To Surf or to Blog . . .



I do actually intend to blog again.  It’s just that the surfing keeps getting in the way. . . . perhaps if I blog about the poetics  and philosophy of surfing?   It has been a watery world for our household: reading through Moby Dick,  inching through the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and 10 hours over Cardiff Reef each week (dolphins, seals, whale spouts . . .).

I do happen to have news regarding the events of 2005, the same events that gave birth to the original Pooh’s Think of 2006 (hacked and destroyed by the opposition a while ago, sorry).  I have just completed a letter to my friends: an introduction to the American Kirk and the story behind the story — some of you might recall I promised this some years ago.  If you do not receive this and are interested, please shoot me a note.

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Book Update



I am still writing my book.  I have been writing it for about five years. If you have no idea what book I refer to, this post might not be intended for you.  This is a friendly update for those who periodically check in.

The five classes I now teach (Philosophy and Humanities) have permitted me a day each week to continue the book steadily, although this might change with my firmer commitment to philosophy and cognitive science research.  I hope to have at least a rough-draft proposal by July 2012.  I do not, by the way, begin addressing The Kirk until Chapter 7.

The book has taken on different forms and sizes and purposes—in my imagination, in my notes and outlines, in the actual drafts spanning a number of genres. Last summer, after wrapping up some research on cognitive neuroscience, metaphor, and philosophy of freewill, I had some time to work on the book at Steamboat Springs’ public library, which provided me a more than sufficient setting of geography and architectural space – river rolling down from the last bit of melting snow, just outside the library window . . .   We also made it back to Moscow, Idaho for the first time (May/June) and our five weeks there was important. I enjoyed daily liturgical progressions through University of Idaho’s beautiful campus (running into The Beast on one occasion – ‘good to see you’, etc.).  I spent some time in Evan Wilson’s library, of course (and in the home of some Kirkers), and I regularly walked to Bucers for some note-taking time as the northern winter came to an unusually slow halt.

 

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Update



Even with the six dependents of spouse and children, I attempted the life of a gypsy after moving from Cardiff-By-The-Sea a couple months ago. After only two weeks of camping the attempt failed. There have been so far too many ‘house sitting’ opportunities in residences that outdo what had been my own. As I write, I sit with windows to my left that overlook rolling hills and a meadow with a winding stream. A darker mountain ridge stands further up, backgrounded by storm clouds. We are in the mountains of Colorado, ten miles out of what is already a fairly small town.  As I pause and look now, cattle roam, a green tractor mows a large field at a distance, and two horses graze nearby at the foot of the hill on which I am perched.   To my front is a view of a barren hill that towers just above the house roof on which I see the three horses of this household—brown, white, gray—walking casually side by side. Two friendly dogs, at all times on this acreage somehow omnipresent, are still felt and seen in the abstract.  On the way here, we passed through what a sign labeled ‘open range’, a phrase I understood only after swerving to the left of the paved road so as not to rudely disturb the cows grazing on the road’s edge and for fear that a cow’s lazy decision over what side of the street to munch could end in its instantaneous death.

For some days or some weeks I had forgotten that I ‘have a blog’. Remembering caused a faint but irremediable twinge far on the periphery of what seems my background experience of agency and personhood.   Nothing remedies such feelings like swift action in the pseudo-social world of the internet and so I was not surprised by my quick resolve to provide those still checking on progress here in the Wood with something like an ‘update’.  This is the strange result.

As for things more academic or otherwise philosophical or scientific or literary: ‘my book’ was simmering in a crock pot that had eventually been unplugged. The unplugging came about for a variety of reasons. I will mention one: I was finding non-fiction too meager for my purposes and I had no alternative set of tools in my pouch.  Then, around January, independent of any book writing efforts or plans, I began reading fiction. I first read Melville’s Moby Dick for no specific reason I am aware of outside of having a copy at hand; yet a number of classics later, I still consider Moby Dick to be my favorite, and more than a favorite; I consider the work sui generis.  I then read Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.  By the time I was half way through with this second classic a thought flashed: why not make my own use of the literary craft? On further thought, and a couple classics later, I determined that building from my first book attempt would require just this sort of retooling. With the art of literature, I could do almost everything I had set out to do with my first book and much more.

In March and April I invested time on mirror neurons, grounded cognition, conceptual blending, metaphor, vision, and the N400 ERP component (EEG)—not to be confused with my thoughts   from last year. By June I switched gears in my reading with the switch in living situation. While living out of a tent, I gave a start to a work of fiction. I have so far found the task sufficiently rewarding and productive. A number of chapters are close to rough draft form and the outline is fairly settled: 45 to 55 chapters for a total of 400 to 500 pages. Even with the change of genre, the title could remain the same, which has been The Kirk: Mother of War.

In order to compare notes: some of my recent reading also includes Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Hemmingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, Yate’s Revolutionary Road, and for read-alouds to the kids: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth. I have started Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and Tom Sawyer and Gone With The Wind (a better mix is hard to imagine, no?), and due to familial relatedness to the author, I am winding through the new thriller The Radix  (written by a psychology instructor; the best thing since ’24′ and only eight bucks at a fine book store near you). Recommendations for further reading from those who are familiar with the Kirk are welcomed.

As for non-fiction, I found Burns’ Goddess of the Market (Oxford 2009) vital explanation of Rand’s secondary world of Atlas. Damasio’s Descartes’ Error, an international best seller I discovered in the footnotes of the cognitive neuroscience literature, was excellent and I have started his The Feeling of What Happens. I also began Kennaelly’s The First Word, a laymen’s guide recommended by Pinker introducing the new field of the origins of language.  Curiously, Burns documents Rand’s cultish life and Kennaelly hints in this same direction for Chomsky.  I am also enjoying Hitchens’ Hitch-22 (of course!), in which he curiously details his own ‘cult’ experiences in prep school. I have just now finally started to read Nietzsche—a cult all to himself—beginning with Beyond Good and Evil and the collection The Will to Power. I hope to begin the two volumes I have here of Langacker’s Cognitive Grammar.

For your ongoing internet viewing I continue to recommend Harvard Law’s The Situationist.   They still ‘have a blog’ over there without question.  

