Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

Pat Robertson’s recent remarks (see video) on the Haiti earthquake have raised eyebrows and extreme reactions from many fronts, from the religious to the atheists.

Chicago Breaking News reports a Reverend Al Sharpton criticizing Robertson’s comments while calling for relief efforts for Haiti:

Sharpton, at Christ Universal Temple in the South Side on Sunday, said the statements were “repulsive” and “un-Christian.”

But Sharpton had no calls for apologies.

“I wouldn’t call on Pat Robertson to do anything. I think that the best way to deal with a glass that appears muddy is to put a clean glass next to it,” he said. “I hope the clean glass of those fair and humane-thinking religious leaders can be compared” to them.

Meanwhile on the Washington Post controversial atheist and author Richard Dawkins blasted not Robertson but religious sentiments such as those of Sharpton’s, arguing against the “hypocrisy” of Christians:

You nice, middle-of-the-road theologians and clergymen, be-frocked and bleating in your pulpits, you disclaim Pat Robertson’s suggestion that the Haitians are paying for a pact with the devil. But you worship a god-man who – as you tell your congregations even if you don’t believe it yourself – ‘cast out devils’. You even believe (or you don’t disabuse your flock when they believe) that Jesus cured a madman by causing the ‘devils’ in him to fly into a herd of pigs and stampede them over a cliff. Charming story, well calculated to uplift and inspire the Sunday School and the Infant Bible Class. Pat Robertson may spout evil nonsense, but he is a mere amateur at that game. Just read your own Bible. Pat Robertson is true to it. But you?

I find the extreme exchanges triggered by Robertson interesting not because of the clash of religious and non-religious sentiments (although that is also incidentally fun to read and watch). However what intrigues me is that the polarization of opinion is not between pro- and anti-Robertson, but on whether Robertson should qualify as representative of religious or non-religious sentiments.

Simply put: both the Christians and atheists seem to agree that Robertson was being an ass–but are divided on whether he (being an ass) represents Christians.

The “no true scotsman” fallacy comes to mind. Funny thing is, if Dawkins and Sharpton are to be our benchmarks, both sides of the Robertson issue are guilty of it, which is ironic.


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Following the negative sentiments on the Nike ad campaigns just previously posted, I came across an interesting term in psychology partly related to the reaction to the cross-symbology.

Pareidolia describes the phenomenon of attaching significance to seemingly random stimuli. It falls under the general category of apophenia–which is the “pattern seeking” tendency in people. Although pareidolia is not strictly confined to religious context, a number of cases of pareidolia have religious connotations.

Some examples of pareidolia in a religious context:

Virgin Mary on a cheese sandwich

Sun cross on the American Flag

Cross-shaped MP3 player from China

Pope image in flame shape

You can find further examples of religious pareidolia here.

Context is the important factor to consider when facing similar cases of pareidolia–although the cause of the phenomenon is still debatable amongst researchers. In the case of the aforementioned Nike ad–pareidolia tendencies merge with intentional marketing to create the impact and arguably this is proving to be a very effective strategy although evidently some Christians do not enjoy the effect.

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Ran across a couple of interesting articles on an online forum, both highlighting an attack on Christians by “gay activists”. The newsbites are quite graphic. Here’s the first article.

Hundreds of homosexual activists rushed out of bars and swarmed a group of Christians who were singing songs in San Francisco’s Castro District – and some even threatened to kill the worshippers.

A group of Christians had been singing and praying in the “gay” district for several days, but they never expected an angry mob would run them out. However, that’s what happened Friday night.

Another article, just as graphic:

Worshippers at a Bible-teaching church in Lansing, Mich., were stunned Sunday when members of a pro-homosexual, pro-anarchy organization named Bash Back interrupted their service to fling propaganda and condoms around the sanctuary, drape a profane banner from the balcony and feature two lesbians making out at the pulpit.

Of course, the veracity of the events notwithstanding, what immediately throws one off are the subtle references to Obama in both articles: (more…)

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Coming from ronnie’s insight on the need to fill spiritual emptiness from our article on climate change, I just happen to remember that I read an email that echoes something of this sentiment–coming from a theist perspective.

I received via chain email Ben Stein’s live confession (c. 2005) about Christmas, being a Jew, and atheism. Here’s an excerpt of his impassioned message:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees..  I don’t feel threatened.  I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are:  Christmas trees.

It doesn ‘t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me.  I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I kind of like it  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrati ng this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu .  If people want a crïeche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.  I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country.  I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?  I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.   But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

The above is verified to be true from CBS transcripts.

What’s interesting is that the final form of Stein’s confession as it arrived to me via email is actually a “longer” doctored version of the original statement he made in CBS. The addendum contains more allusions and claims to drive Stein’s point.


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