Category Archives: culture

A thread of Christianity present in Socrates — an excerpt from ‘Phenomenology as a Mystical Discipline’


The late Colin Wilson, writing for Philosophy Now:

“In the next chapter of Beyond the Outsider, ‘The Strange Story of Modern Philosophy’, I begin by considering the ‘world rejection’ of Socrates, who tells his followers that since the philosopher spends his life trying to separate his soul from his body, his own death should be regarded as a consummation. This is consistent with his belief that only spirit is real, and matter is somehow unimportant and unreal. This notion would persist throughout the next two thousand years, harmonising comfortably with the Christian view that this world is unimportant compared to the next.”

from Phenomenology as a Mystical Discipline | Issue 56 | Philosophy Now.via Phenomenology as a Mystical Discipline | Issue 56 | Philosophy Now.

‘Religious Trauma Syndrome: How some organized religion leads to mental health problems’


In an interview with Psychologist Valerie Tarico, Dr. Marlene Winell says,

“Religious trauma syndrome (RTS) is a set of symptoms and characteristics that tend to go together and which are related to harmful experiences with religion. They are the result of two things: immersion in a controlling religion and the secondary impact of leaving a religious group. The RTS label provides a name and description that affected people often recognize immediately. Many other people are surprised by the idea of RTS, because in our culture it is generally assumed that religion is benign or good for you. Just like telling kids about Santa Claus and letting them work out their beliefs later, people see no harm in teaching religion to children.

“But in reality, religious teachings and practices sometimes cause serious mental health damage. The public is somewhat familiar with sexual and physical abuse in a religious context. As Journalist Janet Heimlich has documented in, Breaking Their Will, Bible-based religious groups that emphasize patriarchal authority in family structure and use harsh parenting methods can be destructive.

“But the problem isn’t just physical and sexual abuse. Emotional and mental treatment in authoritarian religious groups also can be damaging…”

Read the entire interview at: Religious Trauma Syndrome: How some organized religion leads to mental health problems.via Religious Trauma Syndrome: How some organized religion leads to mental health problems.

‘Wear Blue & White Friday For Charleston Victims’


From WSPA.com:

On Friday, thousands of people will be wearing blue and white to show support for the Charleston victims and their families. The facebook event for “Blue and White Friday” says it was organized to show that the entire state is united.

In Simpsonville, Extreme Tees has been flooded with orders of blue and white t-shirts.

Bruce Johnson of Extreme Tees says he’s been busy trying to keep up with the demand.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this, my phone lines have melted down, my emails are full, got people lined up 15, 20 deep at the counter trying to order,” Johnson said.

The shirts are being sold at cost for just $5.00 – with donations going to Charleston to the families of the victims.

For “Blue and White Friday” you can wear any t-shirt with those colors or just display a South Carolina flag, tie blue and white ribbons on your car, or even make your Facebook profile picture a South Carolina flag or palmetto.

via Wear Blue & White Friday For Charleston Victims.

Cornel West as jazz man, as blues man, as ‘a Christian but not a Puritan’


This is a great interview, not only for its content (Dr. West’s responses are energizing), but also for the dynamic way in which it was filmed. Dr. West has several connections to make, touching on jazz, blues, classical music, death, literature, religion, and of course philosophers. Highly recommended!

‘A Question for Pastor Lindell: What Isn’t True About Mark Driscoll?’ by Warren Throckmorton


From A Question for Pastor Lindell: What Isn’t True About Mark Driscoll? by Warren Throckmorton:

In his intro (I should have video up later today), Pastor John Lindell told his congregation that most of what one reads about Mark Driscoll on the web isn’t true. Dan Kellogg at Gold Creek Community Church said the same thing.

My question for these two men is: What isn’t true? If you can show me anything untrue on my blog, I will correct it. Always have.

By making such a general statement, these men mislead their flocks (a serious responsibility in the Bible) and cast doubt on the well established facts.