Without ‘job’ and homeless and still responsible for six dependents, I am now accepting donations for a trip to Washington DC, Philadelphia, NYC, MIT, and Harvard. Donors decide what I blog on during and one month after my trip (you know that’s gotta be worth big bucks). My point of departure will be Florida. After that, the plan is Miami and Key West. At any point in time I would be happy to be dropped into any contested area elsewhere in the world.

Be back later with some book excerpts and further thoughts on semantics, meaning generally construed, and the ERP N400.

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‘The Kirk: Mother of War’ & 7 New Books At UCSD



The sociology contained in my book ( The Kirk: Mother of War ) is thus far of folk origin. I began writing to chronicle my personal experience within the Kirk and to continue the social analysis I had already began promulgating for Pooh’s Think, Part 1. But I originally had little to guide me as I sought to understand my eventual expurgation. Fairly cloistered from the news media, I was influenced largely by bits and pieces of my philosophy education over the years – notably from graduate education at the University of Idaho, which began soon after the launch of Pooh’s Think, Part 1. I received highly concentrated help towards the end of my expurgation from the new start up of Harvard Law’s The Situationist, which remains an important resource for me.

More recently, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and George Lakoff have been highly influential – although Dennett’s intentional stance has been a thorn in my side since 1997. I am shy to begin enumerating the others, fearing I will mistakenly leave someone out, but I will here venture what comes immediately to mind: H.L. Menken, George Orwell, Barbara Ehrenreich, Michael O’Rourke, John Bargh, Onora O’Neill, Phillip Zimbardo, Patrick Hogan, and my were-local discussion partners at Moscow’s Vision 2020  list.

Likely, my folksy sociology will remain largely in tact, as it so far seems consistent with my new explorations. Yet, more research is in order. In many ways, the first inchoate version of my book was the completion of a vigorous, painful research experiment that lasted 15 years. But now I find myself at the beginning of an exciting new project that was given birth through the death of that first book. As time allows, I hope to investigate the new academic and journalistic work on religion, power, violence, communitarianism, and war. This is what I hope to accomplish on the side of still other work that is likewise already on the side: work in consciousness, the sophistication of the unconscious mind, cognitive science, metaphor, narrative, and neurobiology.

I am inclined to begin with some books on the ‘new book’ shelves at the University of California down the road (San Diego). The following is a short introduction to 7 of these books. Perhaps I can at some point actually read them cover to cover!

 

1) Timothy Longman’s Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda (Cambridge, 2010).

Longman lived in Rwanda from 1991 to 1993 while working on his dissertation regarding church-state relations in Africa. He returned in 1995 to work in the field office of Human Rights Watch, the year after the infamous three month genocide infiltrated Rwanda. He has finally published his findings after comparing two local Presbyterian parishes in Kibuye. On page 312, Longman writes:

Ultimately, church leaders embraced ethnic chauvinism not only because they supported political authorities who adopted an anti-Tutsi ideology but because it was a means of co-opting people back into the patrimonial network. By defining Tutsi as a threat, church leaders were able to appeal to their members along lines of ethnic solidarity and shatter the emerging class solidarity that was challenging their control.

The introduction page explains that “Although Rwanda is among the most Christian countries in Africa, in the 1994 genocide, church buildings became the primary killing ground.” My Kirk brethren might be inclined to see my interest in this book as just more whining. I am after all the ‘sucking chest wound’ version of the bleeding heart and the reports about what happened in Rwanda sound very much like the glorious routs of the Old Testament. Take for example Philip Zimbardo’s report in The Lucifer Effect (2007): “One of the young men told a translator that they couldn’t rape them because ‘we had been killing all day and we were tired. We just put the gasoline in bottles and scattered it among the women, then started burning’”.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, a Tutsi and “former social worker who lectured on women’s empowerment” could have helped her people, but she instead led the village of Butare into a trap, promising help from the Red Cross. “They were machine-gunned, grenades were thrown into the unsuspecting throngs, and survivors were sliced apart with machetes. Pauline gave the order that ‘Before you kill the women, you need to rape them’.” According to Zimbardo, the U.N. reported that at least 200,000 women were raped during the three month massacre.

 

2) William Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence (Oxford, 2009).

Cavanaugh challenges the social-political research of the majority, arguing that “there is no transhistorical and transcultural essence of religion and that essentialist attempts to separate religious violence from secular violence are incoherent.” The prevailing concept of religion “that is essentially prone to violence is one of the foundational legitimating myths of the liberal nation-state.” Cavanaugh challenges as incoherent “the argument that there is something called religion . . . which is necessarily more inclined toward violence than are ideologies and institutions that are identified as secular” (4-5). While I will likely take issue with the more provocative features of this thesis, I would be surprised if I do not find a wealth of wisdom to be gained in taking issue with essentialist and timeless concepts contracted for ideological and political purposes (such as the timeless notion of ‘covenant’ in reformed theology, a thesis still unique to me as far as I know). Canvanaugh notes that the religious-secular distinction was not established through argument, but “through violence” (7).

 

3) Marc Hetherington & Jonathon Weiler, Authoritarianism & Polarization in American Politics (Cambridge, 2009).

Front, introductory material reads:

Although politics at the elite level has been polarized for some time, a scholarly controversy has raged over whether ordinary Americans are polarized. This book argues that they are and that the reason is growing polarization of worldviews – what guides people’s view of right and wrong and good and evil. These differences in worldview are rooted in . . . authoritarianism. . . . [D]ifferences of opinion concerning the most provocative issues. . . reflect differences in individuals’ level of authoritarianism.

After reading the first few pages, I suspected that Lakoff (2008) influenced this thesis. While not acknowledging influence, Hetherington and Weiler note on page 192 the correspondence:

George Lakoff’s (1996) treatment of morality in contemporary American politics tracks helpfully with our analysis in this regard . . . His conception of conservatism, which is premised on a ‘strict father morality,’ is closely related to our conception of authoritarianism.

 

4) Brett Whalen, Dominion of God (Harvard, 2009).

On page 6:

Ambivalence characterized the idea of Christendom, which formed a limitless community of the faithful, a cosmic congregation, but also an earthly society of believers in the here-and-now. Christendom had borders and was universal. It could be spread by the righteous power of the sword or by the spiritual grace of God . . . Within this apocalyptic ethnography, both Christian and non-Christian peoples had roles to play in the realization of history. The expectation of Christian world order relied – somewhat paradoxically – on mutually reinforcing languages of exclusion and inclusion, on the identification of God’s enemies and the promise of their ultimate redemption, or at least their opportunity to be redeemed . . . The pursuit of Christendom . . . engaged . . . the sensibilities of medieval Europe’s ecclesiastical elite, sometimes including popes themselves, who anticipated the ultimate triumph of their sacerdotal authority on the grandest of scales.

