Weekly Update

  • Discussion this Thursday at 7pm in the MU Gold Room.
    • Topic of discussion: Are science and religion compatible? Can one hold a religious worldview and a scientific worldview consistently? Are faith and reason both ways to knowledge?
    • Zach, our Discussion Chair, has some suggested reading and videos to help get us thinking: 1) an accomodationist argument from Ken Miller, 2) an anti-accomodationist rant by Sean Carroll of the Cosmic Variance blog, 3) a 3 minute video by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, and 4) a 3 minute video of Neil deGrasse Tyson.
    • At the Thursday meeting, we’ll also briefly discuss the Superstition Bash.
  • Ask an Atheist Booth this Friday 11am to 1pm in the Free Speech Area. Rain location is in the covered walkway by the library facing the Free Speech Area.
  • Some major events are coming up. Details and RSVP at this spreadsheet, indicate if you can drive or need a ride, and add comments as needed.
    • Darwin 2009 Conference: series of talks celebrating the 150th Anniversary of On the Origin of Species.
      • Oct 29-31 in Chicago, RSVP by Oct 16 so we can get rooms reserved and make plans on when we’ll leave Ames.
      • Talks start at 6:30pm on Friday, it takes about 6 hours to get to Chicago.
      • Registration for students is $20.00, and includes 2 lunches and the reception.
    • Reggie’s Sleepout: an event to raise funds for homeless youths in Des Moines.
      • Oct 24 in Des Moines, RSVP by Oct 19 so we can arrange carpools and collect boxes.
      • This will be our Secular Service Day event.
      • Whether you can or can not attend, help us collect boxes (particularly big sturdy ones) for the Boxed In Design Contest and solicit donations for our team. Contact Andrew for where our boxes are being stored.
      • Sleeping bags and tents are not necessary, but are allowed. You can rent equipment for cheap through Rec Services.
      • For registration questions, contact Andrew or Anastasia. When you register, sign up for the team “ISU Atheist and Agnostic Society“.
    • Living History Farms Run: a 7 mile cross country “fun run” to benefit Living History Farms.
      • 9am on Nov 21 in Des Moines, RSVP by Oct 21 so we can get spots (there is a 7,500 max # of runners).
      • We need to decide on a team name – and then all enter our team name exactly the same on the registration form. Teams are recognized for their costumes at the start of the race. IAF and IS will be invited to participate with us. Vote on a team name and costumes on the spreadsheet.
      • The course takes you through farms, past barns, across streams, etc. You will get dirty and wet, you will have a blast.
      • The entry fee is $30 if you register online before Nov 4 at noon. You get a shirt and a runner’s goodie bag.
      • On race day, we’ll meet in the Orange lot at 6:30 so we can be there no later than 7:45. The parking lots around the race start get very crowded after 8am. Post a comment if you need a ride from your house rather than from the Orange lot.
  • For those of you who are following the story of Ray Comfort’s edited version of On the Origin of Species, see the Secular Student Alliance for a nice overview of what’s happening.
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Biblical violence in film

From the Last Temptation of Christ (1987)

From the Last Temptation of Christ (1987)

Dr. Hector Avalos, Professor of Religious Studies and advisor to AAS, has recently published a scholarly and peer-reviewed article about portrayals of biblical violence in film, titled Film and the Apologetics of Biblical Violence in the Journal of Religion and Film.

In the article, Dr. Avalos shows that most films with biblical subjects are very conservative in their approach to biblical violence. Films minimize, maximize, or exclude certain incidences of violence as found in the bible, seemingly in order to portray religious figures in the best possible light, rather than following the biblical stories exactly.

From the conclusion:

Our typology is merely a starting point for further explorations into the complexity of how biblical violence is addressed. Certainly, it may need to be refined to accommodate gradations of minimization and maximization, in particular. But it is clear already that the depiction of biblical violence is actually quite conservative insofar as it seeks to protect the moral superiority of biblical characters. Filmmakers still depict the Bible’s main characters as justified and bearing higher ethics in their use of violence. Even films that have radical portrayals of Jesus’s sexuality ( The Last Temptation of Christ ), will not violate the image of a benign and non-violent Jesus. The best explanation is that, despite all the seeming religious radicality of modern film making, validating and justifying violence by biblical heroes is still the reigning paradigm.