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Fred’s Summer Reading

I had the opportunity to do some extra reading this summer and I want to recommend three books that I found uniquely helpful and interesting.  Two of these are big picture kinds of books and the other is a more scholarly but still a relatively easy read and simply fascinating.  

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Ayn Rand and Satanism

Ayn Rand was a proponent of egotistical self interest and laissez faire capitalism…To the members of the Church of Satan, this would all sound very familiar.   

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Soul Searching, the Rupert Syndrome, and the Snowflake Factor

Soul Searching
In 1907, a physician name Duncan MacDougall from Haverhill, Massachusetts, set out to not only prove the existence of the human soul, but that it had a physical presence and substance, much like the heart and lungs, flesh, bone and blood.  With the use of a large scale he recorded the weight of terminally ill patients at the moment of death, and discerned a drop of ¾ of an ounce.  He deduced the fleeting soul not only existed, but left the body for who knows where, weighing a mere 21 grams.
The human heart has always longed to believe little ‘ol me is made up of something more than the dust of the earth, to which all mortal flesh returns.  It has been part of the stuff of religious thinking since the beginning of human thought.  For all its persuasive power to drive human beings to believe what cannot be known, and behave in the most radically extreme ways sometimes, the promise of an afterlife and immortality often remains void of much critical examination.
This commentary build on the earlier article, “Moving Heaven and Hell,” which can be found in the Center’s Library.

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St. Peter’s Fish: Proper 9, Year A

It seems that Jesus’ body was hardly cold before his revolutionary, counter-cultural teachings were watered down and made safe for a society interested in economic survival in a controlling empire; in conforming, not transforming; in collaboration not covenant.

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Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous

Religious leaders should be held accountable when their irrational ideas turn harmful

Religious leaders should be held accountable when their irrational ideas turn harmful.

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Rising Up in Decline

After sixty years of unprecedented growth and development, nearly every meaningful social and economic indicator in the United States is shifting.

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Assuming the World Has Not Ended: 5th Sunday in Eastertide

Harold Camping says that the rapture described in 1 Thessalonias 4 will occur on May 21, 2011, and that God will destroy the entire Universe on October 21, 2011.  Unlike John the Baptist and Jesus, Camping offers no chance for salvation.

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