A Morning Peacock of Links (7/19)

Christianity – The Worst Source of Evil?

Those who would claim the high ground of rational and historical argument ought to sit still for some. And that argument might show–I think it does–that Christianity is not inherently hateful or violent. Instead, it would show that faithful (rather than token or cynical) adherence to Christianity generally makes a measurable positive difference: in terms of the hospitals and schools and science you mention, as well as leading markers of social and psychological health such as lasting, happy marriages, high levels of volunteerism–and, one should note, an ethical structure that actually prizes lasting, happy marriages and high levels of volunteerism.

State of the Sexual Union

A theological primer on sexual union. In it, the authors make a great point about how preserving its sanctity is best achieved not by preventative measures alone (such as fear of STDs, because the bible says so, etc) but by building up and understanding the importance of God, marriage and the human body:

The state of the sexual union is that too many men and women lack a beautiful vision, anchored in good theology, of the body, sex, marriage and chastity. Rediscovering that beautiful vision in good theology is probably the most important thing that the Christian community can do to strengthen chastity.

A couple may have all the Bibles in the world — and Christian dating books on proper boundaries — stacked up between them, but if their vision of chastity is as shallow as “don’t have sex before marriage because the Bible says so” and “you might get STDs,” they will probably find a way to knock those books down.

Could an atheist be elected president?

A pretty balanced and interesting discussion on the following topic:

Here’s the question: Would you be very comfortable, somewhat comfortable, somewhat uncomfortable, or very uncomfortable with an atheist serving as president? 80% of all Republicans, 70% of Democrats, and 56% of all Independents agree – they want a believer in the White House. Christian, Jew, Muslim. Democrats would be more uncomfortable with an atheist president than a Muslim president, according to the survey.

What does this survey say about us? Do we believe that a religious person would be better handling health care, commanding the military or advocating tax policy? Or are we more comfortable thinking that somebody who believes in a higher power is in the White House? Do you have to believe in God to protect Medicare? Must a president hold values that come from religion?

Could an atheist be elected president? And perhaps more to the point: Is it reasonable to hold that a president who believes in God would do a better job than one who does not?

An Artist’s Self-Portraits While On Various Drugs

The cocaine-induced self-portrait was straight up scary. Also, I had no clue that computer duster was a recreational drug. Very interesting drawings nonetheless:

Performance artist/poet Bryan Lewis Saunders has been drawing self-portraits every day since 1995. He’s a particular looking man — balding, bespectacled, bearded, with a chipped, fragmented forehead, a long scaly body of a snake, and pink liquid undulating flesh. Wait, no, that’s him on crystal meth, Adderall, and two bottles of cough syrup. “I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence,” he explains. Each self-portrait reveals a particular toll the chemicals are taking on his motor skills, the aesthetic detours and embellishments they inspire, and a bit, the actual experience of each drug. “Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage,” he says. “I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time. I only take drugs that are given to me.” Art is hard, kids. Don’t try this one at home.

Instruments of Robot Repair 

I didn’t recognize most of the instruments, but it was a fun way to kill 5 minutes:

From analog drum machines to vintage guitars, orchestral percussion to circuit-bent children’s toys, 1980s Russian synthesizers to Indian harmoniums…these are the instruments of Robot Repair.


Why “What Do You Do?” is an Attack on Manhood

This isn’t to say that the question in and of itself should be permanently banned. At the same time, as the article points out, the answer to this question does not define who we are:

My suggestion is that we replace the obnoxious and demeaning question of “What do you do?” as somehow defining of maleness into “What do you love?”  The pecking order would disappear. With inspiration, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And instead of repeating again and again the shadows of manhood we’d get down to the real thing, unique to each of us and without shame.


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