Saturday, December 24, 2011

Scrooge Is My Hero

Some of my peers have called my atheism militant, while others accuse me of being a relativist. I will admit that it can be difficult to reconcile my disgust for religion with my love of culture; I constantly battle with Evans-Pritchard’s granary, as it were. While there are values in religious practice, the most obvious being enculturation, I must draw the line at extrinsic conflict. It is one thing to say that conflict within a given culture maybe inherent to the customs and practices of that culture, and it is another thing entirely to assert the same between two societies or cultures. Religion seems to be the medium for that clashing of swords.

Anyway, to completely switch gears: I do celebrate Christmas. Furthermore, I am more likely to say “Merry Christmas” than “Happy Holidays,” because that is how I was raised. Despite the utterance of mere habit, I do actually enjoy Christmas, or at least the nostalgia of it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

End of Fall 2011

Well, that’s that! Another semester down, and this guy is officially a junior!

It used to be that when a break came along, I did not cherish it. I wanted more than anything to continue my classes, keep moving, keep going. I could never bring myself to read for fun, because I felt that any time that wasn't spent studying was time wasted. That’s not really the case now, but I’m still torn. I look on the ensuing break as a chance to breathe, but I still look at it as an opportunity to study what I want to study. Reading for “fun” pretty much means reading textbooks or edited volumes, as opposed to reading ahead in the textbooks for the coming semester. I might even let myself play a video game here and there. (I do fear playing Skyrim however, as it may put my relationship with my girlfriend and school in jeopardy.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The American Pantheon

Speaking to a women’s evangelical conference in April of 2010, Sarah Palin defended the union of church and state, saying that our Founding Fathers “were believers [in God]” (Sargent 2010). Palin’s statement is in line with much of political conservatism in the United States; there is a propensity to anchor the party line with an invocation of the Founding Fathers, but the Right are not solely responsible. In response to Palin, only days later, liberal television pundit Keith Olbermann retorted, quoting Thomas Jefferson in an 1823 letter to John Adams. The quote reveals that Jefferson regarded the story of Jesus and the virgin birth as fantastical as the Roman myth of Minerva born from the head of Jupiter (Cappon 1959). “A believer?!” says Olbermann, as if Jefferson is solely representative of the Founders.