ljlee: (peach_pissed)
(picture and text via Kukmin Ilbo, reposted from my Tumblr)
image
(English portion of banner held up by protestors: Why OBAMA incide Homosex in KOREA? / Stop interfering! Go out!
Korean portion of banner: Obama and Ambassador Lippert of the U.S. spread homosexuality and AIDS / Stop interfering in internal affairs and leave!)

On May 10, three evangelical Christian groups--Only Jesus Love, G&F Ministry, and VOCD International--protested the U.S. Embassy in Korea for being one of the sponsors of a forum for parents of LGBT people. They claimed the U.S. was interfering in Korea’s internal affairs and morality. They also argued that homosexuality is contributing to an epidemic of HIV in Korea and the U.S. should not be promoting the practice in South Korea.

Here is a letter OJL sent to U.S. Ambassador to Korea Mark William Lippert. I have reproduced the English version as is, with my fact checks and responses in bold.

Rampant homophobia below the cut )
ljlee: (sisko facepalm)
I watched [personal profile] attackfish have a conversation on Tumblr about good/evil dualism in the Star Wars franchise and was amused that her interlocutor was denying such dualism existed in the series. As Fish and I discussed afterward, it is sometimes hard for people who live in a dominant thought system like the Christian duality to recognize that a) they actually subscribe to a very specific and non-universal worldview, and b) this view colors how they view everything else, because that’s what a worldview does.

Fish has a good breakdown in the linked thread on why the Jewish concept of yetzer hara does not map to the Dark Side of the Force as portrayed in the franchise. She also referenced poorly understood Buddhist and Taoist concepts, and as she pointed out, ideas from Buddhism and Taoism used in Star Wars are heavily distorted by a strict moral dualism that is alien to these traditions.

This post is weirdly appropriate for Christmas, come to think of it )

Face it, Western Star Wars fans, your franchise isn’t based on Asian philosophy. It’s a quintessentially Euro-American and Christian story of the conflict between good and evil, and it’s perfectly enjoyable as such. There’s no need to bastardize concepts from other cultures trying to make Star Wars seem profound or spiritual. You don’t have to, because Christianity is–surprise!–also a spirituality and one associated with respected philosophical traditions. And Asian ideas are no more ornaments to make yourselves seem smart and hip than Asian people are.

(Originally posted on Tumblr. Yeah, I believe they have an app for that now.)
ljlee: (muzi_um)
Following up a post on the religious instruction of children, I'd like to address a second point about missionaries. I will reproduce the relevant paragraph I'm responding to; for the full comment, see the earlier post.

The comment I'm responding to said in part (emphasis mine):

I also don't think it is fair for missionaries to go disrupt established cultures and push their beliefs on indigenous people. It's usually done with fear-mongering and things like food, education, medicine and other badly needed aid being used to "persuade" people. The effects can be devastating. Look what missionaries did to Uganda.


The white guilt might be cute if not for the objectification of POC )

Yes, my society has been disrupted multiple times, including by religion, more often by politics and war. We change, and we go on. We are not so fragile that we're destroyed by every new thing that comes along, including Christianity. We are a society with our own history, viewpoints, and choices, not just helpless huddled victims of Western cultural imperialism.

Obviously I cannot speak for all indigenous peoples' experiences and many were probably more traumatic than ours. However, blanket statements about what missionaries do and what religion does are unhelpful and tend to flatten and objectify the diversity of our stories. One thing we are not is a cautionary tale for someone else's anti-theism.
ljlee: (muzi_pat)
Here are some remaining thoughts from the three-post saga about my arguments with atheists over on We Hunted the Mammoth. Specifically, I'd like to address points raised by commenter Lea about parents instilling the fear of hell in their children and missionaries using fear and need to proselytize. I have direct experience with the former situation and am living in a heavily Christianized non-European society, so I wanted to talk about these issues in more length than I had previously. This post will deal with the part about religious education, while the next will deal with missionaries.

My experience, plus objections to blanket characterizations )

In sum, I agree religious instruction of children can be cruel and manipulative. We as a society need to talk about the issue, prevent cruelty and manipulation, and help victims. On the other hand, calling religious instruction universally cruel and misguided takes both an overbroad view of religion--by attributing everything bad believers do to religion--and an overly narrow view, by treating fundamentalism as representative of all religion.

