During my time as a Christian and as a pastor I collected lots of books. It's been 2.5 years since I stopped believing in the Christian faith, so most of those books are irrelevant to me. Last night Sara and I went through our bookshelves and pulled out the books that we no longer want. I'm offering them for sale either as a group (my preference) or individually. I'd like to sell them locally, but I can ship them, too. This would make a nice addition to a church's or pastor's library.
I did keep a few books, including the most important texts to a few religions: a Bible, a Koran, a Book of Mormon and Dianetics (Scientology). I also kept a few apologetics books, a couple of secular academic books about Christianity, a book teaching the Biblical doctrine of geocentricism and several books from my time in the Church of Christ.
Below you'll find a partial list of the books I have for sale. There are also about a dozen Bibles of various types. If you want to stop by and look through the boxes, contact me. You might even leave with a few free books. For prices, I'm going to consult the used items on Amazon.com. But I'll consider any offers.
I love Christmas. I'm not sharing these links to attack the holiday, but to open a discussion about which ideas and stories of Christmas are true and which are myth. For me, Christmas is a time of love, family and sharing. It's a bright cheery island in the long winter, something to look forward to. The stories told about Christmas are instructive and heartwarming, but as we mature we must sort out fact from fiction. In this series of articles, Bishop John Shelby Spong addresses the historicity of the nativity stories and what we can learn from them, even if they aren't literally true.
I look forward to a spirited and friendly discussion.
Here is Jerry Coyne giving a talk based on his book, Why Evolution Is True:
I thought it was a good presentation of the evidence for evolution, though he veers a little off topic toward the end. He points out that acceptance of evolution is lower in America than almost any other developed nation and he explores why that might be and how it could be changed. It is a little strange that many people are unconvinced by the evidence that evolution happened, yet they are convinced that a person came back from the dead based on hearsay accounts from decades after the fact. Oops, now I'm getting off topic.
Anyway, check out the video and keep in mind that it is possible to accept evolution without giving up your faith.
What if police coverage worked like health coverage?
Fortunately, we all share the cost of providing police protection to everyone.
Much of the discussion our nation is having about health care is centered around the advantages and disadvantages of various proposed reforms. Maybe we need to give a little more attention to the problems themselves. I understand that conservatives have many legitimate concerns about a greater role for government in our health care system. Those concerns should play an important part in the national dialogue. But what I'm not seeing from conservatives is an acknowledgment of the problems with our current system.
A Harvard study (PDF) concluded that 44,000 Americans die each year because they lack health care coverage. That's 14 times the number of deaths from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Many Americans enthusiastically supported two costly wars because they felt this would prevent future attacks like 9/11. As tragic as those attacks were, their cost in human lives and in dollars pales in comparison to our health care crisis.
As I've pointed out before, in the United States we spend a greater share of our money on healthcare than any other nation in the world. Yet by many metrics, we are less healthy than the other developed nations (all of whom have some sort of universal coverage).
So before I advocate any specific reform, I would like to hear some reactions to the problems of American healthcare, especially from conservatives. What do you have to say to those who cannot get coverage because of pre-existing conditions? Setting aside specifics for a moment, can we all agree that it would be a good thing to have everyone covered? Or would you prefer that things go on basically as they are now?
A group was handing out these fake money tracts at the parade on Saturday in Billings, MO:
The highlighted line reads:
God's perfect justice demands an infinite punishment in hell for breaking just one commandment.
What an impossibly unfair system! This bit of bad news is crucial groundwork for any evangelist trying to win a soul, but why should the target accept such an idea? I now see this as the church inventing a disease so they can sell you the cure.
You do not deserve to be tortured.
You do not need to be saved.
We went to visit my parents this afternoon and my dad pulled out his newest toy, a remote control boat:
That thing is fast. I told him he should rig a line and lure on the back and and use it for fishing.