 

5) Michael Ryan & Les Switzer, God in the Corridors of Power (ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, 2009).

My introduction: This book’s 500 pages appear to be a thorough analysis of the role that conservative religion has played in the religious and non-religious political Right. Ryan and Switzer, together representing American Protestantism and Catholicism, offer an abundant set of tools, from demographics to American history. Topics include media, conservative conceptual worlds, the constitution, abortion, sex, gender, science, Darwinianism, terrorism, militarism, and the contemporary Christian life.

 

6) Bayne, Cleeremans, & Wilken, The Oxford Companion to Consciousness (Oxford, 2009).

My introduction: This 700 page tome looks to be an excellent long-term resource. I see a good deal of mind science, and the selection of entries reveals an unusual interdisciplinary flavor. Bayne, Cleeremans, and Wilken have included an entry on ‘wine,’ and I found the latest answer we have to the question my son posed the other day: “why can I not tickle myself?” Recent experiments are detailed in an entry titled ‘tickling’.

 

7) David Thompson, Daniel Dennett (Continuum Publishing Group, 2009).

My introduction: Although not important research material for my book, I recommend this to the average visitor of the Wood. This appears to be an excellent introduction to the work of Daniel Dennett, written by a retired Canadian philosophy professor. I even noted a subtle play between the epistemic and phenomenal use of the word ‘seems’  in the section on Heterophenomenology.

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A Picture



MRPhoto (8 of 47)

It has not been my habit to post pictures of my family, a consequence, in part, of a veiled threat from a racist kinist (see Mathew Chancey’s work  for a sampling of the journalistic exposure that generated this kinist backlash). But all that seems well settled, and although Douglas Wilson is much more plodding and patient, he gives me little worry now that I am far removed from north Idaho’s Geneva. Wilson has been of the opinion that John Calvin was wrong in casting the vote for the torturing to death of Servetus, which he likens to the attempt at “killing ants with a baseball bat” (talk at U of I campus, November, 2005). Wilson has bigger plans for Enlightenment and Cosmopolitan Civilization and just recently has been beside himself in smiles and polite giggles while dining with the arch-blasphemer Christopher Hitchens, the thongs of whose sandals Servetus is not worthy to untie. Wilson, in fact, refuses to state that Hitchens’ belief and life is at all immoral. The censure – or more accurately, the rape and maiming – is reserved for the weak and powerless directly under Wilson’s pastoral care. So here’s a picture – a couple years old.

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An Email From An Old Friend – Who Now Sees Me As Human



This is a wonderful and insightful note from one of my original opponents during the days of Pooh’s Think, Part 1. (For contrast, also note the recent comments  from a current Kirker.)

Michael,

I’m not sure if you remember who I am, but I left several comments on Doug Wilson’s blog when the whole Saint Peter thing was going down, defending Saint Peter’s session and (often personally) attacking you. As an ex-member of Saint Peter (you know the drill: started reading Eastern Orthodox writers, started discussing the possible validity of Orthodoxy with friends of mine in the church including Laurence Windham, eventually left, was shunned and “excommunicated” by those whom I considered dear friends), I wanted to apologize for my ignorance and insensitivity towards you and your views. It’s easy to attack someone when you’ve never been in their position. Frank Schaeffer was right when he said, “The only answer to who you are is, ‘When?’” Now that I have gone through an experience comparable to yours, I wish I had listened to some of your comments and insights. The pain my wife and I went through was considerable (it nearly destroyed our marriage) and it was astonishing to see people that we thought we would be friends with forever abandon us overnight. The most painful for me was Laurence’s public denouncements (both of me and of Orthodoxy), which were so ill-informed as to be regarded stupid. He and I were astonishingly close for many years. Being, as a Saint Peter member once described it, “viewed as two faces of one body,” and having him lash out the way he did was a blindside to say the least. A big one.

So, you were right and I was wrong. But you knew that already. And, to be honest, that isn’t what this email is about. I ought to have empathized with your position rather than springing to the blind defense of those who, in the scheme of things, didn’t need defending. Regardless of what I thought, I should have regarded you as a fellow human being rather than disregarding you as the abstract proposition of, “These guys who I love are douche-bags.” But, hindsight, 20/20, clarity, and all that. My comments toward you were belittling. For that I ask your forgiveness.

Ultimately, I don’t blame these guys. I believe that they think what they did (and are doing) is right, and they did it because of that conviction. I don’t believe there was any intentional malice (though what was done was malicious). There’s no bitterness here. However, there is a deep hurt which I don’t anticipate will be resolved any time soon. Thanks for your work.

On a radically different note I was wondering about the Bayly post you made a couple days ago. You had mentioned that you tried to Google some of the quotes that Bayly used from the article concerning Calvin College and homosexuality and were unable to find results. I’m not sure if Bayly updated his post due to your comments, but I was able to find the article quickly using Google. I’m not defending him in any respect (one of them wears a bow-tie, for heaven’s sake — the very definition of douche-bag), but was just asking for the sake of clarification. In case you haven’t found the link to the article it’s from Christianity Today and can be found here.

Thanks again for your work. Knock out that book. Looking forward to reading it.

Cheers and all the best,
Matt Clement

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The New Enlightenment, Part 10: The Presbyterian Patriarch Tim Bayly



This evening (Friday) I was working toward finishing an entry titled ‘The Southern Poverty Law Center, Harpers, & The Nation: Corruption at the Top Does Not Entail Corruption at the Bottom’. However, this will have to wait for Part 11 now that I have received an email from the notorious patriarchist Tim Bayly. This email provides some late and conclusive evidence for Bayly’s exceptional delusion or brazen deceit or, perhaps, a combination of both.

My goal here is not to inform the general public of Tim and David Bayly’s authoritarian, arrogant, censorious, and misogynist patriarchicalism. The general public – those who have had the least bit of exposure – already know this. Tim and David Bayly are also known as meek and mild ministers in the Presbyterian Church in America, but as I have discovered with Patriarch Wilson, this is often just the other side of the same spin-scum coin.

