Category Archives: religion

prayers holy and secular

Rick Warren’s inaugural invocation reminds me of how strange it always is for me as a Baha’i to hear my Protestant brothers and sisters pray, whether extemporaneously or from a prepared text. Having grown up reciting prayers written by Baha’u’llah … Continue reading

Posted in America, community, democracy, poetry, religion | 3 Comments

boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart

I think it’s the “rotisserie-&-bidet” type of imagery that makes Ellison’s essay so much more memorable and likely to become a holiday classic than the Hitchens bellyache. (The original essay was, in fact, printed two years in a row in the L.A. Free Press — the anniversary edition, if memory serves, included some bonus griping.) Other highlights include the opening line, in which Ellison says he has nothing against “the Prince of Peace, upon whom has been laid more superhero tripe than any social malcontent should have to deal with,” or his assertion that Scrooge was the only decent character in A Christmas Carol and that Tiny Tim was a treacle-mouthed little twerp (“Not even on Christmas would I God bless Nixon.”) It’s a beautifully written piece, a .50-cal barrage of fully justified invective against a hollow, bullying, inescapable set of traditions, and it’s one of dozens of reasons I recommend The Harlan Ellison Hornbook, the collection in which the infamous essay appears. (It’s out of print now, but you can find it through dealers.)

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Posted in community, religion | 1 Comment

witch just goes to show….

But whether it was God or some clever ancient lawmaker who first outlawed witchcraft, there are surely very good reasons for it — reasons that ought to appeal to the stoutest and most scientific skeptic. Namely, witchcraft is fraud, pure and simple. Witchcraft was to the ancient world what astrology, homeopathy, “energy work,” Scientology, and the Atkins diet are to our own era — a dishonest attempt to use confirmation bias and other psychological effects to convince people that they can have something for nothing, that the world doesn’t work the way it appears to, that there’s a “secret knowledge” that’s available only through initiated practitioners and that can enable one to step around the rules that apply to everyone else.

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Posted in economics, religion, women | 1 Comment