You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Religion’ category.
Baptist TV preacher, Eddie Long, finally addressed the sexual allegations by four young men today on his TV show. I have followed this through CNN by default since CNN is my default homepage. I’ve also followed it because I do stop by TBN and watch snippets of many of these shows and it just so happened that I caught Bishop Long a few weeks ago. I have watched his work for a while and was impressed with the social aspect of his ministry, but the flashiness always bothered me–tight shirts, the buffiness, ultra cool wardrobe and I’ve even seen him in a matrix-like trench coat. So I was very, very curious to hear his response.
Somehow I forgot to turn to his show at 8:30 but I caught an excerpt on CNN.
Lithonia, Georgia (CNN) — Baptist televangelist Eddie Long said Sunday he will fight allegations that he coerced young male church members into having sex with him.
“I am not the man that has been portrayed on television,” he told his congregation.
Speaking publicly about the accusations for the first time, Long did not address the specific allegations contained in four lawsuits filed against him earlier this week.
“I’ve been accused, I’m under attack,” he said, lowering his head and softening his voice behind the pulpit at the New Birth Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta.
“I want you to know, as I said earlier, that I am not a perfect man. But this thing, I’m going to fight,” he said. “I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”
With that, the 57-year-old pastor put down his microphone and walked off stage, receiving deafening applause from the thousands who had come to hear him.
To be honest, I did not hear what I needed to hear. I needed to hear a clear-cut denial. Something to the effect of “I categorically deny . . ..” or “I never engaged in any of the alleged acts . . .” or “I have been faithful to my wife and never . . .” something along that line. In effect, what we got was that he is not the man portrayed in the media. That could be and in fact probably is very true, but not to the point at all. The media does paint televangelists in a certain light and he is saying he is not what he has been made out to be. But, he still has not addressed the specific allegations.
While Eddie Long is not T. D. Jakes, if this thing drags out and it does turn out that there is merit to the allegations, it could do some damage in the community.
So Wapo has an article on Opus Dei, the type of soft, fluff piece meant to humanize Opus Dei. I think it was largely successful with the exception of this very strange bit:
There is corporal mortification, though not as portrayed in “The Da Vinci Code,” they say. “It’s not a bloody whipping of oneself,” Coverdale said. “It’s more an annoyance.” He wears a leg chain with dull spikes — called a cilice — around his upper thigh for a couple of hours a day while praying. It’s designed to be uncomfortable but not to draw blood. And once or twice a week, during a prayer, he whips himself on his buttocks with a type of rope referred to as “the disciplines.”
“It doesn’t particularly hurt; maybe it stings a bit,” Coverdale said.
Yikes! There is no way to make this come across as normal and everyday-Joe like.
by Michael Satlow of Brown University. This is a series of podcasts on the history of the Israelites to the end of the first century C.E. It is very, very, very, well done. One example is the handling of the Ezra-Nehemiah story. It is a complicated story and I have listed to another Ph.D. butcher it. Satlow does his home work and his explanations are very clear.
Dan Gilgoff at US News and World Report blogged about the growing dissonance of scientists and religion. The percentage of scientists who believe in God is drastically less that the God-believing part of the population.
An eye-opening new Pew survey on science and religion reveals a huge God gap between scientists and other Americans. Eighty-three percent of Americans say that they believe in God, while just 33 percent of scientists do. Just 17 percent of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, while nearly three times as many scientists are.
This is not surprising at all being that religion is fast losing credibility. The fact that an ungodly number of Americans, about 40%, do not accept evolution is astounding and is directly attributable to religion. For scientists, the question of evolution is a non-starter. Evolution occured. Period. So when they have to debate the fact of evolution, it is like debating that the earth is indeed round or that the earth revolves around the sun.
Also, the issue of the nature of the human being, i.e., the soul. That’s another that science and traditional Christianity have no middle ground in understanding the nature of the human person.
Until Christianity, especially Catholicism, take a step in honestly dealing with science, scientists will dismiss religion as credible. I suspect that most of these people consider themselves spiritual, which seems to be the cool alternative to traditional religion.
I just watched Traitor with Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce. I hadn’t heard anything about the movie much less good or bad things so I expected the worst. It was about an American muslim with African roots, ex US special forces, who is wrestling with his obligation to his faith and country. I’ll leave it at that. It is free on netflix if you are so inclined to watch it.
I have a fascination with the possibility of infiltrating terrorism networks. I have read quite a few fiction books on this topic such as Faithful Spy and Forsyth’s The Afghan. I also read John Updike’s The Terrorist. In the first two, the hazards of deep infiltration are covered and done quite well. The fact is that they show that it is not possible for an inflitration situation to go well. The infiltrator either develops sympathies with the group, or is unable to avoid terrorism as the price of gain the trust of the terrorists. Updike’s The Terrorist, was a little different. This was more a psychological profile of a young man who volunteered to execute a terrorist mission. Anyway, the movie is very much in the vein of all aforementioned books: extremely intense and well done.
Well, I really liked the movie. I am curious, a significant portion of the movie is in Arabic and I wonder what Arabic speakers think of Cheadle’s and Pearce’s performance. The certainly sounded smooth to me. I can see why the movie was not popular. It has a very cerebral and dramatic aspect to it, somewhat similar to Syriana and The Good Shepherd. There are no sexy car chases, there is blowing things up, but it does hit incredibly close to home with the terror aspect. Also, I think we all are skiddish about movies that reflect the current wars and terrorism . . . and Islamic stereotyping.
They certainly make their point in showing the “polished” side of the terrorism network: the well-heeled, educated financiers who move the chess pieces. I suppose the idea is to disabuse people of the notion that terrorism is carried out by uneducated, impoverished, fanatics. The flip side of this presentation, and it is no fault of the movie, being a complex issue, is that it buttresses xenophobes and those with religious prejudices who would argue that terrorism is a tactic endemic to Islam or people from the Middle East.
This movie got me thinking about the show 24, which I regret I have wasted time in the past watching. And in the last season they tried to present an Imam(?) as a spiritual advisor who helps Jack Bauer confront his demons. It did not work for me and I realized why. Non-muslims like me never get to see popularized examples of Islamic holy people and preachers, so it is a bizzare image seeing an Islamic preacher offering spiritual advice. The media is full of Christian preachers, Catholics hold up examples of holy people we call saints, there is His Holiness the Dali Lama, we see Buddhist monks in our daily lives, Taoism is popular, Eastern religions have certainly gained traction, etc. Howver, we simply don’t run into Islamic ministry in general and we have not yet as a culture created a common image of an Islamic spiritual advisor. Anyway, that’s that. It was a very good movie.
Professor Juan Cole quotes Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s brother, a muslim, as saying that Michael was interested in Islam. Eventually there were reports that Michael had converted to Islam.
In early 2007, his brother Jermaine, a Muslim, announced that Michael would embrace that religion. In November of 2008, just months before his death press reports said that Michael Jackson had formally converted to Islam.
I consider myself somewhat fairly informed. How did a news nugget like that get past me? I’m sorry but I don’t quite see Michael on his prayer mat five times a day.