2010: best posts, and personal reflections

Here are what I think are my best posts of 2010:

As I hinted at in that last post of mine, this has been a difficult year for me, culminating in my ongoing divorce proceedings after my then wife unexpectedly told me that she considered that whole “forsaking all others” thing as less of a solemn vow and more of a guideline. I’ve taken a long look at my priorities as a result, and resolved to spent less time arguing with idiots on the Internet (so, if you see me back on the Premier Christian Radio forums, remind me of my resolution) and more time going out dancing. There’ll probably be fewer posts of substance from me in 2011; however, I’m perfectly happy to argue with sane and sensible people, and I doubt I’ll be able to resist that urge entirely.

Thanks to my friends and family for all their support, and to the strangers who wrote to ask where I’d gone during the hiatus in my postings. May 2011 be a better year for us all.

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Link blog: humour, funny, passwords, fanfic

If you do this in an email, I hate you – The Oatmeal

Via matgb
(tags: email funny internet humour)

Killing Elvis – David Hines (hradzka) – Alien series (1979 1986 1992) [Archive of Our Own]

"Aliens" fanfic. Good fun.
(tags: aliens alien fanfic humour)

Football Mascots, English Democrats And Shadow Mayors | MetaFilter

"Some council leaders and their new powers under the Local Government Act 2000 ("LGA"): – Councillors of the Borough of Telford and Wrekin have the power of flight (section 2 of the LGA)."

Light Blue Touchpaper: The Gawker hack: how a million passwords were lost

The security group at Cambridge on how the Gawker hack occurred.
(tags: security hacking gawker passwords)
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Link blog: randomness, cambridge, psychology, government

Epiphenom: The cult of Theoi: sacrificing to the god of uncertainty

"What this study shows is that these students seem inherently resistant to learning that the forces at work are random. They started off with the assumption that Theoi would reward sacrifices, and they just didn't seem able to shake that assumption, despite all the evidence."
(tags: randomness religion science psychology)

Schneier on Security: Close the Washington Monument

"Let it stand, empty and inaccessible, as a monument to our fears."
(tags: security terrorism politics government washington tsa bruce-schneier)

Oxbridge isn’t racist – but it’s failing the working class | Liberal Conspiracy

Someone on Liberal Conspiracy actually looks at the stats behind the recent non-story. It's always a bit odd when the newspapers decide it's the responsibility of Oxford and Cambridge to carry out social engineering in a belated attempt to fix problems which occurred earlier in the system.
(tags: cambridge oxford racism education uk)
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A great cloud of witlessness: the Not Ashamed campaign

I’m back, bitches. I’ve been roused from my slumbers by a friend’s link to the Not Ashamed campaign against the marginalisation of Christianity in the UK. It’s fronted by George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

A great cloud of witlessness

Apparently, it’s getting harder to be a Christian in this country. So, what’s the problem? The campaign’s choice of heroes of the faith makes it clear that the essence of Christian practice is stopping gays getting the same rights as everyone else, getting yourself special exemptions from workplace dress codes (keeping up with the Muslims, I suppose), and proselytizing on the taxpayers’ time. The Ministry of Truth examines these bold martyrs in detail (I’ve previously discussed the cases of Olive Jones and Gary MacFarlane myself) and concludes that they probably should be ashamed, really.

Now, I’ve had a rough time over the last few months, hence the lack of posting, and some Christians have been very kind to me (as well as some non-Christians, of course). So I’d formed a different view of the essentials: I had thought they were things like kindness and goodness, those things against which, as St Paul says, there is no law. But who am I to disagree with the former Archbishop of Canterbury?

I imagine Carey would say that if you can’t spurn the gays or wear a silver ring to school, you can still be a Christian, but well, it just wouldn’t be the same: hence the campaign’s description of the heroes as “those who have suffered”. It must have been awful for them.

The grand metanarrative

Some time ago, Weeping Cross (who is one of those moderate religionists of the sort that never gets enough publicity for condemning the extremists: glad to help) wrote that

the narrative of persecution is a terribly comforting one for many modern Christians, and is to a great degree generated by them. It’s a way of taking cultural marginalisation and making it a sign that they’re getting something right: people don’t like the truth, so the more truthful we are about the Gospel, the more disliked we will be.

Someone called JPea commented on Heresiarch’s latest, informing us that all this is part of the cosmic battle between good and evil which will soon culminate in the kind of end of series finale where they blow the entire special effects budget. Luckily, Rev Cross was around to tell them not to be so silly: “Try looking at what’s actually happening and not trying to fit it into a grand metanarrative.”

I’m not sure that’s a realistic instruction for most of the Not Ashamed types: the whole point of that style of religion is to be part of the big story (I’ve just discovered Greta Christina had my idea first, curse her). The mundane facts that Christian observance is on the decline in this country and that more and more people won’t put up with discrimination against gays must be invested with cosmic significance: there is a conspiracy of “strident” atheists and “politically correct” bureaucrats, with the Dark Lord behind it all. If the meteor that flew by last night wasn’t a special signal to me on whether I should buy a new car, then how terribly shallow it all is.

Edited: One of my nice Christian friends didn’t like the Advice Dog image which was attached to this posting, so I removed it.

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