February 17, 2019

Writing About Christianity More Than Islam

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I do not live in Europe or the U.K. In fact, I have never lived outside the United States. I do not know how I would be different or how my life might be different if I did live elsewhere. I suspect that if I lived in Europe or the U.K., I might write about somewhat different things. This is just a guess, but I suspect that I would write about evangelical fundamentalist Christianity and Christian extremism far less often than I do now. Why? I imagine they would seem far less relevant than they do now.

I also suspect that I might write about radical Islam and Muslim extremists far more than I do now. Again, this is only a guess, but I bet they would seem more relevant in at least some parts of Europe or the U.K. than they do now. I base this guess on the observation that many of the people I follow on Twitter who live in Europe or the U.K. seem to tweet about Islam as much if not more than they tweet about Christianity. It seems reasonable to me that they would do so.

February 15, 2019

Saying Goodbye to Google+

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I jumped on Google+ back in July of 2011. I wasn't initially sure what to make of it. It was still invite-only, and nobody I knew was using it. I thought that it had potential, but it took me some time to figure out what that might be. Once it was opened up to everyone, I quickly discovered that I liked it far more than Facebook. It was so much easier to sort people into groups (i.e., circles) and distribute relevant content to them based on how they had been sorted. It seemed more flexible, faster, less cumbersome, and just all-around better. The only downside was that nobody I knew in real life was using it.

In November of 2011, I created an Atheist Revolution page on Google+. I have used it consistently since then, sharing every post and providing readers with another place to interact. While it never generated the same level of traffic as the Atheist Revolution page on Facebook, it has provided more than some other social media platforms. In addition, I have continued to find it far more enjoyable to use than Facebook.

February 13, 2019

How We Behave Can Sometimes Lead Us to Feel Alone

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It is not at all uncommon for people to feel alone even when they are surrounded by others. I've certainly felt that way a number of times. Maybe there are some good reasons for that. Ultimately, we are alone. Nobody will ever understand exactly what it is like to be who we are or see the world exactly the same way we do. Some will come close, but nobody will match up perfectly. At the same time, I doubt that any of us are nearly as complex and deep as we tend to think we are. The issue probably isn't that we are too complicated to figure out; it is just that people differ in so many ways that most of us will never find our ideological clone.

When I read Cephus' (Bitchspot) recent post, Standing Alone, two thoughts went through my mind. The first was fairly mundane, and I already hinted at it in the opening paragraph. Most of us probably feel the way he described at times, especially when it comes to our social and political views. Many of us have, for example, complained about feelings of political homelessness. We aren't always sure where we fit in or even if we fit in. This can be unsettling. My second thought, well...that's bound to be a bit more controversial. It seems like some people behave in ways that make it far more likely they will feel alone.

February 11, 2019

Building Another Church in Mississippi

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In some parts of the United States, evidence of declining interest in organized religion is easy to spot. Church attendance is not what it used to be, and churches are desperate to fill their pews. Some have even closed or been repurposed to serve secular functions. I haven't seen any of this for myself, mind you, but I have been told repeatedly that it is happening.

Here in Mississippi, located in the heart of the American bible belt, we have more churches per capita than anywhere in the United States. How fitting that our levels of illiteracy, child mortality, poverty, and all sorts of social ills are also among the highest in the nation. At least the solution to the many problems facing us is clear: we need more Christian churches.

Back in 2006, the front page of my local paper ran a story on a $25 million expansion to a nearby church. I found myself thinking of several more productive uses for $25 million. In a town still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina (e.g., some people were still homeless at the time this story appeared), it seemed criminal to squander these funds on something as pointless as expanding a church.

February 10, 2019

Corporate America's Social Justice Agenda

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Many Christians love to celebrate Christmas with all the trappings of commercialism; however, some complain that the commercialism has ruined the religious aspects of the holiday. I think they probably have a point. Excessive commercialism has helped to secularize Christmas, stripping much of its religious meaning. There isn't much room for Jesus in "Giftmas."

Similar complaints have been made by Baby Boomers who were part of the 60's counter-culture. Corporations co-opted and then ruined much of the hippy thing by realizing they could market and sell it. We even witnessed something that initially looked like a resurgence of this culture in the 90s, only to discover that it was merely a commercialized version that was being marketed by corporate America.

And of course, we have seen this sort of thing happen with music over and over again. Fresh new styles of music quickly become stale once they are co-opted and commercialized by the industry. The "soul" of the music is lost, and we are left with poor imitations. Those who were hungry for something authentic move on in search of it.