Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Joking about atheist church

A joke from a friend that came up in an email exchange in which we were discussing the meaning of Sunday Assembly Boston. She writes that she across it during the Bosnian War; she thinks it was told by a Sarajevan
Q: What's the difference between a Sarajevan Muslim, a Sarajevan Jew, and a Sarajevan Christian?  
A: A Sarajevan Muslim is someone who skips mosque, a Sarajevan Jew is someone who skips temple, and a Sarajevan Christian is someone who skips church.
The extension to our context is, of course:
Q. So just what exactly is Sunday Assembly? 
A. A place for atheists not to go on Sundays.

Historical lagniappe: About a certain king of the Caucasus, 10th-century Persian explorer and geographer Ibn Rustah writes:
He prayed on Fridays with the Muslims, on Saturdays with the Jews, and on Sundays with the Christians. 'Since each religion claims that it is the only true one and that the others are invalid', the king explained, 'I have decided to hedge my bets.'

Monday, November 11, 2013

What we can learn from Scientology

According to Patheos: "There is no personal deity in Scientology, so private rituals of worship and devotion are practically non-existent, replaced with diligence in spiritual practice and striving for moral uprightness."

In the spirit of learning from other traditions, I'd like to say: I'm totally stealing that emphasis on diligence and striving. (Albeit with the caveats that 1. "spiritual practice" can really only be meaningful when used to refer to introspective and cognitive methods of cultivating desirable knowledge and emotional states, and 2. "moral uprightness" is an ad hoc and utilitarian thing, to be invented and modified by the end user as needed, and doesn't exist 'out there' in some perfect Platonic form waiting to be uncovered by the truly diligent and spiritually pure.)