Comments on the soul

I am not sure how many people read the comments to my posts but quite often the commenters are very knowledge and their comments are more informative than the posts themselves. My post yesterday on questions about the soul is one such case. If anyone is interested in learning about the origins of the various concepts concerning the soul, I strongly urge you to read the comments to that post.

Where is your soul located?

When I came across this article by Candida Moss and Jessica Baron with the title Where in your body is your soul? I groaned, expecting yet another mushy spiritual mess. (I am sure that many readers of this blog had a similar reaction when seeing the post title.) But it is actually quite an interesting article, tracing the origins of the concept of the soul and how people have addressed the numerous problems associated with it.
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Creationists must love Turkey

It is really not surprising how fundamentalism is the same irrespective of the religion because at root it requires the putting on of blinkers on young people so that they believe dogma and not question anything. A draft of the new science curriculum for Turkish students has deferred the teaching of evolution until students enter college because it is too ‘controversial’ and students may bot be able to understand the scientific issues involved. Actually, of pretty much all the major ideas in science, evolution is the easiest to explain and understand.
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Personal views and public policy

The leader of the UK Liberal Democratic Party Tim Farron has become the latest casualty of the election and resigned, saying that it appears that you cannot be its party leader and a Christian anymore.

Tim Farron has announced his resignation as Liberal Democrat leader after he was repeatedly pressed during the general election over his personal beliefs on issues including homosexuality.

Farron issued a statement on Wednesday night saying he felt “remaining faithful to Christ” was incompatible with leading his party. It is understood several senior figures in the party had visited Farron in recent days to attempt to persuade him to step down, though he was initially reluctant.

Throughout the election campaign, Farron was questioned over his attitude to homosexuality and abortion, though he insisted he did not believe gay sex was a sin and has said he was pro-choice.

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The Noah’s Ark story is one big mess

A young-Earth creationist geologist by the name of Dr. Andrew Snelling is suing the National Park Service to be allowed to take 60 rocks out of the Grand Canyon so that he can prove that the Great Flood of Noah actually happened. He is being supported in his legal battle by a conservative Christian legal group known as the Alliance Defending Freedom. Candida Moss uses that case to anchor her article about why that famous story is far messier than what the Bible actually says.
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People are very good at predicting the past

The Book of Revelation is something that biblical scholars have been trying to interpret for centuries. As with all such documents that consist of a nutty blend of grotesque and vivid but opaque imagery, it provides plenty of opportunities for imaginative people to come up with fanciful scenarios. The usual Christian view is that it portends what will happen in the so-called End Times when Jesus returns and metes out bloody justice.
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Who would want to steal the body parts of Catholic saints?

One of the truly weird aspects of Roman Catholicism is their preservation and veneration of body parts of those declared by the church to be saints, seemingly in the belief that viewing and praying to those bits increases your chances of having your prayers answered. This article lists some of the body parts that have been preserved, including (if you can imagine it) Jesus’s foreskin, It is a macabre practice, to put it mildly. This news item about a brain fragment of a saint being stolen raises the weirdness all the way to 11.
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Good and bad news from Ireland

Leo Varadkar has been elected leader of the Fine Gael party in the Republic of Ireland which means that he will become the country’s next taoiseach, the equivalent of prime minister. On the positive side is the fact that the 38-year old Varadkar is the son of an Indian immigrant father and Irish mother. He is also gay. Neither of these is insignificant given the overwhelming Roman Catholic culture of the country and the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment that saw the passage in 2004 of legislation that removed citizenship rights from the Irish-born children of non-national parents.
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Should a racist and homophobe have a tennis stadium named after her?

Tennis great Martina Navratilova has not been shy about speaking her mind and trying to advance the cause of women and the LGBT community. She has now called on Australian authorities to rename the Margaret Court Arena, one of the main courts where the Australian Open is played, because Court is a racist and a homophobe and is thus not worthy of the honor, though there is no denying her tennis accomplishments.
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