Peter Lang Verlag is launching a new series titled The History of Reception of Biblical Texts. Scholars working in the field of reception history are encouraged to send along their manuscripts to the series Editor, Jim West.
The Series is brand new and aims to
… include a broad range of topics within the category of biblical reception history. Utilizing cutting edge biblical scholarship, these books discover, explain, and examine how the Bible has functioned in a variety of contexts throughout history. These monographs cover a wide range of topics including religions, visual arts, literature, film, music, context and community.
The description is quite broad because it is our belief that the history of reception of Biblical texts is expansive and virtually all encompassing.
We would love to hear from you if you have any questions and if you have a proposal. Just drop the series editor an email at email@example.com.
So sayeth science. Well, actually, a “science writer.” I’ve scanned the article and could not find much in collaborative evidence. Don’t get me wrong. I want to believe that science says our metaphysical urges are hardwired and part of our evolutionary tract and thus suggest atheism is not tenable, or even human; however, to write as the author did with only bit quotes — no footnotes or the internet equivalent, links — is to seriously undermine his thesis:
Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.
This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”
I get articles quoting the original piece. However, I suspect that the quote comes from this article. If it does, and it does, the “science writer” misquotes Lawton who is paraphrasing Boyer. The context is this:
Some scientists – notably Pascal Boyer at Washington University in St Louis – have even claimed that atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think. They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.
Atheism (Photo credit: atheism) – because that is what you think, don’t you?
Indeed, the conclusions in Lawton’s original piece may in fact surprise the “science writer.” Basically, his assumptions go like this. Atheists can’t exist because humans are hardwired to express/desire the common elements found in religion. You should be able to see through that pretty easily.
But, I want to add another wrinkle, if I may. What if there are no believers or atheists? If free will is an illusion, then we are but what we are meant to be in some fashion. This doesn’t mean I am in favor of determinism, but if our “choices'” are shaped by external influences, then our choices are chained to that which surrounds us. Thus, if one is an atheist or a believer, then it has something to do with an outside influence and cannot be the individual’s choice. Thus, there is no conscious effort to believe in God (thus, no believers) and there is no free will analysis capable of producing an unbelief in God (thus, no atheists) because we follow the path laid out before us and can only work within those influences.
Anyway, the article is slightly better than what Jim West writes regarding evolution.
On Facebook, otherwise intelligent people are laughing at the Pope in what they assume is a theological issue, because if there is anyone not steeped in theology, it’s the Pope, right?
The deal is… the Pope blessed a parrot. This is not like a normal blessing, of course, but given the literalist language used by some…, well. You can find more about the blessing of animalshere. I assume they aren’t mocking the man simply because the parrot happened to be owned by a gay stripper. After all, the guy was a pilgrim in Rome. He was seeking Christ first, I assume.
They seem deft of context. Pope Francis has taken his name after St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Further, this Pope has made it a mission to bring theology to the people in small, but powerful ways. Third, it was announced this week that the Holy Father was preparing an encyclical on ecological responsibility. All of this fits neatly with the public blessing of the parrot, a man’s gift.
As a pet owner, I count them gifts from God.
Of course, I’m not saying I would rush to my two felines blessed by the Pope either.