Read the rest of Throckmorton’s post at: A Question for Pastor Lindell: What Isn’t True About Mark Driscoll?.

 

‘Lancaster pastor shot by deputies at business dies’ | The Charlotte Observer


Sad, disturbing, troubling news from the Upstate:

The pastor of New Harvest Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, S.C., was shot by sheriff’s deputies after he pulled a gun on his estranged wife in a local business. He later died.

From WBTV via the Charlotte Observer:

According to SLED a woman went into the store, and her estranged husband went in after her a short time later. The two talked for a moment before the man pulled out a gun. The store owner then called 911.

Members of the New Harvest Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster confirmed to WBTV that the man was their pastor, 60-year-old Darrell Morgan.

Deputies from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said when they arrived at the scene Morgan, who was in the doorway of the business, made threats and pointed his gun at them.

Two deputies fired and struck Morgan….

via Lancaster pastor shot by deputies at business dies | The Charlotte Observer The Charlotte Observer

On ‘Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide’ from The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss


Tim Ferriss is one of the most interesting guys out there. In this long and worthwhile post, he talks about a time of depression and suicidal ideation.

I’m linking to and excerpting the post not merely as a public service announcement, although that aspect is certainly critical.

Ferriss’s post fits with the overall purpose of my blog. Unfortunately, the research is consistent and clear: for many who have suffered religious authoritarianism, spiritual abuse, or cult dynamics, suicide can be a real, substantial temptation.

Ferriss doesn’t seem to be a religious man in any traditional sense of the word, but he makes an interesting observation:

I personally believe that consciousness persists after physical death, and it dawned on me that I literally had zero evidence that my death would improve things. It’s a terrible bet. At least here, in this life, we have known variables we can tweak and change. The unknown void could be Dante’s Inferno or far worse. When we just “want the pain to stop,” it’s easy to forget this. You simply don’t know what’s behind door #3.  — via Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss.

Read the entire post: Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss.

Some Christian beliefs make matters worse, insisting that God ordains each sin (and suicide is considered a sin).

However logically and systematically consistent some theological thinkers might be, the idea of God ordaining horrible things is abhorrent.

At very least we could acknowledge that an impassible God becoming incarnate to die in place of his creatures is anything but logical. Perhaps loving, but not logical.

Here one of G.K. Chesterton’s quotes pops into mind: “The mad man is not the man who has lost his reason. The mad man is the man who has lost everything except his reason.”

Maybe some theological thinkers have been orthodox and mad.

Logical and insane.

Logic and analysis are good. Problems come along when a mind becomes so focused on and so obsessed with the parts that it can no longer see the connections and the wholes. No one can live while seeing only fragments and pieces.

Which reminds me of a thought that, I think, came from C.S. Lewis: for the modernistic scientist, a real bird is a bird opened on the dissection table, pinned down and pulled apart. In an earlier time, a real bird was a bird on the wing, with its song.

Everyone knows the bird has guts. But even in a natural order sparked by a blind watchmaker, who would think the bird exists merely in relation to the functioning of its internal organs? The bird exists in relation to the rest of the natural order — bugs, fish, soil, water, and trees, as well as humans and human culture. We appreciate these relationships — they’ve been there as long as we can remember, as far back as we can see in art and literature.

Endless dissection is useful, even helpful, but discoveries made through analysis are never for themselves, but for better understandings of wholes.

Over-analysis of a single situation leads into a singular focus, a mental microscope on a single cell, with no context for its wider circumstances, its situations and connections. The suicidal person might feel like this one bad circumstance is all there is. But there is so much more.

So for some scientists and some theologians, reasoning has been a force for good, for making connections and seeing wholes, for continuing to live in spite of extraordinary difficulties.

They use reasoning to see the connections and the wholes — in other words, the meaningfulness of everything that exists.

Also see:

Walker Percy’s passage on “the ex-suicide” from his book Lost in the Cosmos.