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I’m Irish, of English parents. I was brought up as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but am now an atheist. I remain fascinated by religion, both those similar to the one I left, and those very different, though I am more interested by the cultural context and the way people approach their beliefs than I am in the actual theology. (From this angle, Liberal Christianity and Liberal Islam are quite similar, and Conservative Christianity and Conservative Islam are quite similar.) Because I am interested in the social context and the interaction of religion and society, I often see religion at its worst, when it is trying to impose its rules on others, being intolerant and sometimes frankly bigoted. As an antidote, to remind myself that religious people are not necessarily evil, I hang around slacktivist (whose writings often attempt to answer the question, Why does the religious right tell lies all the time?) and The Slacktiverse (where people of many religious backgrounds have very civilised arguments, often about literature).

I might describe my own views as empirical materialist (see Tim Minchin: “Storm”), and my philosophy is probably secular humanist (see Tim Minchin: “White Wine in the Sun”).


Nov
19
revised Does the Bible forbid a man from dressing like a woman?
edited tags
Nov
19
revised What does this reference in the Watchtower Online Library mean?
added 1838 characters in body
Nov
13
revised Do Jehovah's Witnesses have a systematized way of finding specific types of persons?
added 27 characters in body
Nov
6
revised Why does transubstantiation refer only to communion?
deleted 3 characters in body
Nov
3
revised Can a disfellowed JW marry after being reinstated?
added 53 characters in body
Oct
31
revised How are patriotic songs used in US churches?
Linked to specific blog post, rather than blog homepage.
Sep
30
revised Why was Jewish High Priest commanded to have a golden plate inscribed “Holiness to the Lord”?
Tidied grammar. Rewrote title. Retagged.
Aug
1
revised Why are the books of the Protestant Bible in the order that they are in?
Slight tweaks to grammar.
Jul
29
revised Does God want things? What are some of the things He wants, and how did we find out?
added 210 characters in body
Jul
23
revised What do Christians mean by “holy”?
Tidied some grammar. Tidied attribution. It appears that the Meyers Großes Konversationslexikon is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. Changed link to point directly to entry.
Jul
1
revised What is the English monarch's current relationship to the Church of England?
added 10 characters in body
Jun
24
revised The Virgin Mary, “the perfect non-divine human being”
Typo: was -> what.
Jun
24
revised Does the theology of Arians and Jehovah's Witnesses admit that God was at one point ἄλογος?
I think phrasing this as an objective question that anyone can answer is better than targetting a specific group in a mannar which could be read as accusatory.
Jun
24
revised Does the theology of Arians and Jehovah's Witnesses admit that God was at one point ἄλογος?
Clarified that I am doing my best to represent Witness theology, not to make any truth claims. And took the opportunity to rewrite a little.
Jun
24
revised Does the theology of Arians and Jehovah's Witnesses admit that God was at one point ἄλογος?
The same quote was repeated twice, probably by mistake. I found a suggested replacement. Made a few grammar tweaks, improved link text.
Jun
24
revised Why do JW think other faiths are unbelievers?
added 5 characters in body
May
27
revised According to Catholic doctrine, would a cloned human being have a soul?
Cleaned up grammar & some spelling
May
15
revised What is the Catholic teaching on technology and faith?
edited body; edited title
May
12
revised What is the Biblical basis for the belief that Jesus is Michael?
Fixed spelling of deity. While I was at it, I spotted one of my bugbears: mismatched bullet points, some being complete sentences, others being sentence fragments. So I tidied that up too. Added curley quotation marks; preserved American positioning of quotation marks. Other minor tweaks.
May
10
revised Was I comforted by my father's guardian angel?
Spelling error: past. Retagged.