Category Archives: Post-by-request

And people wonder why charter schools shouldn’t get taxpayer funding…

From the folks over at ThinkProgress – Delhi Charter School in Delhi, Louisiana has a serious problem with pregnant students. That’s not to say that there’s an epidemic of teen pregnancy at the school; rather, they had a policy in place which forced girls to submit to a pregnancy test on demand, and if the test was positive or the girls refused to take the test, they were ejected from the school.

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Utterly irrelevant (?): Harry Potter fanfiction

(This is what happens when you promise to blog about the next subject someone mentions to you on Twitter…)

Some people take Harry Potter entirely too seriously.

In case you weren’t aware, there’s a ridiculously large number of fan-written Harry Potter stories on the internet. Most of them are innocent; some of them, not so much.

Briefly browsing through them, they remind me of something – namely, that humanity is generally a sucker for a good story about a super-powered, virtuous hero who uses his magical abilities to overcome a seemingly insurmountable evil force.

Too obscure? Fine – I’ll come right out and say it. Harry Potter is Jesus.

Harry Potter, a young man who always knew, deep down, that he was different from everyone else… a young man from lowly beginnings… discovers that he has a grand destiny, and that he’s the only chance the world has to destroy an evil so overwhelming that most people fear to mention it.

Jesus Christ, a young man who always knew, deep down, that he was different from everyone else… a young man from lowly beginnings… discovers that he has a grand destiny, and that he’s the only chance the world has to destroy an evil so overwhelming that most people fear to mention it.


Probably not. The idea of a superhuman savior is a ridiculously common fictional trope. So popular, in fact, that once such a character is established, pretty much anybody who knows about him is eager to tell a new story featuring him as the main character.

Officially, Harry Potter only exists in seven books. His life story, in its entirety, is told to us by J. K. Rowling, in her writing. And yet, Rowling’s fans seem almost obligated to write further fictional accounts of Harry’s life, adding to the canon in ways she never thought possible.

This is just about the same way I view the writing of Paul in the New Testament of the Bible. Paul never actually met Jesus, but he was so amazed by the oral traditions surrounding Jesus that he took it upon himself to invent an entire religious system based on Jesus’ teachings.

And somehow, this tradition has expanded around the world, into tens of thousands of denominations. I look at them, and I picture a bunch of people squabbling over things like whether Han shot first.

It’s meaningless, really. Whether you’re a Preterist, a Premillennialist, a Postmillenialist, or an Amillennialist, you’re basically arguing about the finer points of fan fiction. The gospels are the only things containing the words of Jesus, and even those are largely in question. And just like the fact that the seven canonical Books of Rowling don’t prevent the fans from creating works of their own, the four gospels haven’t prevented people throughout the ages from molding Christian doctrine as they saw fit.

Christianity and Contraception: Strange bedfellows?

Christian doctrine has a very strange relationship with contraception.

According to Genesis, the very first order man ever received from God was to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” This is in Genesis 1:28, literally a single verse after mankind came into existence.

Then we have Hell. Hell is a place where “the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:47-48) I’ve been told by Christian apologists that there is supposedly an “age of reason”, defined by the Bible, at which point a child can be blamed for its sins, and thus before this point the child is guaranteed a spot in Heaven. It seems to me that the logical conclusion of a belief in a literal Hell of this sort, combine with the idea that life (and thus, soul implantation) begins at conception would be to kill your children at as early a point in their lives as you possibly could!

And yet, we see great resistance from (mostly conservative) Christians on the subject of abortion. The idea is that every fertilized egg is a potential life, and that snuffing it out would be violating that first order from God. Forget that doing so would ensure that the fetus had a place in Heaven. Somehow, it’s more important to allow a child to be born, reach the age of reason, and decide to become a follower of Jesus. It’s apparently more important to allow for the possibility that a soul be damned to suffer in Hell.

All of this is based on a specific definition of “contraception,” of course. Among conservative Christians, there’s little differentiation between “preventing pregnancy” and “terminating pregnancy.” This is why you’ll frequently see “abstinence-only” education promoted; for these folks, abortion and condoms are pretty much the same thing. Any options you choose that would prevent a baby from being born are essentially the same thing.

From a secular perspective, it’s easy to understand why a religion would be so strongly in favor of creating as many children as possible. They’ve got to grow their numbers, and the easiest way to do that is through reproduction. No surprise, then, that Mormon churches tend to be about 50% children…