zacharie, a Jew.
Ferguson asked each of the girls to take him (separately) on a one-day tour of Jerusalem, which he filmed. “What was really amazing was that they would bring me to some of the same places in the city and tell me entirely different things. Revital would point out Jewish history, but when I asked her if she knew about the Christian or Muslim attachment to the same places, she didn’t. The same was true of the other girls.”
Benedict Cumberbatch narrates the film, and Dr. Jodi Magness of University of North Carolina Chapel Hill features as lead archaeologist.
Read more about the project here.
Check out the trailer at Deacon Greg’s website: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/09/this-looks-thrilling-a-glimpse-at-the-new-imax-movie-jerusalem/
Thanks to our flawed educational ventures, rational argument is almost unknown to us
Sep 17, 2013
|President Putin: Flummoxed by his argument, his foes attacked him personally.|
It is hard to deny that Russian President Vladimir Putin hit a home run last week, in appealing directly to the American people through an op-ed piece in the New York Times not to launch a missile attack on Syria. Some conservative commentators said he made his case resoundingly. Liberals, while deploring it, had to concede that it was exceedingly well written. But what made it well written was the fact it was well reasoned.
Rational argument has almost disappeared from Western political discussion, principally because it has almost disappeared from Western education. We are enjoined not to think but to feel. The White House rationale for a missile attack on Syria, for instance, consisted almost entirely of videos of children who suffered and died from nerve-gas. Heart rending they certainly were, but the prevention of further attacks will not depend on what we feel, but on what we think, and what in consequence we do. Putin knows this, and so at one time did we. That’s why his line of reasoning came to many as such a refreshing, even startling, change.
His article sets out four propositions:
1. The reason there has been no world war since 1945 lies in the veto power within the United Nations Security Council which assures that the council can only act unanimously.
2. The U.N. charter puts legal limitations on the right of any single power to start a war.
3. An American attack on Syria would not meet those conditions.
4. Hence an attack of Syria without Security Council approval would be illegal and possibly trigger a world war. Therefore, Americans, please dissuade your government from doing this.
If you can’t beat the argument, beat the man
The liberal response has consisted almost wholly in a personal attack on Putin himself. Who, after all, was he to talk about rights and morality? Look at his record. All of which may be emotionally understandable, but did nothing whatever to refute his central contentions. It was the old argumentum ad hominem – if you can’t defeat a man’s argument, attack the man himself instead.
- See the rest at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/641#sthash.vlglxNv4.dpuf
A continuing rise in road rage may reflect a waning of religious faith and discipline
Sep 13, 2013
|What would Jesus do?|
Road rage is on the rise says the Washington Post, which polled people around the District of Columbia. It found the proportion of drivers admitting to often feeling “uncontrollable anger” at a fellow driver had doubled since a 2005 poll, to 12 percent.
The American Automobile Association got a similar result when it tracked police reports through the 1990s: traffic disputes that got violent rose 50 percent across America over one five-year period. According to a new Canadian study of eight years of complaints posted on Roadragers.com, the acts which most often trigger road rage are: cutting in and weaving (comprising 54 percent of posts), speeding (29 percent) and hostile displays (25 percent).
What’s causing it?
Underlying explanations differ widely depending on the source: sociologists suggest our sense of community is breaking down. Psychologists suspect that driving imparts a dangerous mix of entitlement and invincibility. Leon James, a University of Hawaii professor and author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, told the Post their 12 percent who admitted to road rage were just the honest ones. James’ own tests found 30 percent admitting to raging, while 85 percent had experienced it from other drivers, making James believe almost everyone rages.
But surely both numbers could be true: a smaller percentage of aggressive drivers impact many non-ragers as they weave through crowded traffic lanes. When they cut off another of their ilk, there is mutual rage: i.e. the New Jersey detective who recently shot and killed another driver, or the man and woman who waved a knife and gun at each other from separate vehicles on a D.C. expressway in March.
- See the rest at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/631#sthash.P8RD4AVh.dpuf
The idea that we would even be considering aiding these jihadis, and are already giving them weapons, is unconscionable. It will forever be a blot on the history of the United States. Even if Islamic supremacists write those histories, the theme of this chapter will be the spectacular success of their disinformation campaign in the U.S., and how they got the U.S. Government to come to the aid of al-Qaeda within twelve years of 9/11.
“Witness to a Syrian Execution: ‘I Saw a Scene of Utter Cruelty,’” by Patrick Witty in Time, September 12 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
All wars are vicious, but the civil war in Syria seems every day to set new standards for brutality. As the fighting rages in its third year, increasing numbers of atrocities are committed by soldiers and fighters from forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar Assad, as well as armed rebels and Islamic militants from the numerous, loosely aligned groups opposing Assad. The violence is frequently sectarian in nature, with fighters claiming they act in defense of their faith, be it Sunni, Alawite, Shiite or any of the other sects that contribute to Syria’s religious landscape.The perpetrators of atrocities themselves often use digital cameras or smartphones to photograph or film their acts of torture and murder, uploading the images to the Internet. These images and videos are used for propaganda, and their authenticity is often impossible to verify. It is very rare that a group of fighters from either side gives a professional photojournalist from a country outside Syria full and unfettered access to chronicle an atrocity as it unfolds. The images above are products of that access.
What follows is a harrowing series of photographs of Islamic militants publicly executing, by decapitation, a young Syrian in the town of Keferghan, near Aleppo, on August 31, 2013.
Because of the danger in reporting inside Syria, it was not possible to confirm the identity or political affiliation of the victim. Nor are we certain about the motivation of his killers. One eyewitness who lives in the area and was contacted by TIME a week after the beheadings said that the executioners were from ISIS, an Al-Qaeda franchise operating in Syria and Iraq.
Yes, their motivation is an utter and absolute mystery.
TIME obtained the images exclusively from a photographer who was recently in Syria. This decapitation was the last of four executions he documented that day. TIME has agreed not to publish the photographer’s name, to protect him from repercussions when he returns to Syria. What follows is an edited account of his experience:
Ciao, da bella Roma, Italia.
I am writing you from beautiful Roma, Italy. I’m here with my wonderful husband, Deacon Dominick. Yesterday we just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Pondering on this milestone in our lives, I realize even more now how celebrating a traditional marriage of 30-ye…
I’ve been seeing a lot about FixtheFamily.com, a new website that purports to offer a Catholic vision of family life as a corrective to the alternatives the world has to offer. It’s been making a splash in both Catholic and secular circles, generating spirited conversations on Catholic blogs as well as secular feminist sites like [Read More...]