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Posted inGeneral

Weekend Coffee: October 11

Reading Time: 2 minutes • eBible Fellowship, a Christian group with ties to Harold Camping, predicted the world would end on October 7. Oops! After the date came and went, they put up a defiant post in which they conceded their error, yet insisted the world is still going to burn in hell anyway. (Here’s a graphic of some […]

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The FLDS Cult Is Unraveling

Reading Time: 4 minutes Eight years ago, a particularly nasty cult leader named Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison. Jeffs was – and still is – the spiritual leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, an extremist Mormon splinter group with enclaves scattered across the American West. The FLDS, like most cults, was […]

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Popular Delusions: Sovereign Citizens

Reading Time: 4 minutes This month, an Oregon pastor went on trial to face charges that he, like Kent Hovind before him, hadn’t paid income taxes since 1994. On the stand, he offered a peculiar defense: Attorney Mark Weintraub argued that Ronald Joling has a deeply held belief that he is not required to pay federal taxes, which he […]

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Weekend Coffee: June 14

Reading Time: 2 minutes • Chris Hedges, the left-wing firebrand who really, really despises New Atheists, is apparently a serial plagiarist, according to a lengthy and damning article this week in the New Republic. • In the why-all-atheists-are-Hitler department: Part of the SS oath in Nazi Germany was to swear their allegiance to God and say that atheists are […]

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Rationing Organs for Religious Refuseniks

Reading Time: 3 minutes Since new medical advances always catch my attention, I read with interest this article about “bloodless” lung transplants being pioneered at some hospitals – that is, salvaging and re-infusing the patient’s own blood, rather than relying on transfusions from donors. It’s being sold as a cost-saving technique and a way to lessen the risk of […]

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The Watchtower’s Apocalyptic Pratfalls

Reading Time: 4 minutes Since we all had a hearty laugh at the antics of Harold Camping earlier this summer, I thought you might appreciate a little more light comedy. Presented here for your approval are some excerpts from Millions Now Living Will Never Die, a famous the-end-is-near book published in 1920. You can download the entire book in […]

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Weekly Link Roundup

Reading Time: 2 minutes Some scattered thoughts to contemplate on a Saturday morning: • Earlier this year, my post on urban agriculture drew some spirited disagreement. Now there’s a study from Ohio State University which concludes that Cleveland could supply all its own produce, poultry and honey if the many vacant lots in the shrinking, post-industrial city were converted […]

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Strange and Curious Sects: David Koresh

Reading Time: 3 minutes In a 2008 post on the apocalyptic Millerite sect, I mentioned how several modern Christian denominations were formed from the Millerites’ ruin, and how the infamous Branch Davidians originated as a splinter group from one of these. That story, I think, is already well-known: the way a charismatic preacher born as Vernon Wayne Howell changed […]

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The Evangelist’s Funnel

Reading Time: 3 minutes Through some odd stroke of coincidence, when I was in San Francisco earlier this year, I encountered more than the usual amount of religious nuttiness. I’ve already written about the woman who gets divine communications in God’s actual handwriting. There were also Scientologists handing out pamphlets on a street corner, advertising something called the “Purification […]