These blanket characterizations of religion on the one hand, and the erasure of liberal and moderate religionists on the other, not only present a distorted view of the variety that exists in religious experience; they don't even help those children who are legitimately hurt by religious education. Such help is unlikely to come from those who refuse to face the phenomena of religion, religious education, and upbringing in religious families in all their variety.
ljlee: why not? (conch)
In the past two posts I detailed how I got into a spat with an anti-theist about his seeming proposal to ban the religious education of children, with a detour into how I was a raging asshole to another commenter. I was curious whether movement atheists had discussed the issue of forbidding the religious instruction of children by their parents and guardians outside of public school. EJ, the commenter I'd had the main argument with, had presented his position as common among anti-theists and I wondered if that was the case.

Disturbing, coercive, horrifying, dangerous, appalling, noxious, totalitarian... So I take it that's a 'no?' )

When Richard Dawkins, PZ Meyer, Ed Brayton, and Nick Matzke, plus a host of intelligent and thoughtful readers think banning religious instruction in the private sphere is a terrible, awful, nasty, no-good idea even in the hypothetical, I think we can safely say it's very far from being a mainstream atheist or even anti-theist position. Those who advocate such a prohibition are in the distant fringe of anti-theist thought. I am at ease, content that most atheists--including the anti-theist variety--are in fact reasonable people who are firm in their convictions of liberty.

P.S.: Religious instruction and Obama )
ljlee: (sisko facepalm)
As previously discussed, a commenter on a site I frequented at the time, EJ, seemed to be advocating a horrific curtailment of religious liberty. Partly due to the conversation but mostly because of other real-life stuff, I made two mistakes: First, instead of staying away from the internet in my impaired state I grabbed my phone to check on new comments on the thread. Second, I had a serious case of reading comprehension fail and identity confusion.

Read on for epic fail )

EJ's seeming stance on this issue got me wondering, though, if the prohibition on religious education was in fact a mainstream anti-theist position. If that were true then there would be a large cause for concern, so I went researching this issue. What did major anti-theist voices have to say about parents' religious instruction of children?
ljlee: bam bam (headdesk)
What a week. I traveled to China on Monday for a conference, made a presentation Tuesday, got back Wednesday night, went to work on Thursday, and went to school on Friday for a seminar and another presentation. After the travel-and-academics whirlwind it'll be a relief to settle into a boring workweek, but I am resolved to slack off this weekend and just enjoy myself. Which means, among other things, blogging!

Unfortunately this particular entry isn't all squee and fun, in fact it's sort of unpleasant but I decided to jot it down to put it to rest in my mind. I figure if it's been bothering me for over a week it deserves a full treatment.

A squabble between atheists (mostly) )

At this point I was upset and confused for this and other reasons. It was late and I should have been in bed hours before. I lay down and tried to sleep, but I couldn't. I was dealing badly with unrelated real-life stuff (including the aforementioned presentations), my heart was doing a painful thump-drag, thump-drag in one of my occasional bouts of arrhythmia, and my panicked mind kept running circles around the discussion. Conditions were ripe for a bad decision and giant brain-fart, both of which would happen in due course.
ljlee: (candle)
19th wife cover image

I picked up The 19th Wife: A Novel because I got bored waiting for my bus. I crossed to the used bookstore across from the bus station, but didn't see much of interest until I caught sight of the book near the entrance just as I was getting ready to leave. The book seemed to have an interesting premise and promised to tell the story of polygamy in the Mormon faith, a subject I was curious about. I did a quick search on my phone for reviews, which generally seemed positive. I grabbed the book with minutes to spare before the bus arrived.

What I liked, what I didn't like )

Overall, though, I think the book ended well. Once the pretensions of murder mystery were out of the way it concluded pretty much the only way it could have, affirming the ineffable mystery of belief. I don't hold truck with organized religion, as regular readers know, but I am forever fascinated and humbled by the human capacity for faith, and our resilience in finding goodness and togetherness in even contradictory and oppressive institutions. For that reason The 19th Wife is a book that will stay with me a while.
ljlee: (sisko facepalm)
So for the past couple of months I was subscribed to fantasy author Holly Lisle's How to Think Sideways site. I hadn't bought anything prior to unsubbing, but got periodical e-mails and downloaded a free lesson. I found her content often common-sense and semi-helpful if not groundbreaking. A lot of the time they were things I knew already, but helped me focus my thoughts and get thinking about different parts of the craft.

Lisle's recent (January 10) e-mail about knowing oneself as a writer was much the same, helpful-ish if not consciousness-altering. In that e-mail she linked a quiz she did on Saving the World Through Typing.

And then this happened.

Because one bald Starfleet captain facepalm is not enough )

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L.J. Lee

June 2016

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