In what follows, I aim to offer updated evidence for the blatant deceit (or delusion) of Tim Bayly by way of introduction, since he appears well associated with the historic reconstructionist movement – including a somewhat recent, mutually-benefiting political association with Douglas Wilson. This entry is intended as background context for Part 11, which addresses the Southern Poverty Law Center’s new commitment to expose the reconstructionist movement and its children.  A bit laborious, but here it is for the record.

This is what happened: Today (Friday), I was led to Bayly’s popular blog for the first time in a few years. Once there, I found an unnamed magazine quoted and ridiculed on the issue of Calvin College, academic freedom, and homosexuality. The entry began, “A prominent evangelical magazine just did a piece on the complaint by Calvin College faculty reps that Calvin’s board has issued policy barring members of their faculty from promoting sodomy.” I was generally curious about this article, but I also wondered if the quotations were given in proper context. (more…)

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The New Enlightenment, Part 9: Something To Die For



Hitchens tortured I did make it to the Landmark in L.A. for the premier of Collision.  A good deal into the movie, Hitchens was asked the leading question:

 ”What are you willing to die for?”

 Hitchens needed no pause for the riposte:

“Enlightenment.”

As you watch Hitchens put upside down on a cross, you might want to play this music (update: the Kirker who authored this video, Daniel Foucachon, permits downloads for embedding from his site, but soon after signing up as a registered user of Pooh’s Think, he removed your ability to watch it here. But just click below and you can listen to the nice music on Daniel’s page):

New Saint Andrews Choir from Daniel Foucachon on Vimeo.

(Picture is of Hitchens discovering what it is like to be him while water boarded; although the aftermath was an important element as well.)

 ___________

The conclusion of Collision is a tired Hitchens in the back seat of a not so large car casually recounting a personal conversation with the atheist pontifex Richard Dawkins. The context was this question: would Hitchens, if he could “convert”, or, ahem, “convince” every last theist of atheism, would he decide to do it? Hitchens would not.

Would Hitchens “drive religion out of the world”?

Hitchens soberly recounts his words to Dawkins: “I would not drive it out.”

Hitchens continues, “The incredulity with which he [Dawkins] looked at me [pause] stays with me to this day.”

Music hits and the screen goes black.  Not a bad ending.

___________

Since I have made myself clear about Amy Miller’s recent hate-the-white-man silliness, I will let you know that while waiting for Collision to begin, I bought Miller’s suggested alternative: Doubt by Jennifer Michael Hecht.  You should see the picture on the back of the book guys; Hecht is hot! What an Object to write about such a fascinating, linear, logical Subject.

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The New Enlightenment, Part 8: My interview with Christianity Today – sort of.



I can remember my first experience with a journalist.  I was interviewed after an elementary school band performance that traditionally gave me trumpet solo time on center stage.  I suppose this is as close as I have every come to stardom, but despite the lowly context, the media was there to accommodate.  I was asked a question by a journalist, I answered, and my mother naturally pointed out the next day’s result in newspaper print. All I recall caring about was the fact that I was misquoted.

Fast-forwarding a few years: I found myself on a university campus in Michigan as a philosophy graduate student and teaching assistant. It was before the snow blew and the winds reached 30 miles an hour, a nice day for a traveling sex-suppressed fanatic to preach to college students away from the safety of their homes and immediate family. I had some time before my class, and so I joined the half-nervous, half-amused crowd. I found myself seated by a writer for the school’s student paper after I had successfully challenged some of the questions blasting this old Prophet (amazing psychology here: when someone within ‘the group’ answers back). And so I was interviewed. No doubt recollecting, however unconsciously, my past experience with journalists, I asked this writer to repeat what she just wrote down as she listened to my answer.  “No, that is not what I said,” I replied. It is perhaps likely that this student journalist also bears in memory this contact with an old Prophet and a fundamentalist philosophy graduate student.

After the interview, I was off to teach my critical thinking class, in part to go through a sample text from Galileo I believe. After class, a student came up to me and made some derogatory comments about the old Prophet’s views on homosexuality. I will never forget the look of horror on this young man’s face after I gracefully explained that I agreed with the old Prophet. I then spent 15 minutes at the board with this young man schematically going over redemptive history.  Soon after, my Christian professor found out about an article I just published in Credenda Agenda, and I was banned from teaching the history of philosophy.  But that is another story . . .

A few years later, now back at the Kirk and whirring along with Pooh’s Think, Part 1, I was asked for an interview by a local journalist.  ‘Hmmm,’ I thought, ‘a local journalist here in the hills of north Idaho.  Not so sure about this.’  I explained that I was only willing to interview in writing. At that, the journalist claimed he did not see anything all that distinctive about the situation with Wilson anyway, and that was that. I still wonder what that journalist was really up to. Roy Atwood, President of New St. Andrews, is a good politician and was head of the communications department at University of Idaho before making the switch. The journalism in north Idaho has been pretty well buttoned up for a while now.

So when an editor for Christianity Today was interested in an interview a couple months ago, I just re-instantiated the drill: In writing pal.  After some days, however, the interviewer sent me some thoughtful questions for me to answer in writing.  I doubt Christianity Today will publish my answers and I have heard no answer back.  So here they are:

  

Tell me about your childhood experience with Christian faith? Would you characterize it as primarily positive or negative?

I would characterize my childhood experience with Christian faith as primarily positive.  The conservative Christianity of my family brought me in contact with a number of small to medium sized independent and Baptist churches. This contact comprised most of my experience with unified interaction between parents, peers, and a broader community. Our tradition was standard evangelicalism and the simple faith of a child was accepted on face value with an expectation that greater commitment and understanding would lead to baptism in the future.  My parents considered me born again at a very young age, but I was not baptized until I was in Junior High. My father was no Big Brother, and so there is little child psychology to toy with as far as I can tell. The story gets complicated  after about eighth grade. Moral hypocrisy in the church was the primary reason our family ceased church attendance, and it was not until I experienced a crisis, followed by a conversion experience in high school, that religion became a topic in the home again. 

 

Who was the most formative influence (for better or worse) in your spiritual development?

