Rhetorics of Choice and Rhetorics of Freedom

I recently watched two documentaries, Hell House and Revolution OS, back-to-back and want to offer some insights I noticed about the different notions of choice and freedom that both of these films reveal. Hell House is about a Halloween display put on by a church in Texas. The display is modeled on a haunted house, but instead of ghosts and goblins, the villain is sin. Of course, sin comes in a very conservative Christianist wrapper.

Religion and the Workplace

A recent post at my favorite godless liberal weblog, Pharyngula, on the gender and age distribution of writers for skeptical magazines such as the Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic prompted me to think a bit about attitudes toward religious expression in the workplace. I’d be interested to see what Eric thinks. My personal opinion is that religion should be kept to a minimal level in the workplace as much as possible. I’ve been relatively lucky to work in environments where religion has never been a major issue or concern.

Finding the Roots of Violence

Part of the joy of the blogosphere is finding connections to ideas that I was previously unaware of. Today’s discovery was the writing Arthur Silber has been doing about suicide, child rearing, morality, father figures, psychoanalysis, and more. The inspiration for this latest bit of writing was the recent suicide by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Via Avedon Carol at the Sideshow. At first I was unsurprised that prisoners who are being held without the hope of a trial would choose to take their life.

Some Bits of Faith, But More Bits of Doubt

There is something happening inside the soul of man right now and it doesn’t look good. Fundamentalism and rationality are coming into conflict more directly than ever before. One of the worst bits of cant I heard after 9-11 was that the world had changed completely on that day. I thought that was a stupid thing to say then and it’s still rather silly today, but I’m beginning to see that the change for some was very real.

Criticizing Religion from the Left

OpenDemocracy carries an intriguing essay about the different ways the left press treats fundamentalism in Christianity and Islam. After 9-11 the press has gone out of its way to present a positive portrait of Islam. In the past they’ve been less kind to moralistic Christians. Multiculturalism is good but can go too far. It mustn’t be allowed to trump universal human rights. All cultures are not as good as each other: some are racist, some preach death to homosexuals or Jews, some believe the weak should go to the wall, or all non-Christians to hell.