>tracki ng spi r i tual tr ends i n the 21st centur y

VOL UME 19: 20 ( 1,203) / J ULY 2, 2014
In this issue:
HOMOSEXUALITY - “tolerance is
much too limited a goal”
MEYER, JOYCE - answering claims
that “she no longer teaches Word-Faith
SCIENCE - how many scientists “self-
identify as evangelical Christians”?
UFOS - Skeptical Inquirer fnds that
even the sympathetic are writing of
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Te Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and
Good Intentions Are Sabotaging Gay Equal-
ity, by Suzanna Danuta Walters (Profes-
sor of Sociology, Northeastern University)
— insights on gay-
rights strategy. Kirkus (Apr ‘14, #2) sum-
marizes: “Te limits of tolerance and why
it isn’t enough. In her thorough and engag-
ing study, Walters ... examines the well-
intended but wrongheaded fght for toler-
ance by LGBT leaders and organizations,
as well as lawmakers’ pursuit of the same.
Mere ‘tolerance’ falls short of full inclusion
in society, she argues: ‘No civil rights move-
ment worthy of the name has banked its
future in being tolerated or accepted.’ Te
author examines other issues in gay culture,
including the scientifc search for a ‘gay
gene,’ gender normativity, and the nature
of sexual arousal and desire. ... In asserting
that gay, lesbian and bisexual citizens want
rights such as pay equity, voting rights, and
an end to discrimination in the workplace
and judicial system — indeed, ‘full and deep
integration and inclusion in the American
dream’ — she makes it clear that tolerance is
much too limited a goal.”
Publishers Weekly adds: “Walters argues
that the concept of tolerance traps LGBT
people into being regarded as perpetual out-
siders, ‘tolerated’ rather than treated as full
citizens. In making gay rights contingent on
‘just like you’ arguments, Walters asserts,
the movement not only leaves behind LGBT
people who don’t ft an idealized stan-
dard, but also fails to efectively challenge
homophobia and transphobia. Te book
leaves no shibboleth intact both liberal and
conservative orthodoxies on LGBT people
are defly skewered.”
“Joyce Meyer in the Twenty-First Century”
by Bob Hunter — an update which explains:
“Over the years, Joyce Meyer has been
severely criticized for her Word of Faith
teachings, but some Christians maintain
that she no longer teaches those doctrines
and should be evaluated more in terms of
her present ministry.” Hunter does this.
First he reviews some of Meyer’s past fail-
ures to teach sound doctrine. Ten he uses
multiple current examples (some as recent
as this year) to demonstrate that little if any-
thing has changed: in her associations with
other Word-Faith celebrities, in her publica-
tions, or in her public speaking.
Hunter fnds that Meyer and Word-Faith
super-star Joel Osteen teach with essen-
tially the same voice. Instead of listening to
Meyer, Hunter recommends more balanced
Christian authors and speakers such as Joni
Eareckson Tada, Nancy Guthrie, and Ellen
Dykas. Christian Research Journal, 37:2 -
2014, pp30-33.
“Which Scientists Believe: Millions iden-
tify themselves as evangelicals, but few are
at research universities” by Christine Her-
man — notes a new study calculating that “2
million of the nation’s 12 million scientists
identify as evangelical Christians. ...
“Te fnding is the frst to be made
public from the largest study of Ameri-
can views on science and religion, which
sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund <elaine
howardecklund.com> and her colleagues
at Rice University and the American Asso-
ciation for the Advancement of Science
(AAAS) wrapped up in early 2014.” In the
“Religious Understandings of Science”
(RUS) project, “Seventeen percent of sci-
entists said ‘evangelical’ describes them
‘somewhat’ or ‘very well,’ compared to 23
percent of all respondents.
“It’s a dramatically higher percentage
than found in Ecklund’s 2010 survey of sci-
entists at top universities: only about 2 per-
cent identifed as evangelical. Te new sur-
vey, by contrast, focused on ‘rank and fle’
scientists, including those in health care, life
sciences, computers, and engineering.
“Te new survey also found that the
same number of people in the general public
perceive hostility by religious people toward
science as perceive hostility by scientists
toward religion — about 1 in 5. But among
evangelical scientists, a strong majority (57
percent) perceive hostility from scientists
(continued on next page)
SCIENCE (continued)
stories in the UFO literature.” Plenty of
examples follow.
“Unfortunately, given the success of such
trashy cable TV shows as Ancient Aliens,
Hangar 1 probably will be a commercial
success. ...
“What is really interesting is that the
people who seem to be the most upset about
the absurdities of Hangar 1 are not skeptics
... but those I call ‘skeptical believers;’ those
who believe that some UFO incidents might
represent genuine mysteries beyond science
whou how recognize that the great bulk o
UFOlogy consists of error, exaggeration,
and humbug.”
Perhaps as his chief objection, Sheaf-
fer adds, “we learn from John Ventre, a
MUFON state director and one of the ‘stars’
of Hangar 1, that the missing Malaysia Air-
lines Flight 370 was abducted by extrater-
restrials.” <www.goo.gl/zhgnha> Skeptical
Inquirer, 30:4 - 2014, pp16-18.
toward religion. Tat suggests Christians
in scientifc felds have negative experi-
ences with fellow scientists in the workplace
regarding their faith.
“Evangelical scientists are more active
in their faith than American evangelicals in
general, the survey indicates. Tey are more
likely to consider themselves very religious,
to attend religious services weekly, and to
read religious texts at least every week.”
Christianity Today, Apr ‘14, p23. <www.
A Rice University news release notes
other “key fndings” from the study:
• Nearly 60 percent of evangelical Prot-
estants and 38 percent of all surveyed
believe “scientists should be open to
considering miracles in their theories
or explanations.”
• 27 percent of Americans feel that sci-
ence and religion are in confict
• Of those who feel science and religion
are in confict, 52 percent sided with
• 48 percent of evangelicals believe that
science and religion can work in col-
• 22 percent of scientists think most reli-
gious people are hostile to science
• Nearly 20 percent of the general popu-
lation think religious people are hostile
to science
• Nearly 22 percent of the general popu-
lation think scientists are hostile to reli-
• Nearly 36 percent of scientists have no
doubt about God’s existence
“MUFON Jumps the Shark” by Robert She-
afer <debunker.com> — the title is slang for
“the moment you realize decay has set in,”
here, on the part of an information source.
Sheafer explains: “MUFON (Mutual UFO
Network, <mufon.com>), the largest UFO
organization in the United States [a claim
that the Urantia crowd might wish to con-
test - RP], presents itself as being dedicated
to the scientifc investigation of UFOs” and
maintains a Science Review Board made up
of scientists.
“MUFON has just debuted a television
series on the cable channel H2 (History
Channel #2....) Te series is called Hangar
1: Te UFO Files....” Sheafer reports that
it contains “some of the most preposter-
ous, sensationalized, and unsubstantiated
SOURCES: Monographs
1 - Te Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes,
and Good Intentions Are Sabotaging Gay
Equality, by Suzanna Danuta Walters (NYU
Prs, 2014, hardcover, 336 pages) <www.
SOURCES: Periodicals
2 - Christian Research Journal (Christian
Research Institute), <www.equip.org>
3 - Kirkus, <www.kirkusreviews.com>
4 - Publishers Weekly, <www.ow.ly/lBcRE>
5 - Skeptical Inquirer (anti-supernaturalist),
VOL UME 19: 20 ( 1,203) / J ULY 2, 2014
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