Harry Potter and Osama-Obama: Myth and Reality in the War on Terror

I wasn't going to blog about Osama bin Laden's death. Not only because I'm not very political, and I don't actually care much if Osama is alive or dead, but also because (due to an innate distrust of the American government) I can't help feeling that this is a new media scam to drum up Obama support (you killed him but then dumped his body in the sea? Really?). Even if pictures of dead Obama ...

Stairway to heaven: cosmetologist becomes Taoist master after climbing sword ladder

Taoism is one of the religions I appreciate. From the Lao Tzu's tao-te-ching we get pearls of wisdom like "Those who know do not speak, those who speak, do not know" and "Even a 1,000 mile journey starts with a single step" - what's not to like? So I was a bit disappointed when I saw this ridiculous headline on the front of the Taipei Times: Sword ladder makes cosmetologist a Taoist master (登一百零八層劍梯 美容師順利考取法師) Apparently the Beitian Temple in Hualien County’s ...

Year of Tiger almost exterminates the Chinese Race: Taiwan’s low birth rate, wedding customs, and unlucky bastards

There are many reasons that Taiwan has one of the world's lowest fertility rates. Women are getting married later - at about 30 rather than the earlier average of 20~24 in 1984. Many women, put off by their husband's traditional Asian values and expectations, are in no rush to add to their burden as homemaker and child-rearer. Couples also want to be able to provide for their children, and often feel with the rising costs ...

Earthquake and tsunami scheduled to rip Taiwan in half 5/11/2011 says fortune teller: Armageddon in 2011?

Given the escalating series of natural disasters devastating various portions of the world in ever greater frequency and gravity, as well as Japan's recent earthquake and tsunami disaster, it would be no surprise to me if something similar happened here in Taiwan. In fact for weeks I've been asking my students whether they were prepared for such a natural disaster, whether they trusted the government's ability to respond to catastrophic devastation, and whether they felt ...

5 Reasons to Subscribe to Holy Blasphemy

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1) We don't pay much attention to what's going on around us. That means you get fresh, original topics about literature and religious philosophy that you won't find anywhere else. 2) We don't have an axe to grind. Our focus on religious history and literature is one of genuine interest and curiosity; we're looking into topics that matter and are relevant - not to attack or undermine them, but to assess and reveal more about them. 3) Subscribers ...

Birds of a feather: religion, vegetarianism, and animal cruelty in religion

I just got my first feedback on my new site design; I was surprised however by the objection. I had to read it a few times to understand the criticism, and now that I have, I feel it is worth discussing in a post. Here's the comment: I was very interested in your proposal until I saw the photo of the guy clothed in the feathers of slaughtered, innocent birds. Where are the ...

My Cult Life: Cult Recovery Resources for Ex-Christians and Fundies

I found a great new blog today. Meet Lisa. At 17 she had a full-ride scholarship to university, and she gave it up to join a group of traveling ministry group. Several years later, disillusioned, she's given up Christianity and even started a cult recovery and resource website for others trying to recover from spiritual (or other) abuse at the hands of religious cults and move on with their lives. I understand the power of ...

Does God love Japan? The power of prayer against earthquake, tsunami and nuclear radiation.

First of all, let me start off by saying that the tragedies recently befalling Japan are horrific and terrible. Any and every human being should look at that sudden and powerful series of disasters and feel the depth of mortality and the unpredictability of life. I genuinely hope and wish that everyone in Japan and those with family or friends in Japan have their burdens eased in any way possible, and send them my love ...

Who will watch the Watchmen? God, Biopolitics and the secret truth of Christianity’s homo sacer revealed in the Watchmen movie

In Michel Foucault’s 1975 Discipline and Punish, he tried to trace the processes and effects of power as they relate to discourse; that is, the systems of power that extend not merely from above (as in an authoritarian regime) but also from below (power that is internalized, and thus less obviously perceived as an influence at all). The aim of power, in Foucault’s terms, is to exercise power “at the lowest possible cost (economically, by ...

Write and publish your bestseller book in 10 easy steps: Ferriss “4-Hour” vs. Guillebeau “Non-conformity”

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Tim Ferriss (Four Hour Work Week / Four Hour Body) and Chris Guillebeau (The Art of Non-conformity) are my alter-egos. Like Tim, I've spent much of my life between San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Tokyo. I also had the idea for a book titled "International Drug-smuggling for fun and profit" - independently of him (and I believe earlier). Chris and I come from the same town, Portland Oregon, and have a passion for non-conformity (which ...

Tim Ferriss new book The 4-Hour Soul: How to get into Heaven, have a flawless spiritual body, and utilize the most powerful pieces of world religions.

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What happens after we die? How can I achieve bliss and happiness? What is the purpose of life? How can I lead a fulfilling, spiritually charged life? Finally there's a solution to these eternal questions. Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work-Week and The Four Hour Body, has just announced his plans to start working on his next book, The Four Hour Soul: The ultimate guide to getting into heaven, enlightenment, spiritual mastery, and hacking ...