Tag Archives: God

2015’s Cultural Battleground – Gordon’s Account

EDITOR’S NOTE: We end this year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in.  Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2015 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.

unnamed4Somewhere in our collective history someone decided to depict God as a bearded, old human, dwelling in the clouds above. The trend caught on and has been going strong for the past couple millennia. As ubiquitous as this portrayal of the almighty has become, we argue that this imagery is the root of some of the worst theology (and art, music, and video) out there today, and how problematic it’s become for both the believer and non-believer alike.

unnamedFew images have so perfectly captured the abject and hellish misery of war than this year’s photograph of the body of Aylan Kurdi- only 3 years old. A would-be refugee from the ongoing conflict in Syria, Aylan and his brother drowned after an overcrowded boat capsized during a desperate attempt to reach Europe. The photograph evokes the deepest feelings of sadness for the dead and sympathy for the living- but crucially missing from the emotional equation is anger. Read on to discover why pity for refugees simply doesn’t cut it. Continue reading

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On The Image Problem of Christ

Back when this blog started up, Evan and I had a discussion about a lecture given by Socialist novelist China Miéville. During that lecture, Miéville commented that “if one person hears what you’re saying and does something horrible, the issue’s probably with them. If hundreds of people consistently start doing horrible things, it’s probably time to re-examine your message.”

Those words returned to me a few months ago as I watched Family Guy’s “The 2000-Year-Old Virgin”, which depicted Jesus as a cowardly shyster, lying about being a virgin in order to bed Lois Griffin (and more than a few other women).

Family Guy: Season 13, Episode 6

Grotesque? Repulsive? Offensive beyond all description?

For me, it wasn’t.

It was certainly far from being funny, but readers, yours truly simply was not offended.

As sacrilegious and bitingly edgy as I’m sure the writers thought the story was going to be, I was merely disappointed by it. While I’m not going to excuse the laziness or insensitivity of Seth MacFarlane or any of Family Guy’s writer’s, I actually don’t think the majority of blame should be placed on them.

I think it should be placed on Christians.

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Sure, There’s The Afterlife [But Wait, There’s More!]

When deciding to write about this topic, I had to be honest with myself and admit that things have gotten pretty darn personal around here in the past. It’s not like I haven’t shared with you and potentially anyone else in the world with an internet connection that I think Ingrid Michaelson has “amazing” breasts. The main difference here, I think, is the general way I feel many of my peers [ie. fellow young Christian people] discuss faith, which is to say, rarely.

There appears to be a common sentiment of live and let live. “I’ll respect you if you respect me.” Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s great, it’s just that it all too often results in us [refer to my definition of peers above] not really talking about something that’s ostensibly important to us. All of that’s a topic to possibly be unpacked for another time, though, because today I’m going to try tackling the benefits of faith. To be more specific, the benefits of faith sans salvation. Continue reading

Shame Day: Noah Bashers

I haven’t seen Noah yet, but I also haven’t seen anything by Aronofsky that I didn’t like. You probably know him from such movies as The Black Swan, The Wrestler, and The Fountain– all tending to center on people pursuing their dreams and passions even at their own destruction.

Now in spite of his impressive filmography, Noah has nevertheless come under fire from several directions, though perhaps none more vocal than the conservative (heck, even moderate) Christian community. Continue reading

Shame Day: Beyonce, Macklemore and the Grammy Backlash

Apparently I should really start watching the Grammys, primarily because they are THE place to find shameful behavior, or at least that’s what I’ve been hearing from the variety of subcultures that I belong to and/or gather interesting information/perspectives from. So for today I will be shaming three different aspects of the Grammy Awards show:

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s “Drunk in Love” Performance

I’ve been reading various blogs and articles on Beyonce’s since she released her visual album as a big surprise to fans. In news that was a little less surprising, it was an instant best seller.


All over the internet, however, feminists were having a heyday trying to figure out if they could really consider Beyonce a feminist. Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: Evolution, Creation, and Debate

GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen, it has fallen to Kat and I to provide you with today’s topic. Some people would say we arrived at the topic gradually over time, making little changes along the way, others maintain it was created within seven minutes.

It’s evolution and creationism and the place of both in our society.

KAT: Exactly. So Gordon and I were tossing around some ideas for tonight’s CWC and arrived at this one. It was Gordon’s suggestion, so I thought maybe you (Gordon) wouldn’t mind describing why it came to mind.

GORDON: Well, it was posted in my Facebook feed that Bill Nye, acclaimed figure of the scientific community, will very shortly be debating creationist Ken Ham on the subject of creation vs. evolution. What really caught my attention though, and lead to me suggesting the topic, was that the person who had posted it was saying it was a shame that Bill Nye was doing this- that this debate would just legitimate something that had no standing.

Continue reading

Indiana Jones and the Religious Implications

First and foremost, apologies about the state of the blog next week. E&GT was postponed ’till tomorrow due me forgetting about it completely and watching a movie/drinking with my cousins last night. This morning’s replacement was delayed due to my being sick all day today.

The following contains spoilers to films you should’ve seen by now.

Moving forward- I watched one of the Honest Trailers videos on YouTube, this one about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it got me thinking . . . what kind of world does Indy live in?

The first and third films in the franchise concerned the Ark of the Convenant and the Holy Grail, respectively. Both are Judeo-Christian relics, and both are shown to have a great deal of power in the series; the former melts the face off of a bunch of Nazis and the latter brings Henry Jones Sr. [Sean Connery] back to full health from grievous wounds. Which is great.

Then take into account the second film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The Hindu goddess Kali is introduced, who is pretty into human sacrifice. This movie’s relic is actually five relics, sacred Sankara stones that do . . . something. All I’m really sure of is that Indy says things and they get super hot and burn the guy who says “kali ma shakti de” and pulls out another dude’s heart.

The first three movies of the franchise make a lot of sense in context with the protagonist’s profession, that of archaeologist. The main issue here is that the Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant are shown to draw their powers from the Judeo-Christian God, father of Jesus Christ, et cetera. High priest Mola Ram [Mr. Kali Ma] finds his supernatural abilities in Kali, I assume. This can be explained away with the following-

“Kali” and the source of her powers originate in the demonic. This resolves the idea of an actual healing Holy Grail existing in the same universe as magical burning stones. God and Kali are essentially just opposite sides of the same coin, the divine and the diabolic. Which is great. We’ve reconciled the two, fantastic.

Enter Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The relic: the skull of a genuine extraterrestrial. The source of its powers: genuine extraterrestrials. Which leaves us- where?

As an audience we’re left to believe that a divine Jesus Christ, death goddess Kali, and aliens all co-exist on some level. The addition of that last source of otherworldly power really throws a wrench into the works.

Sure, I guess we could say that the source of both the divine [for both Judeo-Christian and Hindu faiths] is in the extraterrestrial, that these aliens seeded the world with their technology or power or however else you want to say it, but really? There’s a definite stretch to suspend disbelief on the part of the audience. I mean, sure, we can accept face-melting Arks, but aliens?

And that’s the problem that, I personally, have with the fourth Indiana Jones movie.