This is a difficult answer to get quite right, but I will offer at least some primary personal and situational influences that come to mind: The crisis I mention above began in eleventh grade when my girlfriend treated me in ways that I found incomprehensible and hurtful. I was also becoming exasperated with the using, manipulation, lying, bragging, and womanizing from the cooler bunch of guys that I found myself associated with. I recall in particular noting that there was no sense of justice, and no care to defend the honor of another friend.  My good friend from tenth grade had moved away, and I found myself socially thirsty and perplexed. I was particularly unsettled when one fellow offered his surprise that he could offend me by lying to me: “I lie to you and you lie to me, that is just the way it is.”   In 12th grade, now alone in my own apartment for zoning purposes, I was poised for a good deal of fun. But, more relationally inclined than the average male of my age, I was already a bit tired – prematurely perhaps – of heading in the direction of dissipation. One night, at a high-school football game, I came back in contact with my old youth pastor from the local PCUSA church (this church had a program that was popular among the High School students). I had always respected him for the sincerity and gentleness that he gracefully conjoined with a more sophisticated intellectual demeanor. On the spot I felt dirty – to use what still seems the best word.  He mentioned the new youth pastor at the PCUSA (he was now an assistant pastor at a PCA church) and on the spot I committed to going back and checking it out. 

The next few months were a whirlwind and one evening, while lying awake in bed, I had a somewhat mystical experience – as if I could peer up through the heavens and into the infinity that lay beyond and have a sense of what God – who had been lovingly yet regretfully watching me all my life – was now thinking, which was what I was thinking: you are such a fool.  My girlfriend of 11th grade became the idol, the false god that broke my heart, and God was now the one that told the truth after everyone else had lied. I wrote a song soon after with the chorus “I’ve seen love shine, through the darkness of my life; he wouldn’t let me go, he set me free, he died for me.” Almost overnight I had lost my fits of anger, profanity, bitterness, and was keenly interested in exploring the truth of the bible, prayer, time with parents, Christian friendship, and evangelizing. I became a bit ascetic and had what evangelicals would certainly consider worship experiences in the evenings. Oddly, I also became academically inclined, went from a C student to an A student, and for some reason found the nearest bookstore and bought a philosophy book on infinity and the mind. I was now fascinated by literature, physics, the bible, and a naive exploration of what I now know is the classical problem of evil.  That original syncretism has stayed with me until today.  Ironically enough, latent in this year of conversion was perhaps my eventual apostasy.  

 

Tell me about when you first started to think of leaving the faith, or the moment when you realized that you were slipping away?

There is no clean answer to this.  I was deeply situated in Douglas Wilson’s Christ Church, or as he used to call it, the Kirk.  I was a ministerial student and contributor to Credenda Agenda, and I was well connected with the Kirk and larger Moscow community, including New St. Andrews faculty and elders at Christ Church. The first notions of ‘falling away’ – I was limited to conceptualizing it as just this – coincided with a growing desire to leave the Kirk community altogether. However, I  simply withdrew from these thoughts in horror and suppressed them. Any sign of doubt I found in me was my enemy. Although I never focused too much on the doctrine of hell, it is clear in hindsight that I was psychologically guided by implicit threats and fear.  

Soon after a year long mentorship with Douglas Wilson, I began suspecting him capable of deceit and manipulation. But it was not until I started publishing my analysis of ‘berith’ (covenant) in the Kirk’s cultural journal that I began seeing the intellectual vacuity in the community at large – starting with Wilson, extending to the pastoral students, and then filtering through New St. Andrews, elders, and younger theologically inclined laymen (and even extending to reformed theologians I made contact with over this issue). I concluded that at bottom, the point of reading, writing, and disputing in the Kirk was not truth as conventionally construed, intellectual carefulness, or an honest interaction with broader society (I would make an acception for John Schwandt [greek professor], who always intentionally had one foot out of the Kirk, and I might make an exception for Peter Leithart, and perhaps Mitch Stokes only for things pertaining to mathematics) . I had been wrestling with the tension between Faith and Reason over the years, but now the tension became a personal/community issue that I could no longer avoid.  The local controversy (Wilson was always at war with Moscow back in those days) afforded me opportunities to poke my head outside of the Kirk, and I became gradually horrified by what I was seeing from this external point of view. I began offering mild concern and I signaled a willingness to consider carefully the side of the Other. It was all down hill from there. 

Eventually, I was attacked in every ‘legal’ way: socially, financially, psychologically, verbally.  At the time, all this was symbolic not of my slipping away from the faith, but rather from the particular Christian Community I had known – although Kirkers, with some justification, would see little distinction here.  I did not realize that this was my way of beginning my journey from the faith altogether, but it in fact was.  Once I had gained the ability to question, regardless of the costs to my coherent and comfortable world, there was really nothing left standing in the way from an outright rejection of Christianity. I progressively drew connections between my experience with the Kirk and broader Christianity, and then expanded the analogical reasoning to religion in general, the biblical texts, and the protagonists of the New Testament story.  The work of Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens  gave me the tools to finally pull the plug and come clean this last year.  Harris was my first introduction to how anti-theists see the morality of Christianity. Dennett pulled together a good deal of anthropological and philosophical topics. And Hitchens revealed the extend of the rhetorical weapons available to the anti-theist. Hitchens’ seasoned journalism also gave a broad perspective from which to handle the topic of Religion.  Christianity no longer needed to be treated as ‘the’ religion to reject, but rather a knowledge domain of personal experience that fit into the human drama as a mere species of a broader reality I was previously shielded from.

 

Ultimately, why do you think you left the faith?

Given the nature of exit from the Kirk, it was all quite inevitable and violently thrust upon me. However, I could say that I have left the faith in part on moral grounds: I now see the bulk of institutionalized Christianity as immoral: it is political, hypocritical, the power domain of the priesthood. I now understand religion to be primarily a mechanism of control (whether perceived so by practitioners or not) and Christianity – however unique the story of redemption might be – to be little different from other institutionalized religions. During an early meeting with Dr. Peter Leithart at New St. Andrews, I began explaining my concerns about the violent and arrogant way the Kirk was treating the local community, contrasting it to the idealized narrative of Jesus. And it just hit me. I began weeping.  The issue is also certainly intellectual, although I do not see a strong distinction between the moral and the rational on this topic. I concluded that Wilson was intellectually dishonest, but now I see how this is so more generally with fundamentalist Christianity at large. 

 

 Spiritually speaking, where are you at right now?

How would you describe your world view or life philosophy?

