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Notre Dame's stand against Catholic fundamentalism

Notre Dame's stand against Catholic fundamentalism | Salon

Will Roman Catholicism, with its global reach, including more than a billion people crossing every boundary of race, class, education, geography and culture, be swept into the rising tide of religious fundamentalism?

Those Catholics who regard a moderate progressive like Barack Obama as the enemy -- despite the fact that his already unfolding social and health programs, including support for impoverished women, will do more to reduce the number of abortions in America than the glibly pro-life George W. Bush ever did -- have so purged ethical thought of any capacity to draw meaningful distinctions as to reduce religious faith to blind irrationality. They have so embraced a spirit of sectarian intolerance as to undercut the church's traditional catholicity, adding fuel to the spreading fire of religious contempt for those who depart from rigidly defined orthodoxies. They are resurrecting the lost cause of religion's war against modernity -- a war of words that folds neatly into the new century's war of weapons.

If the Catholic reactionaries succeed in dominating their church, a heretofore unfundamentalist tradition, what would follow? The triumph of a strain of contemporary Roman Catholicism that rejects pluralism, feminism, clerical reform, religious self-criticism, historically minded theology and the scientific method as applied to sacred texts would only exacerbate alarming trends in world Christianity as a whole, and at the worst of times. This may especially be so in the nations of the Southern Hemisphere where Catholicism sees its future. It's there that proselytizing evangelical belief, Protestant and Catholic both, is spreading rapidly. Between 1985 and 2001, for example, Catholic membership increased in Africa by 87 percent, in Europe by 1 percent.

May 15, 2009

A guide to reading the bible like a Pre-Millenial Dispensationalist

slacktivist: TF: Bible studies

Pre-Millenial Dispensationalists (PMDs) are the sect of Christians behind, for starters, the Left Behind series of books and a lot of the fanciful interpretations of the end of the world. (Wikipedia entry)

. . . consider this sequence of events and see if you can find any rationale for reading the Bible in that particular order:

1. Turn to Ezekiel 38 & 39. Don't read the first 37 chapters of Ezekiel, they don't matter. And don't read Ezekiel chapters 40 to 48 -- they don't matter either. You're supposed to start reading Ezekiel at Chapter 38. That's obviously why it's Chapter 38.

2. Turn from Ezekiel 39 to 1 Thessalonians 4:16, being very careful not to read verses 13 and 14 of this chapter. (Those verses introduce the section that follows as being about death, hope and grieving and you're going to have to try, instead, to read this section as though it is about the disappearance of all of the earth's children, which it doesn't actually mention.) Anyway, read on through the 11th verse of the following chapter and then jump to the obvious next passage in the plainest, most literal and logical reading of the Bible ...

3. Revelation Chapter 11. Don't read the first 10 chapters of Revelation -- not yet. First finish Chapter 11, then turn to ...

4. Revelation 6:1-2. Don't read the third verse yet, because first you need to turn to ...

5. The ninth chapter of Daniel. Skip the first 19 verses and start with Daniel 9:20.

And if you are a PMD this is your blueprint for the end of the world. Pretty selective and ridiculous, eh?

May 12, 2009

The Donut Man has some weird things to say about Christianity