A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘religion

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes the rivalry between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, observes claims of persecution by evangelical Christians of followers of traditional African religions in Brazil, notes that separatism is unpopular in Scotland’s border regions, considers the problems of a beetle theme park in the penumbra of Japan’s Fukushima, looks at a Palestinian-American model, and considers rap music in Iran.
  • The Atlantic notes how events have vindicated the American Congress’ Barbara Lee, the only person not to vote in favour of granting unlimited war-making powers to the American presiden after 9/11, looks at the existential problems of Yiddish outside of ultra-Orthodox communities, and examines Stephen King’s thinking on how to teach writing.
  • Bloomberg notes the water problems of Detroit, looks at proposals to give Scotland home rule and Euroskepticism among the English, considers claims that Scotland might need huge reserves to back up its currency, notes ways sanctions threaten oil deals with Russian companies, examines Poland’s natural gas issues and those of the rest of central and southeastern Europe, notes Ukraine’s exclusion of Russian companies from a 3G cellular auction, notes the reluctance of Scottish banks to support an independent Scotland, and observes how domestic protectionism in Argentina is boosting Uruguay’s beef exports to Europe.
  • The Bloomberg View argues that it should be possible to cleanly break up even established nation-states, is critical of what Colombia is doing to Venezuelan refugees, argues that the achievements of social insects like acts are irrelevant to more complex beings like us, and suggests Britain has no place to criticize China over Hong Kong.
  • CBC notes the strength of Inuit oral history following the discovery of one of the Franklin Expedition’s ships, notes that the type of cancer that killed Terry Fox is now highly curable, and notes NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s proposal of a $15 an hour federal minimum wage.
  • The Inter Press Service notes Uzbekistan’s fear of Russia motivating a look for eastern allies and suggests that an anti-discrimination law can worsen the plight of sexual minorities in Georgia.
  • MacLean’s notes that Mexican economic development is good for Canada, looks at Catalonian secessionism, and suggests that a new EI tax credit won’t help Canadian business boost employment.
  • Open Democracy looked at the likely outcome of Crimean elections under Russian rule.
  • The Toronto Star revisited the unsettled state of affairs in the Central African Republic.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • blogTO identifies the ten most important buildings in Toronto.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at evidence for plate tectonics in Europa’s ice crust.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of methane, carbon monoxide and ammonia in the atmospheres of some brown dwarfs and looks at implications of variability in brown dwarf atmospheres.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes China’s plans to launch a second space station into orbit.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ notes how Germany’s Left Party is continuing its strong support from Russia.
  • Joe. My. God. observes how Ted Cruz’ support for Israel was unpopular at an event for Middle Eastern Christians, including many Palestinian Christians.
  • Language Hat notes some signs of cultural cosmopolitanism in the Stalinist Soviet literacy scene.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that global warming will devastate forests in the western United States.
  • Otto Pohl notes the arbitrariness of race and geography in bounding Africa.
  • Discover‘s Out There and the Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla both note Rosetta’s views of its target comet.
  • The Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle chronicles with photos the story of the vole he found eating his potatoes.
  • Towleroad notes a mother in Alabama who is trying to cut her dead son’s husband out of his estate.
  • Why I Love Toronto celebrates Queen Street West.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that diasporas of Russian minorities should also be recognized as Russian, argues that Putin is cornered, and notes the significant differences between Estonians and Russophones in Estonia in beliefs about religious and the supernatural.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World notes controversy over whether Ukraine should try to cut a deal with Russia.

[LINK} “With US youth losing religion, evangelicals struggle to spread ‘good news’”

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I linked to Ben Piven’s Al Jazeera America article about the issues of American evangelical Christianity in last night’s roundup, but it’s sufficiently interesting to me that I wanted to give this article a particular link. Whereto American evangelical Christianity in a changing America?

“I have been given the task of sharing the gospel,” said Brandon McCauley, an 18-year-old who just finished his senior year at Lebanon High School in Ohio, where he ran a lunchtime Bible study program. “I am offering you the opportunity to experience Jesus Christ,” McCauley exhorted fellow students, as he debated whether to pursue the ministry instead of higher education.

“I like being different,” said McCauley, explaining his motivation to tell classmates that they will end up in hell if they aren’t saved. “If you sin, you deserve death,” McCauley yelled, before getting choked up and concluding, “I’m the reason that He had to die … I am accepting that You died on the cross for me.”

American adults under 30 increasingly identify with no religion whatsoever, but some teenagers on the edge of this demographic are enthusiastically embracing faith. As the fraction of unaffiliated, agnostic, and atheist surpasses one-third of young people, proselytizing denominations are trying to win over the so-called “nones.”

[. . .]

If economic development leads to secularization, then stagnant growth and chronic unemployment in certain parts of the country would seem to drive religious resurgence. But at the same time, the ranks of the unaffiliated have grown even among the non-college-educated. This suggests the trend is not just spurred on by the skeptical collegiate atmosphere. Many Americans born after 1980 appear not to be seeking new answers, leading to decreased or flatlining interest in evangelical branches such as the Southern Baptist Convention.

“With respect to evangelical Protestants in particular, their share of the population is holding steady,” said Greg Smith, associate director of research at the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life. He said the conservative group’s numbers are “pretty stable … 28 percent of adults describe themselves as ‘evangelical’.”

