I guess you could say the last few books I've read have piqued my interest. Having read about the political ambitions (and successes) of "believers" with theocratic leanings, I wanted to read more about both what they're reading and how it drives them, and the other side of the political coin. So I made my way through Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire, and now I'm a little more than halfway through A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization.
The former is worth it alone for the synopsis of the Left Behind Series at the end of the book. (Though I may still mooch the series, one book at a time, and read it myself.) The latter is a fascinating (and readable) history of of the book of Revelation and the history of the apocalyptic movement, though I've only gotten to the part where the apocalyptic obsession makes the leap to the New World. In the meantime, just to balance things out a bit I'm also reading Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, basically the other side of theocracy vs. secularism in the New World.
Next on the nightstand is The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously. But, I've also mooched God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It, The Battle for God and Divided by God: America's Church-State Problem–and What We Should Do About It. I may wrap up this course of reading (for the time being, anyway) with The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right.
In the meantime, I've bookmarked a number of blog posts and news stories I've been meaning to blog about, but in the interest of time I decided to do a round-up of them.
- A long time ago, I remember saying to someone that it matters less whether one believes in god than it does what one believes about god. Over at the the Christian Alliance for Progress blog Faithful Progressive has culled some interesting data on what people believe about god, from a USA Today analysis of a Baylor University survey.
- Pharyngula posted a video of Steven Colbert and Steven Garell wielding dual representative theological arguments.
- Dispatches from the Culture Wars links to an encouraging post about christians debunking the christian nation myth.
- Good thing they are, because if Rosie O'Donnell is right about radical christianity is as threatening as radical Islam. Or to put it another way, one kind of fundamentalism is as dangerous as another.
- Maybe that's why, according toPharyngula, the Archishop of York sees Muslims and christians as natural allies.
- I guess word hasn't reached an high school teacher up the road in Gaithersburg who launched into an anti-Islamic tirade after overhearing a student rehearsing a speech with a teacher's help and using Arabic words. Her rant included "Islam doesn't mean peace, it means killing everyone for peace," and "Because of you our families died in New York." My guess is they haven't gotten around to teaching about the Crusades in history class yet.
- Maybe that teacher would be more at home in Texas, where Rude Pundit says the religion classes in the state public schools are little more than publicly funded proselytizing.
- Well, some have at least one thing in common with Muslims. They don't like cartoons about their central figures either.
- Natural allies with Muslims? And where does that leave the Jews? According to the same book that revealed Karl's gay dad, Bush says Jews can go to hell.
- Jesus, in the meantime, has his face on a beer glass and his own MySpace page. Something to do when he's not appearing on bathroom doors. What's strange is that he doesn't have any friends yet. I thought he'd have a dozen or so.