Member Post

 

One of my friends is a writer who is presently spending time in Malaysia as his wife teaches English. He’s among my liberal friends and though he’s strongly in that direction, I’ve found I can have at least intelligent disagreements with him. Earlier this week he posts this picture: He commented on this as well: […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Take the Test: Neil deGrasse Tyson or Deepak Chopra?

 

Astrophysicist, Cosmos host, and director of the Hayden Planetarium Neil deGrasse Tyson has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Several media outlets (especially The Federalist) have investigated his anecdotes, quotes and claims only to learn he makes up quite a few of them. Luckily for the pop scientist and his devotees across the Internet, the New York Times published an article exonerating Tyson for his multiple transgressions. Because Science!

Tyson also is one of America’s most popular skeptics, making a career ridiculing religious beliefs (and conservative ideology) as just so much silly superstition. So I decided to juxtapose his quotes with New Age self-help guru Deepak Chopra. Surely this will be the easiest test ever created, right? Let’s begin…

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Fault Line: Culture Wars Playing Out in the Church

 

shutterstock_204326209There is a divide among American Christians. Less a disagreement between Catholics and Protestants — or other divisions of doctrine and theology — the difference turns on culture, and relates to a fundamental difference in worldviews that transcend the old schisms. In short it, is a matter of orthodoxy, with non-denominational evangelicals and cafeteria Catholics on one side, and traditionalists on the other. It has been talked about within the various churches for decades, but affects almost all of them in the same fashion, and reflects larger trends in the culture that mirror political parties.

A recent conversation on the Member Feed turned to the matter of how Christians consider each other with respect to true worship and doctrine. Along the way, member Gary McVey asked:

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Member Post

 

I used to belong to a blogging site called ‘Journalspace.com,’ which has since collapsed. On my blog there I had posted text from a book of biblical scholarship by Bruce Vawter, to stimulate discussion about Christianity’s origins. I am planning to do the same here, but I am unsure of the best way. In other […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Exorcist, The Demon, and The One Who Is Not There

 

imageIt’s nearly Halloween, which means a cornucopia of horror movies on TV. Most of them are just awful, with a few masterpieces occasionally making the grade. Last night some cable channel featured Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and a couple of zombie features I’d never heard of. Frankly, the horror movie genre is in a slump. It’s zombies, zombies, zombies, all the way down and I’ve never understood their appeal. I have a pretty strong stomach — I always have anchovies on my pizza — but I demur when it comes to people eating people. I just don’t understand how they can be the luckiest people in the world.

For just over 40 years, The Exorcist has been the magnum opus of horror films. I’ve never completely understood how such a frankly religious movie has been transformed into a Halloween staple. Yes, it’s terrifying and — for whatever reason — people love to be terrified. But what makes it a perennial favorite, I think, is the gut deep fear that demonic possession may be possible. Nobody’s going to turn into a zombie or be resurrected as a member of the fraternity of the undead. But at a visceral level, most people believe fallen angels are more than superstition who literally, in the words of the Prayer to St. Michael, “prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.”

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Can the Secular Define Evil?

 

I’m a fan of Dennis Prager, though I split my listening between him and Rush, as they’re both on at the same time. Dennis is an unabashed advocate for religion, and the notion that goodness flows from it. He frequently challenges secular people or atheists — like me — to contradict his claim that “[w]thout God there is no good and evil.”

It’s a good challenge, and I’ve been contemplating it for a long time. Not only do I think we should always confront our opponent’s best arguments directly but I really do think its important to ask myself — as secular person — how I draw the distinction between what is good and evil if I am not going to trust religion to define it for me?

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Yom Kippur: A Torah Explanation

 

I like to explain everything using only the words in the Torah. The following is a modified excerpt from my upcoming book. It is, oddly enough, libertarian in the sense of taking responsibility for one’s own actions. But otherwise, this is pure biblical exegesis, which obviously will not appeal to many. But it might interest a few of you.. so enjoy!

Consider the Yom Kippur offering, the famous “two goats.” One is consigned to Azazel and thrown down a cliff, and the other one meets a holy end as a sacrifice to G-d. Like many other commandments in the Torah, the twin goats of Yom Kippur can be very difficult to understand.

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Member Post

 

This post is just a quick THANKS! to the great members here. Through Ricochet I’ve been able to meet some astounding people (even if only through posts and audio meet ups), and hardly a day goes by where I don’t learn something here. I’m not going to name names because I don’t want to be […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Atheist In the Foxhole? So Help Me God…

 

As many are aware, the Air Force became the last branch of the military to make “so help me God” optional in the oath of enlistment this past week.

A legal review of rules that required the phrase occurred after the American Humanist Association (AHA) threatened to sue on behalf of an atheist airman. The unnamed airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied re-enlistment Aug. 25 after crossing the phrase out of the oath.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. HS Football Coach Suspended for Joining a Team Prayer

 

It has been a tough few weeks for football suspensions. As lurid tales of players beating women and “whooping” children dominate the headlines, a successful Arizona high school football coach has been suspended for an even more shocking offense:

Tempe Prep football coach Tommy Brittain has been suspended two weeks for praying with his team after the Show Low [Ariz.] win two weeks ago, his wife, Melissa, confirmed.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Islam Relevant to Obama Administration … But Only When it Comes to Real Threats, Like Global Warming

 

President Obama on Wednesday night — the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — said Islamic religious instruction is wholly irrelevant to the cause of ISIS … which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIS, I suspect, would disagree.

But that is not to say that there aren’t elements of foreign policy in which the Obama administration thinks religion — even Islam — is a key component. Secretary of State John Kerry stated on Sept. 3 that “religion matters,” and he’s made it “a mantra” in his State Department and his foreign policy stance.

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