Religious Wackjobs

Sean Bonner asks, “How bad can being possessed by Satan be?”

My guess is not as bad as being murdered by your parents.

If your family was anything like mine, you heard a lot about the devil growing up. Things not to do because they would attract the devil’s attention, things that were obviously satanic and to avoid, etc. Saying the word “Satan”, listneing to “rock and roll”, watching “MTV”, playing D&D, staying up past my bedtime, were all things would some how give the prince of darkness some kind of evil hard on and were forbiden at one time or another. But that was all pretty harmless, the freaks were the people in the mid 80′s flipping out about Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) and basically holding a witch hunt to find those nasty satanist’s who were abusing and sacrificing upwards of 60,000 people people a year.

Ryan Overbey write about Falungong being hidden in France.

The other side is that the French have a ruthlessly assimilative culture that disdains any public display of religious difference. I’ve mentioned this before in reference to the headscarf controversy- the issue is not about religious freedom or maintaining secularism, it’s about comforting French people that yes, we’re all completely French here.

I think banning the Falungong is a win-win for the French- they get to maintain their smug sense of secular Frenchness, plus they win brownie points with the “We’ll be a superpower soon. No, really!” Chinese.

Ryan Overbey later refers to this as the “Fuck You, Immigrants” policy.

Aaron Swartz learns about Unintelligent Design. You should too!

The fossil record shows dozens of animals that have died out or been improved. But evolution can’t explain how such complex things were developed when their parts don’t make sense alone. The “intelligent design” theory says that some clever creator made things. But then how do you explain the fossil record?

So how about a compromise: unintelligent design. Sure, there was a creator, but he obviously wasn’t particularly bright.

Ryan Overbey posts a great quote from Chinese Magical Medicine:

It would seem that a primal and obsessive fear of the Chinese male is of being devoured, or sucked dry. Apart from the snake, men feel gravely threatened by the tiger. Women born in the Year of the Tiger (1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, etc.) are deemed highly undesirable brides in Taiwan and Hong Kong today, and are often obliged to conceal or falsify their year of birth because prospective husbands dread their supposed rapacious, demonic propensities.

Michael Feldman points to a prayer against Internet pornography.

An Israeli rabbi has invented a prayer to help Jews overcome the guilt of visiting pornographic websites.

The benediction by Shlomo Eliahu says: “Please God, help me cleanse the computer of viruses and evil photographs which disturb and ruin my work…, so that I shall be able to cleanse myself (of sin).”

Joi Ito talked to some Important People™ at a breakfast.

An interesting point about religions in developing countries:

Religions are memories of history, rich with ritual and values. They need to create a double language, one for internal dialog and another to share ideas with others. One point I made was that many religions were designed for environments where people were still struggling to survive and the focus was on rituals and believes for such an environment. Many religions focused keeping people alive rather than providing them with a primary religious experience. For environments where the struggle to survive is not as big of an issue, it might be that religions need to help support people more with things such as their obsessions and ethics.

Joey deVilla links to Adventures of Confessions of Saint Augustine Bear.