Smith attributed the declining white evangelical Protestant share of the U.S. population to a larger racial and ethnic shift. While just one-fifth of millennial adults identify as evangelical, the Hispanic population is increasingly moving from Catholicism towards evangelical churches.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 9, 2014 at 7:36 pm

[LINK] “Mother of dead Canadian jihadi launches de-radicalization effort”

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CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault reports on the efforts of a mother of a Canadian who died fighting with the Islamic State to set up a deradicalization effort for returnees. Christianne Boudreau, mother of Damian Clairmont who I noted this January was one of several Canadians killed waging Islamist terrorist campaigns at that time.

I might understand where she’s coming from in wishing CSIS told her about her son, but the police and security agencies had no way of knowing what her sympathies were.

Also: Is it wrong for me to think, still, that the world is best rid of her son if he wanted to travel around the world to murder?

The mother of Damian Clairmont, a Calgary man who in January died fighting with ISIS in Syria, says she’s tired of waiting for Canada to take action on de-radicalization. She is starting her own program for families of Canadian jihadis so other mothers don’t lose their sons to the clutches of extremism.

“It’s a lot to take on, but I don’t know what else to do,” Christianne Boudreau said.

“I have no choice at this point, because I can’t just let Damian die in vain and that’s the end of it, and just walk away from it and let it happen to another family … I can’t.”

In her Calgary basement office, Boudreau’s computer fights for space on her small desk with copies of letters that were sent over the past year and rarely answered; to the Prime Minister, to the chief of the Calgary police, to the head of CSIS.

Her questions were broad and pained; How is it that even though CSIS was apparently watching and worrying about her son’s growing extremism, no one informed her until it was too late and he was already in Syria?

In one letter she asks, “If my son was under surveillance for two years in respect to the suspicion of his participation in a potential terrorist organization, how was he able to obtain a passport two months prior to his leaving Canada?”

She has also been desperate for emotional support for both herself and her other children, who are still trying to fathom how their big brother Damian could transform so profoundly and become a fighter with ISIS.</blockquote?

Written by Randy McDonald

September 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait notes that claims Arctic ice cover is recovering are ill-founded.
  • blogTO shares some of the most notable catastrophes from Rob Ford’s days coaching high school football.
  • Centauri Dreams shares a new map of Triton, Neptune’s moon.
  • The Cranky Sociologists map the distribution of different religions and the unaffiliated around the world.
  • Crooked Timber has at the old canard about Silent Spring‘s DDT ban killing millions with malaria.
  • Discover‘s Crux notes how GPS location services owe their existence to relativity.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining how rocky asteroids can be detected around white dwarfs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales note that tuberculosis was in the Americas before Columbus.
  • Eastern Approaches notes an appeal by Polish intellectuals to support Ukraine.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas wonders what if, instead of imagining worst-case scenarios for new technologies, we imagine positive things.
  • Language Hat comments on a new book on Russia in the Napoleonic Wars that mentions how Latvian was used as a code.
  • Language Log notes that technology is not dehumanizing us.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the biggest split in Ukraine is between supporters of European and Eurasian integration, and notes that Putin’s Russia has kickstarted a new era of global politics.
  • James Nicoll reviews Heinlein’s juveniles.
  • Otto Pohl notes that modern Kazakhstan can trace its history directly only to the Soviet era, not to earlier states.
  • Registan looks at the Chinese geopolitical concept of continentalism.
  • Towleroad looks at a controversial gay club poster featuring two notable male writers kissing.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reminds readers of the Crimean annexation and doesn’t think eastern Ukraine has a compelling moral case at all for secession.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the economic costs to Tatarstan of remaining Russian, reports that Russian neo-Nazis are fighting in Ukraine, looks at how past actions are being seen in a more biased light, and quotes Vladimir Lukin to the effect that Russia wants Donbas to stay in Ukraine so as to prevent the country from looking to NATO.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO notes the continuing problems of Toronto’s food truck project.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the differences between transit and radial velocity detection methods for planets and the relative advantages for detecting planets in stellar habitable zones, and links to a paper describing how hot Jupiters can become super-Earths.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the changing strategic situation of Australia.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that most of IKEA’s photo shoots are actually computer-assembled from stock imagery.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the impending retirement of Berlin’s gay mayor Klaus Wowereit.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that anti-Obamacare red states are hurting their poor citizens.
  • New APPS Blog considers the question of what makes happy children.
  • Towleroad notes anti-gay persecution by Lebanese police and quotes the mayor of Kazakhstan’s capital city talking badly about non-heterosexuals.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the emigration of Kazakhs and even Uighurs from Xinjiang to Kazakhstan, touches upon Western disillusionment with Russia, notes the possible impending defection of most of the Ukrainian churches of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and reports on the relocation of a Ukrainian factory to Russia.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • 3 Quarks Daily considers the ethics of suicide.
  • Slate‘s Atlas Obscura blog shares photos of Second World War relics in Alaska’s Aleutian islands.
  • The Big Picture shares images of Australia’s doll hospital.
  • blogTO lists five things Toronto could learn from New York City.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes China’s growing presence in Latin America and observes that apes and hmans share the same kind of empathy.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the coming out of an Irish beauty queen.
  • Marginal Revolution expects inequality to start growing in New Zealand.
  • Discover‘s Out There looks forward to the new age of exploration of Pluto and the rest of the Kuiper belt.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares beautiful photo mosaics of Neptune from Voyager 2.
  • The Search examines in an interview the use of a hundred million photo dataset from Flickr for research.
  • Torontoist notes a mayoral debate on Toronto heritage preservation.
  • Towleroad observes that a pro-GLBT advertisement won’t air on Lithuanian television because of restrictive legislation.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Ukrainian refugees are being resettled in the North Caucasus to bolster Slav numbers and predicts the quiet decline of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
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