[I answer both of these questions here]

I am still dealing with the post traumatic stress of exiting the Kirk. Making a final clean break more recently has been therapeutic in this regard.  From my view, Christians were unable to understand or admit the implications latent in my exit experience from the Kirk, and secular culture and academia has provided me with a far better fit for all the conclusions I have drawn from that experience that might be otherwise neutral to the question of atheism.  My closest professor and long term friend at the University, as well as the University as a whole, provided a refuge for me during my exiting of the Kirk, and I have found some of the most gentle, sincere, and intelligent people to have very little religious inclination at all. It seems as though the last place I have found myself is in the gutter with the prodigal son. 

I had always wrestled with discussions about consciousness and intentionality in the philosophy of mind. Either personality was ultimate or the atomos was ultimate, and the derivation of meaning and intentionality had to go in one direction or the other. As a Christian apologist, my task was to argue that the emergent properties of the human brain were a derivation from, albeit in an ex nihilo sort of way, eternal personhood. With the late apologist Greg Bahnsen, I concluded that the ‘mind was the body,’ but the direction of intentionality necessarily went from God to matter. This left me with a philosophical problem on my hands. The Churchlands were therefore the enemies of the faith and Daniel Dennett, bless his humble heart, just had things backwards (Kinds of Minds, 1996, p55).  I had to therefore refute some of the greatest philosophical minds of the 20th century, and the developing empirical evidence seemed to give me nothing to work with while just lending support to the Churchlands’ original materialist thesis.  Part of my final rejection of the faith was my coming to terms with the spiritual implications of all this.

It is now hard to imagine that creationism has any credible challenge to offer the scientific community and I am growing more convinced that our traditional notions of beliefs, desires, action, deliberative conscious control, guilt, blame, and responsibility will many years from now be understood as explanatorily useful as the Cartesian theatre, the ghost in the machine, and the gods that moved the winds and made the crops drink rain.  A new appreciation for science is therefore an important part of my new ethos – swinging all the way towards eliminative materialism (although I doubt I would ever be drawn to any mystical devotion of infinity or the origin of the big bang). The most important conclusion is that we humans are really a bunch of dumb mammals – our unconscious minds far more sophisticated than our linguistic blabbering and ignorant social practices.

My newly developed rough edges and mild skepticism to traditional morality is certainly something I need to force myself to be honest about.  There is something sad about losing the beauty to be had in a Christian Cosmos, and likewise a degree of cynicism in the writing of H.L. Mencken and Christopher Hitchens. I would not say I am in that spiritual/emotional camp just yet, but as much as I would like to be the new Friendly Atheist, you will find the nature of my adoption of what I find to be the truth to leave me with some permanently raised prickles.  Although, I doubt these prickles will ever become nearly as deadly as what I was or could have been capable of dishing out as a fundamentalist theist loyal to a Dear Leader speaking for God.

 

What do you miss most about being a Christian? What do you miss least?

I miss the way the Christian view allowed me to make the world more enchanted, meaningful, and at times, lovely.  It is a very comfortable place to be at times emotionally and psychologically.  You can stand within the grand tradition of Western Culture and have a robust sense of your place in the cosmos – conveniently right at the center. The classical education tradition, the gloomy days on the Palouse, and the talent of Douglas Wilson certainly helped augment this effect. You are also given the tools – fashioned and refined by priests over the course of thousands of years – to psychologically and rhetorically suppress or reinterpret the incongruence between your Christian story and the world around you. What I miss the least about being a Christian is the constant battle of standing in and out of the world at the same time. During and soon after my conversion, this was a moral battle, where the world represented selfishness, deceit, and debauchery.  But over time, the attempt to take the claims of the faith at face value created a different tension.  Much in the world was good and lovely and true and much in the church was not. I think the honest determination to be in the world but not of the world inevitably leads to some degree of fanaticism, which becomes most apparent when considering the apostolic claims about hell, the status of non-believers, and the ‘foolishness’ of the world’s wisdom.

  

How have Christians treated you since you left the faith?

The majority of Kirkers have ridiculed and shunned me. Almost all the rest have at least kept a distance from me. The few that do not keep a distance do not want to discuss the issues with me; there might be a couple borderline cases, but the complexity of the story neutralizes this I think. The treatment I have received – whether the harmful kind or the silence – seems to be just more justifying evidence supporting my change of direction.

 

Do you have any fears or lingering regrets about leaving the faith?

All that comes to mind is how difficult it seems to be to leave an anthropocentric world with one’s self in the middle, only to find a vast, meaningless, and uncaring cosmos that will ultimately burn out and die. Curiously, it is at just this cosmological level where the philosophical arguments of the Christian gain some common ground with the atheist’s.  I no longer find any fear or regret on the issue of morality or social solidarity since I do not believe religion fosters genuine morality, which is grounded in empathy on my view. But the cosmological issue is certainly something to come to terms with.  A corollary to this is a reconsideration of one’s creativity, morality, and smarts: I now find myself only ever so slightly creative, moral, and smart, and this relative analysis is made possible only after a comparison is made between myself and the monkeys! I would perhaps see myself as more intelligent, creative, and moral if I was comparing myself with the various gods of our more distant past – or perhaps the Old Testament’s fickle, jealous, and angry father.  I regret this is the only alternative to the divine spark that one gets with theism.

  

What’s your opinion about Jesus? How about the church?

 H.L. Mencken summed it up well:

 ”If there is a bishop in this great Christian land who has not, at some time or other, composed and uttered an article of diatribe entitled “What Is the Matter with the Churches?” then the present subscriber is prepared to pay $10 cash for his name and address, or if he has been translated to G.H.Q., for a hair of his episcopal head . . . the bishops join the lay pathologists in arguing that the only salvation for the church is to go back to His teaching.  It has taken on crusts, excrescences, an unhealthy and forbidding patina.  It is covered with boils, and racked interiorly by grinding pains.  The world has debauched it, and it shines with a baleful light. Its deliverance lies in the fifth chapter of Matthew, among the glorious asseverations known as the Sermon on the Mount. Let it throw off its gaudy trappings and its lust for pomp and power, and teach once more that the poor in spirit are the really blessed, and that theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Let its ordained pastors abandon their bloodthirsty wowserism and delirious money-chasing, and give ocular proof that the meek shall inherit the earth. Let its customers cease their attempts to dispose of one another by the sword, and so restore the old saver to the salt. . . . . But I regret to add at once that I cherish no hope that they will accept.  More, I find myself impelled to say that I believe they are too intelligent to accept.  For bishops, whatever their liking for hollow and lascivious utterance, are surely not ignorant men.  Their magical trade makes them privy to the secrets of the human heart.  They understand mankind, even though they often act as if they do not.  And at no time do they give better proof of their understanding than when they forget their own soft murmurs, and give their customers rough and bloody shows.  It is, indeed, the rough stuff that maintains them in their levantine luxury; it is hatred that they feed upon, as lawyers feed upon folly.  The minute they really went back to the Beatitudes, that minute the business to which they have consecrated their lives would blow up, and the name of Christ would disappear from His Churches, and follow that of Mithras into learned and unreadable books”

 – H.L. Mencken, What’s the Matter with the Churches?, American Mercury, 1928

  

What advice would you give Christians, to help them speak in an inoffensive, meaningful way, to people like you?

