Tuesday, December 23, 2008

News for the Week

Since we won't have a regular show for the next couple of weeks, I'll be keeping the blog updated with interesting news in the world of religion.

First up: Scrupulosity Disorder. In this article, about a study coming out of Brigham Young University, we discover a form of religious obsessive compulsion, revolving around "obsessive doubt about moral behavior often resulting in compulsive religious observance." The study apparently says that such behavior can result in "depression, apathy, isolation and even suicide." There's a lot of line-drawing confusion coming up in this issue as the problem stems across all religious beliefs and certain treatments and approaches will therefore be valued null or negative between different cases. Interesting stuff. I hope to be able to read the actual research when I return to the University. In the mean time you can find the article for sale here at The Journal of Anxiety Disorders.

Next: Bad Time Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches. In this report we discover that as the recession hits Americans hard they are being knocked off their feet and onto their butts...in pews. As Rev. A.R. Bernard says, "It’s a wonderful time, a great evangelistic opportunity for us. When people are shaken to the core, it can open doors." Wow, that's sweet--yeah, a real sweet sentiment. Other people's suffering is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of their vulnerability and fill their moment of emptiness with something equally empty, but providing the illusion of fulfillment.

Rev. Don MacKintosh said, "I found it very exciting...We need to leverage this moment, because every Christian revival in this country’s history has come off a period of rampant greed and fear. That’s what we’re in today — the time of fear and greed." Indeed. Yes, you will grow because of the common folk's fear of recession and your greed.

Yes, I know perhaps I'm being a bit shortsighted, and perhaps some of these preachers have good intentions at heart, but at the very core of it is the outright exploitation of people in need.

Third on the list: We have the Vatican in the news in two very unfortunate ways. First, in their Dignitas Personae and second in the pope's statement against homo/transsexual people. According to the New York Times the document titled Dignitas Personae, "ratchets up the church’s condemnations of embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, the “morning-after pill” and a host of other techniques it regards as violations of human dignity." Great. Just what we need. The religion that influences the minds of at least one fourth of the American public sends out a statment that attempts to even further stagnate the push for basic human rights. At the very least be honest with us! It's not a violation of so-called "human dignity," it's a violation of your god's wishes. You don't really want to protect human interests here on Earth, so much as you want to ensure you avoid infuriating the big man upstairs as long as you can.

And the pope's statement against the gays and trannies is just abominable. Apparently saving the world from homosexual acts is just as much an imperative as saving the environment is. I really can't think of anyting coherent to say about this at the moment. Just read the article and decide for yourself.

All the same, it was not even what I read about the pope's statement that infuriated me the most--it was what I learned when I read something else in a sister article.

The pope’s remarks come on the heels of the Vatican's refusal to join a United Nations appeal for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality launched on December 18 by 66 countries, not including the United States which also refused to sign the non-binding declaration.

Now, granted I don't know all the facts about the situation, but I'm failing to see how there could be any decent excuse for the United States abstaining from a measure like that. There are some truely terrible things going on in this world, and it's mostly centered around our lack of moving forward into the future, our fear of leaving behind the old, outdated moral code, and adopting a new one, one that includes everyone.

More from the world of gay: Apparently, Barack Obama has chosen Rick Warren to speak at his inauguration and this has started quite the uproar in the gay community. Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," is reported to be "an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage." I think Gene Robinson, openly gay bishop in the Episcopalian Church says it best when he said:

“I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,” Bishop Robinson said, “but we’re not talking about a discussion, we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation.”

What on Earth is Obama thinking, putting, at the front of his presidency, a man who so clearly is in opposition to what Obama told us he was about? This is despicable, and while I hope Obama will change his mind, I'm not holding my breath. I will be working at the inauguration and will almost certainly get to hear the speech live and in person. I'll let you all know what I think.

And last: an update on the Washington State Christmas display scandal. Now a Festivus pole will soon be joining the Nativity and the Atheist sign. Merry-freakin-Chrsitmas! I love it.

Well, that's all for now folks. I'll be back in a few weeks with another news update, or, perhaps, a rant. Right now I need to get to bed so I'm all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for Christmas Eve. That's right--the Evangelical Atheist is giong to be celebrating Christmas and enjoying every minute of it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

No comments: