Faithful to Science

blog on science and religion

Tag: tribalism

The Tower of Babel

Last year I read Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs’ excellent book, The Penultimate Curiosity (OUP). The book is a tour through human history from the perspective of art, science and religious seeking. In this post I will remark on an interesting point that I learned from this book.

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OMG

“Look! The cat is afraid of the cucumber.”

“Oh my god!”

“Look! The man fell off the table.”

“Oh my god!”

“It was full to the brim and I swallowed all of it!”

“Oh my god!”

“Oh my god! I can’t believe you did that!”

“And then he was like, “I don’t know”, and I was like, “what, never?” and he was like, “no.””

“Oh my god!”

 

“I would like to be a bit more shallow every day. Oh my god!”

“I would like to squash the whole of everything down into my little box. Oh my god!”

“I would like to repeat and repeat a certain word, I want to blurt it and burp it and snort it and fart it until I have pummelled and pummelled it into utter submission; until it has no meaning left at all. Oh my  god!”

“Oh let me be deaf, oh let me be dumb. Oh my god!

“Oh let me be blind. Oh my god!

“Oh let me be bound to the will of the day, oh let me be mute. Oh my god!

“Oh let me have nothing of meaning to say. Oh my god!

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my let be empty of seeking and sense. I am worth it and oh, my god.”

 

Trump and the inauguration

Sorry to go blog-silent for a while. International events have once again intruded on the things I would have liked to write about. The change of administration in America has caught so much attention, mine included, that it is hard to write about anything else. But I haven’t forgotten that this is a science and religion blog, so I will try not to go too far off that theme.

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Judging by Labels

I would be willing to be called theist in the sense described in this previous post, and I would like to encourage others to try to understand what that means. I hope that this will help other people to find for themselves a better sense of their own role and possibilities. I also affirm the right of atheism to express itself in the world, with full rights of citizenship, and to earn all the respect it can by motivating good lives and work for peace, justice, science and all the arts.

This post is a continuation of a theme I addressed in a piece on fascism on August 23rd.  You may ask, why did I include a piece on fascism in a blog about science and religion? It is because I think I can detect totalitarian thinking in some of the material published and positions advocated in this area. I already discussed one issue related to this, namely the attempt to suppress dissent by redefining the very words that other people have adopted:

[Changing the meaning of words]

In this post I will expand on another issue: assessing people not by how they behave but by how you label them.

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Fascism

In its early days, the movement called National Socialism in Germany did not look like a horror story about to happen. It looked ok to most people. You had to be discerning to smell a rat. Here are some of the features that fascism was showing before it swelled into outright violence and totalitarianism.

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Honesty and Humility

A Man Digging Potatoes, Thomas Frederick Mason Sheard

 

So far in this blog I have tried to offer ways for people unsure about religious language to find a way in, and I have objected to various unsubstantiated or ill-argued claims coming mostly from outside the Christian movement. However, in the interests of balance and straightforwardness, I want to admit this week that the worldwide Christian movement itself has deep problems and often does much harm. I think it does a huge amount of good too, but it has its own characteristic problems and they will not go away quickly or easily.

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Science, religion and tribalism

The blog is intended to give people a way in, in a briefer format than is typical for a book. I have already given some book-length thoughts, and I intend to discuss some issues at greater length eventually in another book, but here I will offer an introductory comment on the two activities called science and religion. Continue reading

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