As for personal communication generally, I think your question answers itself. I – and I am sure countless other thoughtful, moral,  non-believing Americans – would require inoffensive and meaningful exchange.  What I have seen so far is either silence, clearly offensive approaches that are not intended to draw me in to a rational dialog, or pious platitudes that would not count as truly meaningful exchanges at all. I am at a loss recollecting more than a few relations or events that do not clearly fall in one of these three categories. Brian McLaren diagnosed this problem but was hung on a cross for it.  

Given the advances of the social, psychological, and brain sciences, we are growing more sensitive to manipulative rhetoric and what Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfort has famously referred to as ‘bullshit’. Christians will therefore need to more than ever resort to sincere, charitable, and intelligent exchange with our growing skeptical culture.  Personally, I think this might lead to nothing more than a fruitful growth of ecumenicity between academia, the sciences, and Christianity. But on the Christian’s assumptions, this could lead to a spiritual awaking. After all, journalists have aptly noted that the recent wave of anti-theist literature has failed to suggest a cultural replacement for religion. Religion less its cussedness would seem to still have something to offer. Personal liberty, social justice, and a cosmopolitan vision do not replace our need for the bonds of local community and a commitment to the nurture and education of our children.  Religion remains the most potent mechanism available to us for this.  

I have an M.A. in philosophy and continue to study the literature on various topics, and I was always a philosophically inclined apologist while a Christian. I would therefore like to speak directly to the issue of apologetics.  I have come to see a good deal of apologetics as philosophical priest-craft.  On my view now, the practice of apologetics – generally speaking – never was meant to offer a formidable intellectual challenge to non-believers, but was rather intended to sanitize Christianity’s barbaric roots. The general goal of apologetics is to keep the laymen comfortable amidst the significant skeptical challenge that surrounds them.  In my opinion, this is why you do not see apologists dealing with their authoritative text as narrative (which, by the way, seems to be an important consideration in interpreting the recent debate between Christopher Hitchens and William Lane Craig).  Plantinga’s integration between epistemology and theology is perhaps the most successful intellectual success the faith has had in a long time; however, Plantinga’s argument stays rooted within the traditional conceptual analysis of analytic philosophy, and is thereby less accessible to broader culture and easily outdated academically. More importantly, Plantinga’s argument is solely defensive and hinges on the antecedent “if Christianity is true.”  But non-believing academia no longer takes this possibility seriously. Getting academia to take this possibility seriously would seem to be a main challenge for a Christian apologetics that wishes to be offensive in strategy, rather than merely defensive.

There is something to be said about taking a front and center, cultural approach, and the Kirk has been a successful prototype.  There are ways to make folks take you seriously. A humble, intellectually honest Kirk could have gone a long way in penetrating American culture it seems to me.  A formidable Christianity worth the attention of the American people would have to be a community without the cult, provide leadership without the cult of personality, and offer an alternative approach to education that is more than a marketing platform (e.g. the rediscovery of the ‘medieval’ trivium).  Christians need to determine what the crucial elements of the Christian story/truth are, stick to their guns only on this score, and show the world how these crucial narrative elements can mitigate the problem of evil and leaven ecumenical discussions about the real problems and needs of our new global society – all the while honestly clinging to the claims of their authoritative text. This latter part will be a trick, but necessary on my view.

I leave this final note with the theist that would should like to either convert me or use me as an example for those who remain in the flock:  The more I ponder semantics and how we accrue knowledge of the world, the more I am convinced that we move forward in understanding not through the abstract concepts and propositions the more superstitious philosophers like to talk about, but rather by means of embodied analogy. This is how I have moved forward in my understanding of Christianity and religion in general. I gained unique and emphatic personal insight into a leader, a church, and a community, and I have moved on and applied this knowledge domain to the world outside. The argument could be made, then, that I have seen the outside world too much in terms of my experience with the Kirk. I have reasoned metaphorically and the metaphors are not sufficiently apt:  Religious leaders are Douglas Wilsons, the church is the Kirk, and Religion is the priestcraft I found on the Palouse.  My metaphors have not successfully predicted reality outside my experiential knowledge domain of the Kirk, but has rather merely exaggerated my extended interpretation. This is one possible line of argument I would recommend.

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Towards a Unifying Theory of the Situation of Groups



First, a note about a new Page to the right: ‘Analytic Outline Of Entries Related To Hitchens, Wilson, & The Movie Collision’. This page provides chronological ordering of links (with summaries) to entries I have written related to the movie Collision. I will keep this page updated, but I will not always include entries that are related to only Wilson or only Hitchens.

Second, The Situationist recently linked to an excellent entry at Psyblog: ‘Essentials of Group Psychology’. I highly recommend reading this, whether your interest is business management, home schooling, or getting out of a religious cult (or a secular one for that matter).

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Analytic Outline of My Entries Related to Hitchens, Wilson, and the Movie Collision



 wilson and hitchens in pub

The following is an index of links to entries I have made – ordered by date – related to Hitchens, Wilson, and the Collision Movie.

The Moral Argument Series:

Part 1    (February)
In this entry I introduce the central argument between Hitchens and Wilson: the Moral Argument. According to Hitchens, morality is innate and based on empathy, thereby implicating God as an immoral, blood-thirsty tyrant. But according to Wilson, Morality is only paradoxical: without this apparently tyrannical God, there would be no wrong and right to begin with and no basis for protest. (Wilson does not grant a tyrannical God but refuses to explain why throughout the debate).  In order to investigate the idea of ‘innate’ morality, I turn to anthropologist Colin Turnbull’s moving story about the Ik girl named Adupa.

