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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

The governor of the Vatican visited CERN recently to reassure everyone that the Catholic Church “supports” “science.” In fact, according to his speech, the Church has always supported science.

USA Today seems to have reproduced his quote, but for some reason they left out all of the footnotes, which I have carefully reconstructed below:

“The Church never1 fears2 the truth3 of science4, because we are convinced5 that all truth6 comes from God7,” Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican City’s governor, said Thursday in Geneva. “Science8 will help our faith to purify9 itself. And faith10 at the same time will be able to broaden the horizons11 of man, who cannot12 just enclose himself in the horizons of science13.”

1. certainly not during the pesky Copernicus incident or during the whole Galileo flap
2. “hates” is probably a more accurate description
3. keep in mind that we don’t use that word the same way you do
4. which, as usual, we will mischaracterize in a way that backs up our crazy belief system
5. not, mind you, by evidence, but rather by the assertions of an ancient, mis-translated book of myths
6. see note 3, above
7. who doesn’t actually exist, but bear with us
8. by which we mean “the parts of science we want you to know about”
9. “sell”
10. i.e. believing whatever we tell you to not because it makes any sense but just because we said to
11. “narrow the horizons”
12. because we’ll burn him at the stake if he tries
13. because he might disbelieve our dogma if he did

Although he didn’t follow up this quote with support for science related to embryonic stem cells, IVF, or human cloning, I’m sure that’s just because the interview was running long.

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Over on FOXNews.com, Bill Shuler lists Ten Fallacies About Faith In America. Incredibly, I largely agree with the pastor:

1. “Separation of Church and State” means people of faith should mute their convictions in the public forum.

Fallacy! It’s common sense that means people of faith should mute their convictions in the public forum.

2. We should stamp out all prejudices in America except for those pertaining to God, Jesus and the Bible.

Fallacy! We shouldn’t “stamp out” prejudices pertaining to Zoroastrians or Hindus or Giant Stone Head Worshippers either!

3. One person’s offense or disagreement should be allowed to suppress the faith DNA of a nation.

Fallacy! There’s no such thing as “faith DNA”!

4. National discourse should avoid all illusions [sic] to faith because the highest goal in America is not to offend.

Fallacy! National discourse should avoid all allusions to faith because allusions to faith are dumb.

5. We owe no allegiance to the faith that shaped our nation.

Fallacy! We are perpetually indebted to the Puritans and owe it to them to prohibit women from speaking in church.

6. The faith that once inspired and motivated many of our Founding Fathers should now be relegated to church buildings on Sunday mornings.

Fallacy! It should be relegated to church buildings on (at most) Christmas and Easter.

7. We should continue to revise American history by subtracting faith because our most valued virtue is political correctness.

Fallacy! We should continue to revise American history by exaggerating the importance of George Washington Carver because our most valued virtue is political correctness.

8. Having faith in God is a minority view shared by few.

Um, for something to be a “fallacy,” there have to actually be people who believe it.

9. Faith should be kept in our national closet until our next national crisis.

Fallacy! Faith should be kept in our national closet forever.

10. The mere expression of faith in the public domain is an act of intolerance.

Fallacy! The expression of faith in the public domain is an act of ignorance.

Well, 9/10 is not too shabby. Who knew that a pastor and I could find so much common ground!

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US News and World Report has put together a special feature on the “10 Most Important Obama Faith Moments.” Of course they picked stupid ones like “Having Rick Warren pray at the inauguration” and “Luring Tony Dungy away from football to join the Faith Advisory Council” and “Smearing holy dirt on Joe Biden’s forehead.” Bo-ring!

Submitted for your approval, here are my top ten Obama faith moments:

10. Healed a leper at town hall meeting in Berea, Ohio.
9. Drove evil spirits out of Lincoln Bedroom.
8. Using the tax dollars of only a few wealthy Americans, miraculous transferred large sums of money to his cronies at AIG.
7. Cursed John McCain, who withered. (Although he was pretty withered to start with.)
6. Cured a paralytic by restoring federal funding of stem cell research.
5. Descended into hell .
4. Arranged to feed (and make mortgage payments for) the multitude.
3. Calmed the storm in the stock market.
2. Miraculous conversion of Arlen Specter.
1. Raised Larry Summers from the dead.

Did I forget any?

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Over the past year, I have encountered a number of “non-religious” types who were not only avid supporters of Barack Obama, but who also insisted that he was a “closet atheist”.

Although all evidence points to the contrary, they offered a number of plausible reasons like

  • I like him, so he’s got to be
  • sitting through years of Jeremiah Wright nonsense would make anyone an atheist
  • he’s only pretending in order to get elected, same as Sarah Palin

I found none of these reasons compelling, but articles about Obama’s “faith-based office” (“hey, do we have any stamps?” “not sure, why don’t you pray on it?”) are working harder to assuage my fears:

While the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been around for eight years, the Obama White House is very keen to stress that their version of the office will have an entirely different mission. Whereas Bush established the office to “level the playing field” for faith-based service organizations that he argued were unable to compete for federal grants, Obama intends to use his faith office more for policy matters:

I mean, as long as they’re only working on “policy”, I don’t see anything that could go wrong with that. I bet that people chosen for their religious affiliations have all sorts of policy insights that people chosen for their competence or experience would never come up with:

  • “Now that we run GM, let’s put electronic Mecca-finders on every dashboard!”
  • “Let’s teach kids about Ganesh in biology class, so they’ll know that it’s possible to transplant an elephant’s head on a human’s body!”
  • “We should fund a NASA mission to visit heaven!”
  • “Can we make it so that churches don’t have to pay any income tax?” “We already do that.” “Oh, sweet!”

I look forward to the broadening of the policy discourse.

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