Archive for October, 2010

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Book Review: American Taliban

October 28, 2010

American politics is fascinating in the same way a car-crash, invasive medical procedure or messy celebrity divorce is fascinating. You know it’s wrong to stare, but you crave every detail of the whole sorry business so you gawp dumbly at it, unable to take it all in.

Broadly speaking, there are two political parties in the States – the Republicans and the Democrats. When I was younger, my mental picture of the world had these mapped nicely to English equivalents – the Republicans were Conservatives (pro-business, pro-rich-people) and the Democrats were Labour (pro-social-equality, pro-poor-people in the sense of wanting to help them). A nice simple picture, marred by two facts, namely that the colours were the wrong way round (Republicans = red, Democrats = blue), and if it ever had any truth at all (doubtful) this mapping now is entirely wrong. A more accurate picture would have the Democrats as Conservatives (perhaps on the left of the party) and the Republicans – well, they’re just off the scale.

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Rescuing Jesus from the Christians

October 19, 2010

Following on from my previous post, this was my dad’s essay on the subject of “Rescuing Jesus from the Christians”. One of these days I’ll explain to him how he can publish things on his own blog, but until then it will live as a guest post on this one. In my objective assessment of the two rival posts, I think I score higher for “use of profanity” but my dad wins on “actually knowing what he’s talking about”. Enjoy.

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Reclaiming Jesus from the Christians

October 14, 2010

Recently, my dad advised me to read Jesus & Philosophy by Don Cupitt. As a dutiful son I did, after which I suggested (with tongue slightly in cheek) that it would be a worthwhile project to try to reclaim Jesus from the Christians, who seem to have done a pretty good job of sabotaging his message and generally making a hash of things. Amused by this notion, he suggested that we should both write a 500ish word essay on the subject. This is what I came up with – probably quite a few rough edges (I put it together over several train journeys and don’t want to spend huge amounts of time editing it), and you really should read the book to get some of the background, but here it is anyway…

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Science is Vital – a letter to my MP

October 10, 2010

Once again, I thought I’d attempt a letter to my MP, Chris White. The last letter didn’t get a response as far as I can remember, but maybe that was because I sent it just after the election – perhaps it got lost somewhere. This one is about the Science is Vital campaign, which is concerned about the potentially devastating effect of cuts in science funding. It’s based on a sample letter on their site, if past experience is anything to go by I’ll notice an embarrassing typo or slip in it somewhere and spend some time kicking myself.

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