Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Do Justice - book review

Do Justice: Our Call to Faithful LivingDo Justice: Our Call to Faithful Living by Nathan Brown
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

30 Essays by intelligent nice people who by way of religious delusion become tainted with bigotry and ignorance. While largely meaning well, with hearts of gold they ( especially ADRA) aim to do good in the world and yet when they go all "biblical" they remain bigoted towards LBGTI people, they have elements of an anti women stance in regard to planned parenthood. All ignore a woman's right to choose except for one author who mentions it, and then, just a single throw away line "pro life" is right. No nuance, classic binary thinking. eg the woman's health might be threatened ( ectopic pregnancy etc ), not a hint of thinking it through, just simple divine command approach.

Immersion in this deluded seventh day adventist belief set biases their world view away from reality. Young Earth creationism is ubiquitous throughout. The authors all agree that Adam and Eve were real ( or at least don't speak out against that ). YEC and with it science denial in literal ( archaeological) spades.

The various essays repeatedly defer to the 19th century woman Ellen G White as an authority (worryingly this includes health professionals!) Her hallucinations are accepted as "visions from God". She is regarded as a prophet (classic cult marker there).

The idea of "do justice" is a good one and helping the helpless is great. Adra ( adventist disaster relief association) does good work. Speaking up against injustice is excellent. Nathan Hawkins essay a highlight. Alas, one the down side he finishes with religious superstition ( EGW/ bible stuff).

They are just a stones throw from a Leviticus mentality. In fact they still don't eat pork, shellfish and think gay people are flawed. High praise for Rick Warren in the context of bible workers in Uganda sets a new low. Once their imaginary friend in the sky is thought to say something via their magic book collections ( bible and Ellen White books) they can't get outside the box. A made up being taking precedence over actual people is itself a form of injustice.

In terms of actually “doing justice” this book is deeply flawed. While they recommend ( and do) much good work, their outdated, backward world view in regard to the LBGTI community is deeply concerning. Their science denial stance does injustice to researchers. The SDA sect’s official view to this day remains one of injustice in several key areas of human rights. The authors all sing from the same hymn sheet claiming moral and intellectual high ground while the opposite is true.

View all my reviews

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ryan Bell's "Year without God" - will there be a sequel?

Now for the sequel to Ryan Bell's "Year without God" . 

Perhaps the previous year was more of a year of exploration of whether or not there be a god? Maybe it was largely a year without the trappings of "God"? I suspect that this year might be the first actual year without God in the sense that Ryan's ( tentative) conclusion is that he does not think that there is a god. 

It seems that the reaction from some christians, especially seventh day Adventist christians is laced with much more vitriol than him merely daring to question their belief set. An article in an official sda publication "Adventist Review" seem to me to be very condescending, ignorant and maybe even arrogant . The author seems hobbled by dogma , all his points contra Ryan  are underlined / accented with bible texts. 

For me, my year of questioning, discovering, thinking my way out of religious belief was interesting, invigorating and scary. 'Twas the year after that was my worst. The sense of loss etc, as Ryan said (in the last part of the video connected to his "Year without god article here"  ) - this, I found very depressing, my year after god was gut wrenchingly awful. It has improved for me. My five years an atheist - only in the last year has it really sunk in on all levels. The right thing intellectuals , emotionally etc. For me, the world  as it is, without magic imaginary beings ie authentic. I think it is past time for at least the aspects of some religions that lead to harm - to be at an end.

I suspect that Ryan's  year without "God" 
has just begun.