Partially Clips comics

I'm not a big reader of web comics (because I'd do nothing else if I really got started on them), but found myself perusing the whole archive of the great Partially Clips.

The links below are to a small double-handful of strips that touch on themes of religion, faith, and reason, even just a little. In no particular order:

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1158&c=1

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1279&b=1&c=1

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1012

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1124&c=1#strip

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1083

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1004

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1319&c=1

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1517&b=1&c=1

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1349&c=1

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1341&c=1

The faithful, of course, will refuse to see themselves skillfully parodied in those panels.

Readeth thou more

SPORE game for Creationists

Heh. You know the new Electronic Arts game SPORE, which has Creationists screeching "foul" because its digital creations - gasp! - evolve throughout the levels of the game?

Among the Customer Reviews for the game at Apple's iPhone/iPod App Store, someone named Lost in Iceland asks:

Will they offer a Creationist version that only has one level, already finished??

: ) Readeth thou more

Pac Zach Man

PZ Myers communion wafer incident

Okay. The "wafer wars" – the "desecration" of a cheap communion wafer by a Florida student and later PZ Myers, followed by a righteous uproar among Catholics and demagogues – is past its peak, so I'm late with this. But still:

The hubbub put a picture in my mind of an atheist "Pac Man" gobbling up wafers, pursued by outraged fundie "ghosts". Drawing up the cheap gag, the image got bigger until it reached what I'm attaching here. Readeth thou more

Escape from the Amish

The Amish? Those gentle, hardworking Luddites that won't lift a hand in anger even if you smear ice cream onto an Amish farmer's nose?

It looks like life among the Amish isn't all butter churning and barn raising. There's also the rape, incest, child beatings, misogyny, animal abuse, and religious brainwashing that take place among the Old Order Amish, according to one amazingly brave girl who had the head to see that she was in a bad place, and the nerve to make an escape.

I'm not going to blame religion here as the cause for the ills she describes. They're the kind of nastiness you'll find in any closed, insular world – heck, in the big, wide world too. As the story takes pains to point out, there are also praiseworthy qualities in the Amish upbringing, and the bad qualities certainly can't be taken as representing all members of the community.  Readeth thou more

The "woo" gets heavy: Steve Pavlina "Being Psychic" podcast

You may know of blogger and podcaster Steve Pavlina. One of many writers on the topic of "personal development", Steve is ahead of the blogging crowd on name recognition, and is frequently mentioned among the elite of "Internet celebrities".

I've paid attention to his work on and off; there's often some good inspirational or practical content in there, along with some feel-good fluffiness that doesn't speak to me (though I begrudge neither the appeal it may have to others, nor Steve's success in gaining fans).

The thing that dropped Steve from my must-listen podcast list was a positive mention by him, many months ago, of his wife Erin's work as a "psychic medium". "Great, Steve", I thought, "your wife is a charlatan and you're happy with that. Bravo." It lowered the fellow a few notches in my book (though in all fairness to him, I know that brutal objectivity about one's better half is a perilous path to tread : ).

In early June, a new entry appeared in iTunes: Steve Pavlina podcast #021, "Being Pyschic". I let it sit ignored for a long time, but my eye hit it repeatedly. "Being psychic? I know his wife has something going on with the woo - but is Steve serious about this too?" Finally, I gave it a listen.

The Pavlinas are beyond serious - way beyond. Maybe I'm just not experienced enough in what transpires out there in the woo industry, but I found it pretty jaw-dropping. Get ready: Readeth thou more

An "oops" moment: Did I desecrate the Body of Christ?

Via the invincible PZ Myers, here's the kind of "they've-got-to-making-this-up" story that passes for reality in religiondom:

A student went to Catholic mass, and instead of chewing the communion wafer, walked off with it. (Instead of respectfully, piously swallowing and digesting and defecating it.)

A cracker. (See: IT'S A GODDAMNED CRACKER)

The Catholic community is in an uproar. The student has desecrated and defiled the Body of Christ. He has commited a mortal sin and sacrilege. There's talk of disciplinary action at his school, and accusations of "beyond a hate crime".

It's got to be a joke, right? No. Catholics worldwide are seizing this opportunity to prove that they are not going to take second place to fundamental Islamic fanatics in medieval superstitious lunacy. 

Anyway. I have a confession (or is it Confession?) to make. I may have desecrated the Body of Christ myself. Readeth thou more

There's the word I was looking for: dogma

In Reframing the argument: Is it "religion vs science"? , I mused on how I'm not too keen on battling "religion" per se. Oh, sure, I'm all for bashing religion in the sense that it's usually meant: a collection of beliefs – often harmful ones at that – not based on evidence. But "religion" can also be applied to something as benign as "a sense of awe" or "curiosity over whether there might be 'something more'".

In addition, attacks on "religion" invariably become confused with attacks on stained glass and soup kitchens and kind Salvation Army volunteers. Sure, it's dumb to read an anti-religious stance that way, but people will do it. In short, it's tricky and sometimes ineffective to target an enemy whose definition isn't even agreed upon by all. Readeth thou more

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