Which twin has the tragedy?

A guy who has a blog called Eternal Life Blog with the subtitle “covering all aspects of eternal life” (I do like thoroughness, don’t you?) thinks it’s a tragedy when clerics escape.

Sadly, spiritual tragedies do occur in this dangerous spiritual environment. That is why Christians are told to guard themselves, hold on, keep themselves, etc. One of the most recent and openly publicized spiritual tragedies among preachers losing their faith would be Jerry Dewitt. Jerry DeWitt, from Louisiana, became an atheist after more than twenty-five years of Pentecostal ministry! He was senior pastor of a congregation when he became an unbeliever and now claims he could not be happier because he feels he has regained his integrity.

Emphasis his. Formatting his. Alternation between bold and italics his. Anyway he’s amazed that a former minister could be happy because he feels he has regained his integrity. I, on the other hand, find that thought completely intelligible. It’s similar to what I always think when I try to imagine myself taking up religion for any of the consequentialist reasons people so often cite – community, tradition, support in life’s difficulties, that kind of thing. It’s the fact that it would feel like such a gruesome surrender and cheat that makes it fall to the floor before it gains any respectable altitude. I couldn’t do it, because of integrity.

If Jerry DeWitt, Teresa MacBain or any atheist ever came to initial salvation or not, I can’t say. It is possible they were once saved at some point before getting back on the road to hell as they are now. As sad as it is for them to openly reject the existence of God (and therefore Jesus Christ), it is even worse when one ponders the many under their influence who might also be hurt by their horrible example. It is horribly bad for any professing Christian to renounce his faith, but even worse when a person who is considered by some to be a spiritual leader does it.

That poor man – he thinks there’s such a thing as “the road to hell” (or he professes to – who knows, really). Sucks to be him. He’s frantic about something that is not at all a bad thing. He’s throwing away his life on fictions and useless terrors.


Hebden Bridge under water

Hebden Bridge was hammered by a flood last Friday. Pictures here.

After heavy rain all day Friday,  flood sirens went just before 8pm. Just hours later, the whole of the centre of Hebden Bridge was flooded. Market Street,  Bridge Gate, Old Gate, Albert Street and Crown Street were all under water and impassable.

The dramatic events of Friday evening have led to dozens of local shops and businesses suffering damage and serious loss of stock. We encourage all HebWeb readers to support the fund set up by the Community Foundation.

Life is difficult, and then it floods.

We hadn’t

There are some memes that need correcting – and when I say “correcting” I mean “multiple repetitions of correction for however long it takes” because that’s how it is with memes: they’re god damn hard to correct and often trying to correct them just entrenches them instead. (So don’t correct them? No, because what else can one do, and because at least they’ll be easier to find.)

One that I see everywhere is that the mysterious “small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics who, in trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism, actually and rather clumsily themselves help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe” had been saying that TAM was bad for women before DJ Grothe called them out with that accusation.

We hadn’t. Or they hadn’t. I don’t know for sure if DJ meant to include me in that group or not, but either way – we or they hadn’t. [Read more…]

Also, the sun rose and set during those weeks

Bad journalism department. The Warrington Guardian reports on a guy who thinks his son’s autism was caused by the MMR vaccination.

A STOCKTON Heath father, who believes his son became autistic after being given the MMR vaccination, has welcomed a landmark Italian court ruling.

Judges in Rimini awarded the Bocca family £140,000 after the Italian health ministry conceded the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine caused autism in their nine-year-old son.

The result has given fresh hope for many parents with similar cases who feel the British legal process has failed them…

Oy. How to inspire new flocks of people to refuse to let their children be vaccinated.

Oliver’s family said he ‘markedly regressed’ within weeks of the jab from a bright boy who could point to every letter on a bedroom alphabet freeze to someone who lost all his skills and language  and was in a ‘world of his own’.



Solstice weekend

Everyone says the CFI student leadership weekend was fantastic. Ed Brayton said so, and all the people tweeting about it at the time said so, and the pictures that Paul Fidalgo tweeted said so. (There was one of “James Croft with his invisible yo-yo” that cracked me up.)

CFI goes from strength to strength. Noticed that?

Maryam reports that the Council of Ex-Muslims 5th anniversary bash was also fantastic.

Good things!

More on Nussbaum’s book

So anyway.

Way back last month I did a brief post on Martha Nussbaum’s new book on religious intolerance. There’s more to say. I’ll say a little of it now.

The overall point is just that she leaves out a lot. She puts a thumb on the scales by leaving out a lot.

I had the same problem with the Opinionator articles the book expands on. I wrote about them on July 20, 2010 and July 22, 2010. Maybe I said it all in there, but I’ll say some things before I look to find out. [Read more…]

So much help, so unwanted

Meta. God this is boring. As briskly as possible –

Verbose S

to call the situations “threatening” runs a massive risk of saying that they were intentional threats, not that the person was reasonable to feel, at least, that there might be a threat.

What “massive risk”? There was nothing at stake. No one was named. What possible “massive risk” could there be? Harm to the reputation of [????????] That’s not a risk.

Verbose S again

 Thus, the “risk” I am talking about is another type of risk, the risk of using the word “threatening” to refer to the intentions of people as opposed to what people like Watson and Ophelia might feel based, which is wrong.  Thus, it opens up the risk of being wrong.

Oh that massive risk. So it’s massively risky for me to use the word “threats” to refer to threats but it’s fine for you to warn of the “massive risk” of…being wrong.

Verbose S again

If someone says that “X was threatening you”, then the implication is always that that was intentional, and not just that the person found it threatening.

But that isn’t what I said. I said I got email threats. The whole rest of your reply is subject to the same objection. Careless; points deducted.

S Beesley

your original post stated, unambiguously, that you had “got email threats about TAM”. No ifs, no buts, no nuance.

But getting threats doesn’t mean one thing and one thing only. I did get threats: threats about what was likely to happen, and how likely it was. Somebody telling me that it was very likely that I would be shot at TAM felt like a threat to me. That’s a perfectly normal use of the word. People talk about a threat of rain, for godsake.

My personal opinion is that you made a error of judgement in your original post.

By saying I got email threats when I did get email threats. That’s ridiculous.

I fear that you’re defending the indefensible

See above.

S Beesley again

The clear meaning here was that the emailer threatened her.

No. One possible meaning; not the clear meaning.

S Beesley again

My observation is that Ophelia is now complaining that reasonable people are not taking a nuanced approach which would not be possible from the original post.

Yes it would; see above.

It’s very kind of both of you to spend this much time and effort trying to show that I was wrong to say I got threats when I got threats, but really, it’s not necessary. I got this.