Location: Cheshire, Connecticut, United States

devilishly handsome, screamingly funny, overly modest

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Religious blogs. Arguing about religion is one of the great American pastimes, along with sex and politics. They all have in common the fact that there are few definitive answers to the questions posed, and those questions are so universally asked and not answered, that everyone who wants to can declare himself an expert without fear of a definitive contradiction. All that should be desired in this circumstance is to keep an open mind and try to assess the questions fairly, considering carefully all points of view. In religious blogs, this last is a rarity, possibly an impossibility.

Not that it's impossible to have a reasonable discussion on religious truths, even with a person unshakable in his faith and even if those beliefs contradict your own. Every 6 months I sit down to a 2 or 3 hour discussion with my friend, Reverend Norman Swensen. The good Reverend is a Christian fundamentalist of the first order, and an extremely effective evangelist for his Church. He specializes in helping dwindling congregations recover their faith (and numbers) and, I hear, is very good at it. Yet, though his thoughts are dogmatic (to me), his mind processes are not.He listens carefully to new concepts and incorporates them into the fabric of his faith. It's a joy for me to kick around the various conundrums facing todays theology. I look forward eagerly to our semi-annual meetings.

Emphatically not so was my overall reaction to this weeks blogs. "Anvil Free"( was a perfect example of idiocentric arrogance and oversimplification. Imagine, taking the "Four Noble Truths of Buddhism" and dismissing them with simplified TV sound bites consolidated into a few paragraphs. Like the extreme political bloogers, John Ruse assumes the agreement of his readership with his point of view, and thu doesn't feel compelled to cogently argue his position. This is a bad habit of most idiologues. My friend Swensen could argue rings around this guy.

The "Bad Christian" blog ( was a lot more fun.He takes an ironic and somewhat iconoclastic view of the Christian faith. His blog on the Christian preoccupation with bad language washysterically funny, especially in his riposte of rival blogs objecting to his impiety. His jousting with "Jade" was classic, showing the effectiveness of the post by evoking her bombastic response. By far my favorite blog of the week.

"They Will Know Us By Our T-Shirts"(, written by a seminary student (Ben), was in my view a failed satirical attempt. Part of my dissatisfaction was my lack of interest in the chosen content. (also he's too whiny). He complains about a movie distribution I Don't Care About, books IDCA, internal church policies IDCA, and blogs IDCA.Tempest in a teacup. The only redeeming feature was political, not religious, when he pokes fun at Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy. I spent 10 years on the state Dept. of Ed's CSPD committee and , like Ben know this policy is doomed without severe modification.

"Doxoblogy"( is to be read only if you are a devout Christian who needs his faith hammered in. I had enough of that as the only Jew at a Catholic school for four years.

I'm waiting for a blog from my friend to show these guys what religious faith is really all about.



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