29 November 2015

"When the Moon Ends" - new music from David Hermanson

When the Moon Ends is a piece for piano I composed last year.  The title comes from the answer
 of the bruja Maria de Garza's to an anthropologist's question about when disease can be healed.

28 November 2015

Profiles in Fundamentalism: Pastor Steven L. Anderson

According to Pastor Stephen L. Anderson, an independent Baptist pastor of the extremist sort, the ISIS attacks in France occurred because of  Humanism, the Enlightenment,  French abortion rights, gay rights, the former gay Mayor of  Paris,  and wicked fashions called down the Judgement of God.  During his recent 50 minute rant, proudly posted on Youtube, he said to the people of France “God allowed these heathen hordes to invade you because you are a heathen nation… France’s problem is not my problem.  Because I’m not the one who said adultery is fine, I’m not living in the gay capital of Europe,… If God want to judge them, that’s between them and God… But you know what, we’re next.“

27 November 2015

The Colorado Murders

The violence tonight in Colorado Springs, where at last report three have died and nine have been wounded in the attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic by a man equipped with an assault rifle are only the latest round in attacks by Christian Fundamentalist extremists in the United States.

23 November 2015

Letters to Fundamentalists No. 1

[These comments were extracted from a review I wrote concerning John M. Frame’s“A History of Western Philosophy and Theology.” My review argued that Frame mishandled philosophical terminology, misunderstood or misrepresented the positions of the philosophers and theologians he chose to comment on, and beyond simple inaccuracies, had deliberately constructed a set of typologies, which while using the language of philosophers, perverted that language in the service of his own apologetical purposes and denied his readers any real understanding of the history he purported to chart.

I may not be a philosophical realist, but I do realise that between what I have written, and the position of a modern “Conservative” Christian, we are likely at a point of incommensurable difference. The shame of this situation is that it is very clear that Frame and I do not value the same concepts of what constitutes scholarship. Since before Plato, the philosophical tradition has accepted that a fundamental aspect of its work is an openness to the other through a process of disciplined enquiry.

22 November 2015

Contra Omnes Apologia

As a child, I grew up in a church deeply divided over the nature of revelation. Attending Missouri Lutheran Church services in the 1960s was sometimes a pure leap of faith as to the love of God, for that love was surely not evident in church meetings. In our tiny country parish, I saw two loving and well respected clergy pushed out of their pulpits because their theology was not sufficiently conservative for a few vocal members of the congregation. I remember hearing a phrase that began like this: “Only a heretic could ever say…”

03 November 2015

In Praise of Idleness -- an essay by Bertrand Russell

I don't often include works by other on this blog, but when I stumbled over this essay I was taken by its immediacy and importance, even though it was published 83 years ago. -- DHH

Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying: ‘Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do.’ Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. this traveler was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that, after reading the following pages, the leaders of the YMCA will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.