Part 2: Summary of Debate     (March)
Here, I introduce C.S. Lewis’ more successful and humanitarian version of the Moral Argument and then provide a summary of the debate between Hitchens and Wilson, published on-line by Christianity Today and by Canon Press.

Part 3: Ethical Information     (March)
In this entry I map out my analysis of the debate under four headings and provide my analysis for the first. I argue that the debate is largely over by Round 2:

Hitchens points out that Wilson is “trapped in the net” of his own making. Genocide and slavery have been “positively recommended in holy writ,” and abortion is denounced in the Oath of Hippocrates (and I add, not holy writ).

Part 4: Immoral Defense     (March)
On my view, this is the most important part of my analysis since I am able to draw on my personal knowledge of Wilson; this helps explain the implied sociopathology of Wilson’s attempt at grounding morality. (The last two subjects of analysis appear less consequential, although I plan to finish this analysis sometime soon).

Part 5: Collision Movie     (May)
Next, I introduce the Collision movie, transcribing part of a released Sneak Peak. Hitchens says, “One of us not just has to lose the argument but has to admit real moral defeat. I think it should be him.”

___________

Molly Worthen on Douglas Wilson and Christopher Hitchens (April)
Worthen published an article on Wilson in Christianity Today, and begins by noting Wilson’s foxtrot with Hitchens. I sought to provide more depth to Worthen’s analysis and corrected some factual errors. One reputable person commented on this entry:

Your piece is f-ing brilliant, and I’m glad I found it after reading Worthen’s interview with The Controversialist in the April 09 Christianity Today. You bring to light a lot of questions I had after reading Worthen’s article, and answer them brilliantly.

Letters To A Middle Aged Contrarian     (April)
I enjoyed Hitchens’ book a good deal: Letter To A Young Contrarian. So in this entry I provided some of those citations that I appreciated most. A bizarre dialog transpired in the comment section, involving some Kirkers.

___________

The New Enlightenment Series:

Part 1: The New Enlightenment     (September 25th)
After studying the work of Seana Coulson and the cognitive science tradition of Lakoff, Johnson, Fauconnier, Fillmore, and Turner, I read Lakoff’s new book The Political Mind. Lakoff’s announcement of the New Enlightenment fit nicely with Hitchens’ call for a renewed Enlightenment in god is not Great. Many disparate items clicked and I set forth a formulation of the New Enlightenment: “a progressive, interdisciplinary demeanor that weds the emerging mind sciences, meta-critical philosophy, the arts, and the work of the public intellectual.”

Part 2: Mind, Law, & the Naive Cynicism of Tetlock, Wax, and Mitchell     (October 12th)
This is a long essay. I began by framing the New Enlightenment in terms of Daniel Dennett’s recent thoughts on philosophy and cognitive science. I had been intrigued by Jon Hanson’s and Adam Benforado’s article in the Emory Law Journal, ‘Naive Cynicism: Maintaining False Perceptions in Policy Debates,’ particularly by the cast of characters in the footnotes, who are cynical about the alleged value of the mind sciences in the study of law and public policy. I went on to outline some of these characters’ more recent work and concluded that Greg Mitchell, flirting with conceptions of the unconscious mind that are similar to my own, none-the-less still offers a strong form of naive cynicism.

Part 3: Mind Science and the Humanism of Christopher Hitchens, Flannery O’Conner & C.S. Lewis     (October 23rd)
This is another long essay where I critique and expand an anti-reductionist tradition from the philosophy of Mind, and I put some flesh and blood on it through provocative narratives from Flannery O’Conner and C.S. Lewis. I brought in Hitchens to provide a more humanistic frame for the New Enlightenment, but just half way through the rough draft I was alerted to the spike in the media over the premier of the movie Collision. So I introduced Wilson’s and Hitchens’ tango and referenced some of the previous entries above.

Part 4: Newsweek’s Prattle     (October 24th)
To my surprise, Amy Miller of Newsweek gave me a reason to get out the old boxing gloves of Pooh’s Think Part 1. Miller encouraged her readers not to watch the movie Collision – and for no good reason, to put it modestly. I am not so modest about it in this entry.

Part 5: Christopher Hitchens & Douglas Wilson: The Collision Movie     (October 25th)
Here, I provide what I think is some helpful immediate context for Collision and note the crucial broader context not just pertaining to Wilson’s current moral argument but to Douglas Wilson, the man. A narrative, historical, anthropological method still awaits, as does the continuation of my book, The Kirk: Mother of War.

Part 6: My Reply to Hitchens’ Reply to Miller     (October 26th)
Hitchens replies to Amy Miller’s Newsweek article in Slate. In this entry I comment on Hitchens’ reply by noting the similarity between his defense of the Collision movie and H.L. Menken’s comments on Dr. Machen in 1931. However, I note the dissimilarity between Wilson and Dr. Machen, and I state boldly the importance of what we can know about Douglas Wilson. I write, for example,

Wilson has a plan, he lusts incessantly for attention and control, and, I have come to fully believe after years of painful experiment and research, he has the full capacity to rape and maim any sentient organism that might get in his way. This is true, at least, so long as the world would allow him keep his pulpit and halo. In other words, he plans to do nothing he cannot get away with. And, thankfully, the backlash to Wilson has been vehement and loud and sustained enough, particularly from his close neighbors in his small town who actually know enough about him, to all but neuter this old bull.

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The New Enlightenment, Part 7: Collision Movie Premiers in L.A. Thursday Evening



wilson and hitchens in pub

You can keep up with Hitchens and Wilson in the media at the Collision website.  For more information about the movie, the Collision website has a well done summary  (perhaps too well done).  You can also find the link to buy tickets for Thursday’s premiere in Los Angeles (29th); or, you can go directly to the ticket booth here.  I will be at the Landmark Theatre  (or nearby, such as the Barnes & Noble) around 6:00 or so for the 7:00 viewing.  So let me know if you wanted to hook up for a cup of coffee.

________

The Collision website sent me to a Kirkers’ website to listen to the Laura Ingraham Show’s coverage, and I was not able to access it.  So here is an alternative link: you can listen to the show, with commercials deleted here, at Life Without Faith.

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