Monthly Archive: September 2007

Sep 14 2007

The problem with religion-4: Corrupting the minds of children

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) I started this series with Matt Ridley’s quote: “The Asian tsunami was not an act of god but 9/11 was” and will end with it, because it says something very profound. Religious apologists for Islam are quick to claim that the 9/11 perpetrators were not following their …

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Sep 13 2007

The problem with religion-3: All prayer, all the time

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In the comment that triggered this series of posts, the rise of liberation theology in South America was used to argue as a case where religion played a positive role. But let us see the liberation theology movement in its full context. For the better part of …

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Sep 12 2007

The problem with religion-2: Religion in racism and colonialism

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In the US, after the systematic elimination of the Native Americans, one can consider Christianity to be the de-facto “official” religion, since most people would consider themselves to be good Christians and the political leadership repeatedly invokes religious piety and symbolism. If, as is sometimes argued, the …

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Sep 11 2007

The problem with religion-1: Religious individuals and institutions

The author Matt Ridley made an interesting observation: “The Asian tsunami was not an act of god but 9/11 was.” I think that quote makes a good starting point for the next series of four posts that deal with the problem of religion. The posts are in response to a discussion that originated in a …

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Sep 10 2007

Going against the norm

The media circus that has surrounded US Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) with his guilty plea for lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airport men’s room, followed by his attempt to withdraw it, and his resignation from the Senate followed by his attempt to withdraw that too, has obscured some of the underlying issues surrounding what is …

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Sep 07 2007

The Powell and Petraeus shows

There has been a huge media build up over the so-called Petraeus report, the progress report by the US commander in Iraq David Petraeus, on how the ‘surge’ strategy in Iraq is going. The report is due to be presented on Monday, September 10, 2007. This has to be seen as another example of how …

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Sep 06 2007

The history of western atheism-5: The religious climate in Darwin’s time

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was aware of all the religious debates swirling around him as a young man, although they did not seem to divert him from his passionate pursuit of collecting beetles. In the early to mid-1800′s, England was in a reaction against the radicalism and turmoil …

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Sep 05 2007

The history of western atheism-4: Atheism spreads to the masses

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In his BBC4 TV documentary A Rough History of Atheism, Jonathan Miller points out that by the end of the 18th century, while skepticism of god and religion was gaining ground among the intellectuals and the elites, and was probably secretly quite widespread, the spread of atheism …

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Sep 04 2007

Reflections on the Harry Potter books (no spoilers)

I read the last book in the Harry Potter series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows about a week after it was released. It was necessary that I read it soon because I am surrounded by people who are die-hard Potter fans and they could not talk freely about it in my presence until I …

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Sep 03 2007

Shafars and Brights

(Today being the Labor Day holiday, I am reposting an item from July 21, 2005, edited and updated.) Sam Smith runs an interesting website called the Progressive Review. It is an idiosyncratic mix of political news and commentary with oddball, amusing, and quirky items culled from various sources thrown in. Mixed with these are his …

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