Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  1. Restrictions on Religion Rising.
  2. Oops! Just joking!
  3. Viacom’s Dauman takes the Bronze medal.
  4. If you think it’s congested, imagine it with traffic lights.
  5. Childlike faith means growing up.

1

The Pew Forum has documented what I’d sensed anecdotally: a “Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion.” For instance, challenges to building permits, occasional violence, and there’s even been one instance of government-forbidden conversion!

(H/T Religion Clause blog)

2

At least if you’re a German Catholic, it would behoove you to be careful about playing games with your status for tax reasons. To avoid a tax surcharge for support of the Church, some German Catholics have filed a declaration with their local tax office stating that they are leaving their faith community, and are finding themselves consequently excommunicated. Quoth the Bishops, “one cannot partly leave the Church.”

I have heard of people who would have liked to remain “married religiously” while “divorcing civilly” to avoid the marriage penalty on dual-high-income couples. The German Catholic experience may be a cautionary tale for them – though my pet theory is that the widening gap between what the Church means by marriage and what secular Western states mean by it will result in the Church saying “Civil marriage bears no relation to Christian marriage and is henceforth optional for believers.”

The state could nip that in the bud by calling its novel thingy “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships,” but it seems there’s a certain cachet to the equivocal term “marriage,” probably because it is so equivocal.

3

Wow! Viacom’s got the third greatest genius in human history as its CEO!

Although Dauman admits to having been an indifferent student in college and law school, the clearest objective proof of his blinding intellect was that at the tender age of just thirteen he had scored perfect double-800s on his SAT exams.  I recently read Robert Klitgaard’s highly regarded Choosing Elites, and it contained a handy table developed by a Harvard researcher for converting between SAT scores and IQ. Applying this simple conversion and necessarily adjusting for age (as is required in all IQ calculations) puts young Dauman’s IQ score at well over 260, dozens of points higher than the highest ever recorded in human history.

So who do you think were the greater geniuses?

4

If the clip gives you the heebie jeebies, maybe you should follow this link.

5

I blogged in various forms on Evangelicalism for three days running (here, here and here).  The morning the third post got published, Silouan delivered a teaser and a link to an article that included this:

As a peer reviewer for a publisher, I recently read the manuscript for a book that was an intellectual attack on Christianity. What struck me was that the sources for the skeptical views the author was commending were leading scholars, while the Christian beliefs were presented through recollections of what the author had heard various people say during his childhood.

Perhaps the most visceral reaction is the one that is rooted — unconsciously or otherwise — in embarrassment at our younger selves. This is hauntingly captured in the chorus of a Susan Werner song: “I’m sure that you remember I was weird in school / I’m sorry about Jesus and all that.” The fact that we enacted our faith in goofy ways as a teenager, however, should not discredit Christian belief as an adult option any more than the fact that we expressed our romantic desires in a cringe-worthy manner should permanently rule out love.

Christ calls us to become like children again. Counterintuitively, part of what this might mean is that there comes a time to get over our mocking, knowing, puncturing phase and learn to be true grown-ups.

Thank you, Timothy Larsen, Evangelical, for this insight.

* * * * *

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

About readerjohn

I am a retired lawyer and an Orthodox Christian, living in a collapsing civilization, the modern West. There are things I'll miss when it's gone. There are others I won't. That it is collapsing is partly due to calculated subversion, summarized by the moniker "deathworks." This blog is now dedicated to exposing and warring against those deathwork - without ceasing to spread a little light.
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